Gatwick starts second runway talks over projects worth £1.2bn

Gatwick Airport is set to begin talks with contractors and consultants over its second runway proposals, which include new projects worth £1.2bn.

With Gatwick and Heathrow airports currently competing to secure a new runway for London, Gatwick’s move ups the ante as transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin announced this week that he hopes a decision would be made by July.

The Airports Commission recommended in July 2015 that Heathrow should be the location for a new London runway and contractors and developers including Balfour Beatty, Laing O’Rourke and Mace came out in favour of Heathrow expansion earlier this week in a letter to chancellor George Osborne.

Expansion at Heathrow must be in real doubt however given the opposition of both Sadiq Khan and Zack Goldsmith, the Labour and Conservative candidates in the forthcoming London mayoral election.

Gatwick’s announcement today includes details of construction projects to be brought forward and a new framework is expected to be tendered soon. Speaking today, Gatwick’s development director Raymond Melee said: “Gatwick has already invested £1.3bn since becoming independent from BAA ownership, transforming the way we operate to deliver a world-class experience for our passengers.

“Over the next five years we will be investing £1.2 billion to meet accelerated passenger growth and bringing forward crucial infrastructure projects. Gatwick will in the very near future be also seeking expressions of interest from consultants to tender for work on our second runway building programme.

“It is important that Gatwick is ready to start work as soon as we get government approval to deliver the increased capacity the south-east desperately needs. Opening discussions with contractors now means we will be well placed to take forward our plans for a second runway, on time and on budget.”

Melee said that a second runway at Gatwick was the more sustainable scheme and the only deliverable option legally, politically and environmentally.

The projects Gatwick has identified to bring forward for construction are:

North Terminal International Departure Lounge expansion

North Terminal short-stay car park

Border Force expansions in both terminals

Additional pier served stands

As part of its £1.2bn spending over the next five years, Gatwick will also carry work including pier and gate room refurbishments and food and beverage retail enhancements. The airport will also add remote aircraft parking stands and make changes to taxiways and stands, improve road and bus and coach facilities and also upgrade the operational resilience and maintenance of the airport’s assets.

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Build it near Doncaster or somewhere on the HS2 route, then call it North Heathrow. No one will ever know the difference.