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London Gatwick (LGW/EGKK), the worlds busiest single runway airport, could have dual runway operations by 2019 according to the Airports Cheif Executive.
Currently, the 2nd runway (08L/26R) is only used for contingency during runway maintenance work or if the main runway is closed however Stewart Wingate, Cheif Executive of Gatwick Airport Limited has told Gatwick Airport Consultative Committee (GATCOM) that the barrier to using the 2nd runway in regular operations expires next year.
Previous Gatwick owners, British Airports Authority signed a legal agreement not to construct a second runway in 1979 but this expires in August 2019. According to Mr Wingate, “Gatwick Airport Ltd would be looking at the capability of Gatwick’s main runway and the northern (maintenance/emergency) runway before looking at a new runway over the coming months”.
Modern airport arrival and departure procedures such as precision GPS (Global Positioning System) and RNAV (Area Navigation) could see the airport allow smaller aircraft to use one runway for arrivals and one for departures with a potential increase of 20% in flights.
Gatwick has been exploring options for a second runway in order to provide a viable answer to the Government’s Aviation Strategy although the Government favours the third runway at Heathrow. option.
Utilising the airports existing second runway would allow the airport to increase capacity regardless of the government’s decision.
The use of the second runway is likely to be strongly opposed by Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign (GACC) however who say the shorter runway would mean an increase in noise for the local area due to the higher thrust settings required by aircraft compared to the longer main runway.