Long-term plans

Long-term plans

By using new technologies on Gatwick’s Main Runway and innovative proposals to bring the existing Northern Runway into routine use, Gatwick’s Master Plan offers an agile and low-impact way of unlocking new capacity and increased resilience from within the airport’s existing infrastructure.

Read our summary document below or download it as a PDF

Gatwick master plan

As part of the airport planning process - and reflecting industry best practice - Gatwick creates and regularly publishes a ‘master plan’ to show how the airport intends to develop and grow in the longer term. The master plan also helps to inform the wider regional and local planning process.

Consultation and draft master plan

Consultation in numbers


In October 2018, we published our draft master plan and launched a 12-week public consultation to invite feedback on our plan. Thank you if you gave your feedback. 

In line with Government policy our draft master plan looked at ‘making best use of their existing runways’. 

In our draft master plan, we set out three scenarios for future growth and asked for views on each of the different scenarios. People could participate in the consultation online, by email or post or in person at one of the public exhibitions.

We also asked questions in relation to the following topics:

  • Making use of our existing runways
  • Safeguarding of land
  • Economic benefits of Gatwick
  • The mitigation of noise and other environmental impacts
  • Community engagement
  • Passenger experience
  • Surface access strategy

In addition, there was the opportunity to feedback on any other topics.

Topline consultation results

From over 5000 responses to our consultation, the greatest level of interest was in relation to the growth of the airport by making best use of our existing runways (question 1) and the safeguarding of land (question 3).

Q1: To what extent, if at all do you support or oppose the principle of growing Gatwick by making the best use of the existing runways, in line with Government policy?

Question 1 consultation document



66% of respondents were in support




Q3: To what extent, if at all, do you agree or disagree that land that has been safeguarded since 2006 should continue to be safeguarded for the future construction of an additional runway?

Question 3 consultation document



  59% agree with this approach




More generally, there was recognition of the economic benefits Gatwick delivers, with over half of respondents (53%) making positive comments about the potential employment and economic opportunities from the continued growth of the airport.

Other key themes raised during the consultation

Following the consultation, we have published a full consultation report document which describes the consultation process, the key themes raised and Gatwick’s initial response to the feedback received. We have also published the final version of our Master Plan 2019.* 

Future growth and resilience

In reaching a decision on how we intend to take forward our plans for future growth, we have carefully considered the current and emerging national aviation policies and strategy and also our ability to use improved technology to help increase efficiency on our runway. We have also considered the feedback and comments received as part of the draft master plan consultation.

Taking the three scenarios in turn, we plan to deliver additional capacity, providing a balance between operational resilience and sustainable growth.  

Scenario 1: remaining a single runway operation using our existing main runway

We will continue to secure Gatwick’s longer term future through the use of technology to increase capacity on our existing runway.

Scenario 2: the existing standby runway is routinely used together with the main runway

The innovative proposals for the standby runway will deliver additional capacity at the airport that enables us to balance operational resilience and sustainable growth. As one of the biggest private investments in the region, the scheme will deliver greater connectivity, a better passenger experience through greater competition, and an economic boost that secures jobs and opportunities for generations to come. These benefits can all be delivered while keeping the airport’s noise footprint broadly similar to today’s levels, and with minimal disruption to our neighbours and the environment.

Scenario 3: we will continue to safeguard land for an additional runway

While we are not actively pursuing the option of a building a new runway, in line with Government policy (both local and national) we will continue to safeguard land for an additional runway to the south of the airport, as set out in scenario 3. In the consultation, 59% of respondents were in clear support of us continuing to do.

Stakeholder engagement

We are aware that in responding to the draft master plan stakeholders had many different views. We will have regard to all these responses as we move forward and will use them to help shape our plans. We will continue to engage with our stakeholders in further consultation once we have worked up more detailed information. We will do this as part of a Development Consent Order process for Scenario 2. See below for more information and the next steps.

The planning process

As we outlined in our draft master plan, the indicative potential for passenger growth through Scenario 2, means that the development will need to go through the Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP) under the Planning Act 2008. This means that we will need to apply for a Development Consent Order (DCO) to get planning permission. NSIP applications are examined by the Planning Inspectorate and finally decided by the Secretary of State.

The flow diagram below shows the process set out by the Planning Inspectorate: 


Next steps

Before we submit our DCO application we will carry out a number of detailed studies to assess the impacts and benefits of our proposals. 

Once we have completed this, we plan to carrying out a further consultation on a wide range of information, before submitting a DCO application. During the consultation we will be contacting anyone with an interest in any land that may be affected and we will also hold conversations with key stakeholders and regulators, as well as engaging with local community members and their representatives and local businesses. There will be opportunities to give your views on our proposals.

We will continue to keep this page updated and other communications channels updated. 

* All our documents are available to read and download from this page. If you would like a printed copy by post of either the Consultation Report or the Master Plan document, please email masterplandocument@gatwickairport.com with your details. There is a charge of £84 for the Consultation Report and £93 for the Master Plan.