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Gatwick Airport has today announced the acceleration and expansion of its investment programme, totalling £2.5 billion, to cope with rapid passenger growth, and has opened discussions with contractors about building its second runway.
Speaking to a group of more than 80 construction leaders and chief executives at Construction News’ quarterly breakfast briefing, Gatwick development director Raymond Melee told guests that Gatwick is rapidly approaching full capacity and investment plans are being brought forward to cope with growing passenger numbers.
The news comes despite persistent delays in potential expansion plans.
Heathrow is currently favourite to be given the go ahead for a new runway, with a government decision expected after the London mayoral election on May 5th.
However, Gatwick will soon hit the 41 million annual passengers mark – a global record for a single runway airport – and is racing towards full capacity.
Melee said: “Gatwick has already invested £1.3 billion since becoming independent from BAA ownership, transforming the way we operate to deliver a world-class experience for our passengers.
“Over the next five years we will be investing £1.2 billion to meet accelerated passenger growth and bringing forward crucial infrastructure projects.
“Gatwick will in the very near future also be seeking expressions of interest from consultants to tender for work on our second runway building programme.
“It is important that Gatwick is ready to start work as soon as we get Government approval to deliver the increased capacity Britain desperately needs.
“Opening discussions with contractors now means we will be well placed to take forward our plans for a second runway, on time and on budget.
“Gatwick remains the cheaper, faster, and more sustainable scheme.
“Legally, politically and environmentally, we are the only deliverable option that can actually deliver the jobs, growth and additional capacity that airport expansion would bring.”
New projects being brought forward to meet accelerated passenger growth include an expansion of the North Terminal International Departure Lounge and short-stay car park.
There will also be a focus on improving current facilities including the addition of more remote aircraft parking stands and changes to taxiways and stands to optimise the airfield operations.