The owners of Gatwick Airport have big plans for the future. Not only to make it the ‘London airport of choice’, they also aim to reach the 40-million-passengers-a-year milestone by 2020.
Outlining their plans and how to achieve them, the airport launched a three-month consultation on its draft master plan in October. The results of which have now been published.
Of major concern to respondents was the impact that achieving 40 million passengers a year would have on the local road and rail networks. Many respondents want to see more use of public transport, however, an extra 8 million passengers a year would put a strain on the existing capacity – it’s predicted that in addition to an extra 30% of people travelling between Gatwick and London by rail, the number of commuters using the service could also increase by 29% in the same period.
Another major concern was the impact of aircraft noise, with some residents saying that noise was a real issue during the summer months, while for others, noise is an acceptable part of living and working near an international airport.
Kyran Hanks, Strategy and Regulation Director for Gatwick Airport said: “We are pleased by the level of response we have received from the local community to Gatwick’s draft vision of the future, where within it, we detail our plans to grow to handle 40 million passengers by 2020, through continuing to improve service levels, investing in the airport and our staff and in the communities we serve. In this way, we continue towards our ambition to compete to grow and become London’s airport of choice.
“Their views have been extremely valuable in providing us with a clear indication of the key issues that we will now consider as part of our final Master Plan.”
It’s apparent that there is plenty of room for expansion at Gatwick – unlike Heathrow, which is operating at 99% capacity, Gatwick is only operating at 78% capacity – so it has the space to accommodate more flights, the question remains whether the supporting infrastructure can handle the increased passenger traffic?