This low-impact plan, designed to maximise the use of existing infrastructure, involves moving the centre-line of Gatwick’s current Northern Runway 12 metres, to enable it to be used for departing flights alongside the existing Main Runway.
Led by the Gatwick Diamond Initiative, 36 business groups across the region – including the Sussex, Surrey, London and Kent Chambers of Commerce, Brighton and Hove Economic Partnership, British International Freight Association and the South East Construction Expo – have put their names to the letter of support.
Many of the businesses represented by these organisations have benefitted from Gatwick’s supply chains, from the millions of tourists who fly into the airport each year and from the diverse economic clusters that have flourished in the region due to the connectivity and opportunities offered by the airport.
In the letter, issued today, the groups said they recognised the benefits that Gatwick had generated for the region in previous years, but state that the pandemic demonstrated that these benefits cannot be taken for granted, including the 18,400 new jobs and £1.5 billion the airport’s Northern Runway plan would deliver for the region’s economy.
Brett North, Chair, Gatwick Diamond Initiative said: “Gatwick Airport is the epicentre of the South East economy, and plays an important role in attracting and retaining businesses, strengthening the diversity of our economy. Gatwick’s plans for the northern runway and its continuing commitment to invest in its infrastructure offers opportunities for employment, retaining a skilled workforce and the continued economic success of the region.”
Ana Christie, CEO, Sussex Chamber of Commerce said: “In order to meet passenger demand and our increased desire to travel, by bringing the Northern Runway into use would provide greater customer choice and generate greater economic benefits for the region. The expansion would support the revival of the area through new opportunities in procurement, supply chain spending and jobs growth.”
Louise Punter, CEO, Surrey Chamber of Commerce said: “One of the key advantages of businesses setting up in Surrey is the easy access to international markets. We are very supportive of the developments at Gatwick to ensure this advantage continues to be maximised in the coming years.”
Jo James, OBE, CEO, Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce said: “Gatwick Airport is a major part of the infrastructure and connectivity that is so vital to businesses across Kent & the South East. This project makes the best use of an existing asset and brings with it extra benefits for our members and the wider economy.”
Richard Burge, CEO, London Chamber of Commerce and Industry said: “LCCI strongly supports Gatwick Airport’s Northern Runway plans. This expansion would be vital in boosting both the London and the UK economy, as well as helping to cement London’s position as a premier global city in which to do business, and vital to the inflow of tourism, trade and investment to the UK.”
The 36 groups now urge their members to respond to Gatwick’s public consultation and show support for future growth and prosperity across the region, before the 1 December deadline.