Our Main Runway got a face lift

Runway Re-surfacing

Measuring 3,337 metres long and 44 metres wide, our main runway is the beating heart of our operation. Built in the 1950's with concrete, on busy days it can handle over 950 movements a day. Without it, the airport is more like a shopping centre.

The problem? Over time, we've laid new asphalt onto 1950's concrete pavement. This causes cracks and can lead to unplanned runway closures.

We last re-surfaced our runway in 2012. We added 50mm of new asphalt to the top, designed to last 9 years. In 2016, we began a yearly patching programme, to extend the design life.

Our main runway is in need of a face lift

Re-surfacing requires military precision

Success is a team effort

It requires careful planning, teamwork and the highest standards of safety and quality.
Learn more about our future plans

Our Plan

We spent time to find a solution that drives best value. We focussed on the area that needed it most - the section that sees high traffic.

Target our work to the area on the runway that needs it most

We removed old asphalt, recycling this material and giving it a new life in a new place. We laid 40,000 tonnes of new asphalt in the central section of the runway.

We completed this three month programme in Spring 2022. It delivers a runway that is fit for the future.

runway improvements take place at night when the runway is closed

To complete the project, work took place overnight between 9.30pm and 5.30am. This minimises the impact to airport operations.

This project includes:

  • A seven year design life
  • 40,000 tonnes of asphalt
  • Minimal impact to operations

Find out more about

Our story so far

We’ve come a long way since the 30s. Read more about our key milestones. From private aerodrome, to the busiest single-runway airport in the world.

Read more about our story


Work is underway to deliver an upgrade to the Gatwick Airport station. This will make it easier to access and improve passenger experience.

Read more on the Station Upgrade project

Our Northern Runway

We've set out our plans to bring our existing Northern Runway into routine use alongside our Main Runway.

More on our Northern Runway