A boom in passenger numbers has prompted management at Gatwick Airport to press for an additional runway. Gatwick CEO Stewart Wingate told reporters that the amount of passengers the facility could handle had a ceiling and that the government needed to act soon to increase capacities for Southeast England.
He noted that it did not matter which party won the forthcoming general election, action needed to be rapid to ensure air travel remained affordable and did not slow the UK’s ongoing climb out of economic recession. Mr Wingate continued by saying Gatwick was currently the busiest airport in the world still operating with one runway.
The CEO claimed that adding an extra runway at Gatwick, and not at Heathrow, would be cheaper, quicker and have less environmental impact. Gatwick utilises its single runway well with aeroplanes such as Emirates’ superjumbo A380 able to accommodate more passengers per movement than smaller aircraft.
Statistics collated by staff at Gatwick show that between last April and March 2015 passenger throughput rose by three million to almost 39 million when compared with the previous 12-month period. The airport expects to burst through the 40 million mark by 2016. This latter figure is way ahead of government forecasts.
The five-person Airports Commission, headed up by Sir Howard Davies, is currently looking at ways of increasing the capacity of airports in this region of the UK. The committee released an interim report late last year saying that a new runway at either Gatwick or Heathrow Airport was the best option.