AN open letter supporting expansion at Gatwick has been signed by 29 companies and business organisations.

There are just three days left until a public consultation into more flights at the airport closes.

Now an open letter has been sent to Stewart Wingate, the airport’s chief executive, signed by groups including Chambers of Commerce and the Federation of Small Business.

In the letter, the business organisations describes Gatwick as “a lynchpin of the regional economy and a significant national asset” that contributes “more than £5 billion to UK GDP and supports 85,000 jobs”.

It goes on to say: “As the UK heads into a new chapter, Gatwick will have a vital role to play in fuelling trade, tourism and commerce, and providing links to global markets.

“When Gatwick thrives and grows, so too does the national and regional economy, so the airport’s growth ambitions deserve our full support.

“Clearly this growth should not be at any cost, and given our businesses and employees are based in the local communities in and around the airport, we fully understand that the impacts of expansion need to be considered and carefully managed.

“But we believe the strength of Gatwick’s plans lies in their simplicity.

“By unlocking much-needed new capacity from within the airport’s existing runways and footprint, Gatwick’s growth plans are a low-impact way of delivering significant benefits.

“We are firmly in support of Gatwick’s plans which we believe will play a crucial role in allowing our businesses, our employees and our region to continue to prosper.

Stewart Wingate said: “This vote of confidence in our plans for growth is particularly powerful as organisations representing over 25,000 businesses have thrown their weight behind our draft master plan. Businesses know we can’t take the region’s economic growth for granted.

“By sending this letter, they recognise the airport’s vital role in creating local jobs and opportunities, and that growing Gatwick is essential for the future prosperity of our region.

“With only a few days left I would like to encourage as many people as possible to take part in our ongoing consultation to show their support for the airport’s growth plans.”

Signatories to the letter include Brighton and Hove Chamber of Commerce, Brighton and Hove Economic Partnership, Brighton BID, Burgess Hill Business Park Association, Eastbourne Chamber of Commerce, FSB Sussex, Gatwick Diamond Business and Gatwick Diamond Initiative.