Gatwick sets out its critical role for Britain in Government’s future Aviation Strategy

16 October 2017

London Gatwick has an increasingly critical role to play to help connect Britain to the world post Brexit.

The airport sets out today a series of positive steps it could take to help passengers, and the country, in its response to the Government’s call for evidence for its future Aviation Strategy.

The UK's new Aviation Strategy will set the framework for the future of this vital sector - and Gatwick is fully committed to playing a positive role in the consultation process as the UK’s second largest airport.  

Gatwick’s submission covers four critical areas – growth, competition, sustainable development and Brexit. In recent years, Gatwick has played an increased role in the global economy due to the airport’s booming growth in long-haul connections +17% and subsequently cargo +20%.

Today’s submission outlines the vital role Gatwick will play in the future and reiterates the need for the continued safeguarding of land and airspace required for a second runway at the airport. 

Gatwick's submission agrees with the Government on the need to make best use of existing airport facilities, and also sets out the need to look at the sustainable growth challenges and the resilience of airport operations in what is already congested airspace around London.  

Gatwick Airport Chief Executive Officer, Stewart Wingate said:  

“Gatwick is a national success story and the airport for the future. We are proud that we have become a vital part of the country's national infrastructure over the last five years as we have grown. And we recognise the important part we have to play in Britain’s future.  

"We believe it is important that the UK's future aviation strategy recognises this continuing contribution to the national economy. It should allow Gatwick to continue to respond to the increasing demand from airlines and passengers for our growing network of global links. This is the best way of supporting competition and enhancing resilience. 

"We are the busiest and most efficient single runway in the world but we are fast approaching capacity.  It is essential that our current operations and our future growth is supported and enhanced by the Aviation Strategy. Equally our submission repeats our pledge to deliver a privately financed second runway in a sustainable way.  Safeguarding the land and airspace arrangements required for any future expansion should be an integral part of the UK’s aviation growth strategy.  We believe this is essential if we are to protect and then grow Britain’s position in the global economy. 


Gatwick has grown rapidly in the two years since the Airports Commission submitted its final report in July 2015, and passenger numbers have far outstripped the Commission’s traffic forecasts.  While Gatwick continues to grow, this will inevitably slow over time as the airport reaches full capacity.  The airport urges the Government to take the further necessary steps to help unlock Gatwick’s growth potential. Gatwick believes this is vital to help accelerate national and regional economic benefits and create more jobs.

Gatwick would like to make best use of the airport’s existing facilities.  It stresses the importance of improved resilience of airport operations given current capacity constraints.  Based on available Government evidence all London airports will be ‘full’ by 2040, Gatwick consequently remains ready and willing to build its financeable and deliverable second runway scheme.

Competition and choice:

Since independence from BAA, Gatwick has been able to compete to grow and this has delivered significant benefits to passengers in the form of more choice, lower air fares and higher levels of service. 

Competition is good for consumers and good for Britain. Gatwick urges the Government to do everything it can to help enhance competition and choice. With future aviation strategy spanning a lifetime of 30 years, it is vital that the aviation sector is allowed to respond to market conditions and adapt its business model accordingly.  The re-design of UK airspace must take a 50 year outlook and must be sufficiently flexible to accommodate unforeseen business needs.

Sustainable Development:

Gatwick strives for sustainable growth and is handling greater numbers of passengers every year while also becoming carbon neutral as it seeks to be the UK’s most sustainable airport.

While the aviation sector brings unquestionable economic and social benefits to the UK, continued growth must be accommodated with due consideration for the environment and community impacts. Gatwick urges the government to remain committed to existing policies related to noise and air quality in particular. 


The future of the UK’s Aviation Strategy cannot be separated from the issue of Brexit and its potential impact on the aviation industry.  Air passenger and freight businesses must be able to continue to access European markets and facilitate inbound tourism and inward investment.  Gatwick strongly urges the Government to prioritise the aviation industry, and ensure this outcome is delivered as aviation clearly has a vital part to play in the next chapter for Britain. 

Full Gatwick’s full submission here.

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