THE CONSTRUCTION and operation of a second runway at Gatwick would generate 28,000 additional jobs, a new report has revealed.

Research by engineering consultancy Arup found delivering a second runway at the airport would boost employment across the region and create huge opportunities for young people and skilled workers.

Overall it estimated that expansion would stimulate 120,000 jobs across the UK.

But opposition groups said the influx of labour would create "havoc" to local communities.

The report says Gatwick already supports at least 21,000 jobs directly and a further 10,000 jobs indirectly, and also that the airport acts as a catalyst boosting wages across the local economy.

Gatwick chief executive Stewart Wingate said: “Gatwick’s second runway will not only connect the UK to existing and emerging markets around the world, it will also provide thousands of jobs across the South East and deliver a once in a generation opportunity for young people to directly benefit from expansion.

“This is an example of how Gatwick expansion is a nationally-significant project and can provide a positive boost to the local area, to the region, and to the UK as a whole.

“Gatwick can deliver a new runway faster and have a spade in the ground before 2020 which means, after decades of delay, Britain can finally benefit from airport expansion.”

But campaign group CAGNE (Campaign Against Gatwick Noise Emissions) warned such an influx of labour and their families would bring local housing, schools and doctors’ surgeries to their knees.

The group said areas surrounding Gatwick have virtually no unemployment - a view supported by the Airports Commission.

A spokeswoman for CAGNE said: “The consequences of such an influx would be catastrophic to local people. Ask anyone who lives locally about the inadequacies they and their children suffer, today - insufficient housing, school places, clinics and doctors. Plus, right now, they put up with one of the country’s worst motorways and an appalling railway service”.