More than 55,000 businesses pledge support for Gatwick Airport’s northern runway plans
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The Gatwick Diamond Initiative announced on Thursday that the businesses have put their names in a joint letter of support to the Secretary of State for Transport.
Led by the Gatwick Diamond Initiative, some 52 UK business groups – including the Institute of Directors (IoD) Sussex, CBI London and the London Chamber of Commerce – have now confirmed their support.
These 52 groups are now urging their members to register with the DCO to make sure their views are represented in the government's consultation process.
Brett North, chairman of 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.”
Gatwick Diamond Initiative added that the ‘low-impact plan’ is designed to maximise the use of existing infrastructure and involves moving the centre line of Gatwick’s current Northern Runway 12 metres so it can be used for departing flights alongside the main runway.
They said that that many of the businesses in the letter have benefitted from Gatwick’s supply chains, from the tourists who fly into the airport every year and from the ‘diverse economic clusters’ that have been flourishing in the Gatwick Diamond region.
In 2021, some 36 business groups, representing 20,000 members across the south east, wrote to the Transport Secretary offering support for Gatwick’s plans.
Michele Augousti, chairman of IoD Sussex, said: “Gatwick Airport’s use of an existing runway and its preference for sourcing local suppliers shows a commitment to the utilisation of existing facilities, as well as encouraging economic growth in the area thereby supporting the local business community; both initiatives are to be commended.”
In the letter the signatories highlighted the impact of the pandemic and current economic challenges, saying the Northern Runway plans offered new global and regional connections, as well as more than 10,000 jobs and an economic boost of over £1billion per year.
Anneka Hendrick, CBI regional director, London and South East, said: “A thriving aviation industry is critical to supporting the ambition for delivering greater sustainable growth by ensuring that the UK remains an internationally competitive destination for investment
"Airports also play a key role as economic anchors in local communities by creating jobs, supporting supply chains and driving growth.
"With the transition to net zero a key challenge for the economy, Gatwick are absolutely right to focus on their sustainable aviation plan to help reduce noise levels and carbon emissions.
"As a predominately leisure-orientated airport, Gatwick’s plans for its Northern Runway can play a major part in the success and growth of the country’s tourism industry, whilst improving the airport’s reliance and resilience, help meet future passenger demand and provide greater international connectivity.”