2:22pm. Wednesday 1 August 2012
Post by: Stewart Wingate, CEO
Last week, we published our final Master Plan which outlines our vision of how Gatwick will grow in the future.
Before finalising the document, it was important we went out and engaged local residents in their own communities and we undertook an extensive public consultation in Crawley, Horsham, East Grinstead, Horley and other local areas. I was impressed by the feedback we received.
At present 34 million passengers use Gatwick every year as a gateway to and from the UK and looking towards the future, we see Gatwick growing to 40 million passengers a year by 2020/21 with on-airport employment remaining high.
It is fair to say that we are a significant feature on the local landscape. However while Gatwick maybe an important economic driver to the London and the South East economy (we contribute circa £2billion annually and around 23,000 people work on the airport campus), we want to develop our airport in a responsible manner with broad community support.
Central to that is balancing sustainability considerations with the requirements necessary to ensure Gatwick remains a competitive business with a strong reputation for impressive customer service.
Transport links will be critical for us to deliver a great airport experience and to develop Gatwick to its fullest potential in the years ahead - that’s why improving surface access is a key focus in the Master Plan.
The options for getting to and from the airport affect every one of the millions of passengers we serve as well as the thousands of staff employed here. For example, we know that over 12 million people travel through Gatwick train station each year, while millions of others come by private car, taxi, bus or coach on the local motorway and road network.
Already over 40% of people come to Gatwick by public transport. This is great, but we know we can do even better over the next decade and beyond. The Master Plan recognises this and notes the new Airport Surface Access Strategy we are currently developing to assess how we can improve rail, bus and coach services, car parking and cycling access going forward.
Naturally noise is a key focus in the Master Plan. Whilst we have a good record in this area, there is always scope for enhancement and we are exploring how to minimise potential future impacts as we grow. A big positive to note is that airlines are regularly updating their fleets with new aircraft that are quieter and cleaner.
Some of the media were very interested in the Master Plan and have made references to a second runway. Let me be clear what is actually said!
Our position remains the same as it was in December 2009 when we took over Gatwick: we have no current plans to build a second runway as we aim to maximise the efficiency of the single runway and two terminals we have. There is a long standing legal agreement with the County Council not to build any new runways before August 2019 and we recognise and respect that agreement.
However, like any responsible business, Gatwick looks ahead into the future and thinks about what might be needed to continue to run a successful operation. The Master Plan suggests two scenarios by 2030. One sees the airport with 45 million passengers a year on a single runway but then we would be full. The other scenario suggests Gatwick in 2030 might need two runways. Issues surrounding both scenarios are highlighted but there are no further assessments or modelling as 2030 is a long way off!
So, I am delighted we have published a clear and confident vision of our future. It is a vision for Gatwick continuing to grow successfully and delivering great service to our passengers whilst being sensitive to the needs of the local communities surrounding our airport.
If you have not yet see it please take a look: Gatwick master plan
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