Gatwick Airport has submitted expansion plans which would add thousands more flights for passengers and inject billions into the local economy.

Airport bosses have laid out plans which would see a second runway put into regular use which would allow for 100,000 extra take-offs and landings every year.

If approved, Gatwick expects works to begin by 2025 and be completed in the early 2030s in plans which would create nearly 10,000 new jobs across Sussex.

Stewart Wingate, chief executive of Gatwick Airport, said: “What we would see is the opportunity for the airport to grow passenger volumes approaching 75 million by the late 2030s.

The Argus: Stewart WingraveStewart Wingrave (Image: The Argus)

“For passengers travelling for leisure or for business we envisage an ever-stronger network in Europe and long-haul. People will get more competition and choice which is always a good thing.

“Across the region we would create up to 14,000 jobs, 3,000 of which would be at the airport.

“Beyond the airport there are businesses which support the airport and part of that will be tourism where they will take advantage of the opportunities of the increased passenger flow.”

Under the proposals, the existing second runway which is used as a “taxiway” would need to be moved by 12m to comply with safety standards.

The Argus: Plans for the re-aligned new runwayPlans for the re-aligned new runway

The plans would allow for hundreds of extra continental, shorter-haul flights to use the runway to take off. Estimated costs for the works are around £2.2 billion.

In return, Gatwick bosses estimate that the surrounding economy would benefit from around £1 billion per year.


For passengers, the extra flights would lead to further competition and choice with more destinations and airlines.

Currently Gatwick services around 50 long-haul destinations with the expectation that the second runway would allow the airport to rebound to pre-pandemic levels.

By the late 2030s to early 2040s, Gatwick expects to serve around 75 million passengers per year, should the plans be approved.

The airport has today submitted proposals to the planning inspectorate after expansion plans had been in the pipeline since 2017.

As advised by government bodies, Gatwick is looking to use as much of its existing space as it possibly can to expand.

The second runway plans come after the airport lost out on the opportunity to build a new runway, a decision which went the way of Heathrow Airport.

Under the new plans, Gatwick bosses hope to move closer to the number of “plane movements” – the number of aircrafts taking off and landing – that Heathrow experiences.

Having now submitted the plans, examinations are expected to begin in early 2024 with a decision on the second runway project by the end of next year.

Despite the projected benefits of the proposed plans, campaign groups have vowed to continue to fight the new runway.

Alongside the environmental effect of the plans and the added air travel that it would bring, neighbours have continuously expressed concerns about noise pollution.

Peter Barclay, chairman of the Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign, said: “There is no rational reason for allowing the massive climate impact of a second runway, nor the negative noise, air pollution and traffic and housing impacts on the surrounding communities and countryside.”

In response to the plans, Mr Wingate welcomed scrutiny from campaign groups ahead of the planning process.

He said: “What we repeatedly hear from the campaign groups is that the plans should be scrutinised and that is the whole point of the planning inspectorate.

The Argus: Gatwick AirportGatwick Airport (Image: The Argus)

“What we have to do is put forward our plans comprehensively and lay out the economic benefits but we also have to lay out what the environmental impacts are and, more importantly, what mitigations we are putting in place.

“All of that will be scrutinised before they make their recommendation to the secretary of state.”

In order to mitigate the issues, Gatwick has committed to a “noise envelope” meaning that they believe no more houses will be affected by noise pollution than in 2019 at the pre-pandemic peak.

Environmentally the airport has invested around £250 million in moving towards net zero emissions by 2030.

The proposed plans will also see Gatwick fund roadworks and other infrastructure which would lead to increased capacity on roads surrounding the airport and heading towards the M23.

The hope is that this will be achieved through new aviation technologies which will make planes cleaner and quieter.