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Gatwick Airport initiates planning process to use its existing Northern Runway

Gatwick Airport has formally started the process to bring its existing Northern Runway into routine use by submitting a notice to the Planning Inspectorate (PINS) of its intention to prepare an application for development consent.

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This action establishes the ‘Gatwick Airport Northern Runway’ project on the PINS website and is the first step in the Development Consent Order (DCO) application process.

Next month, the airport will submit a ‘Scoping Request’ to PINS, which sets out the proposed approach and key issues to be included within the process.

Following the publication of its master plan in July, Gatwick announced it would prepare a planning application known as a DCO – through a rigorous statutory process. The application is to bring the airport’s existing Northern Runway (also known as the standby runway) into routine use for smaller, departing aircraft alongside the main runway by the mid-2020s.

Tim Norwood, Gatwick’s Chief Planning Officer, said:

“As the biggest private investments in our region for many years, the start of the process to use our existing Northern Runway is a significant milestone. This project has the capacity to offer significant local economic benefits, new jobs and an exciting future for the region. As we take our plans forward, we are committed to working in partnership with our local communities, councils and partners to ensure we grow sustainably and present information in a clear and transparent way, including a more detailed stage of public consultation on the project next year.”

The first stages in the DCO process involve Gatwick carrying out surveys and preparing detailed environmental information on the Northern Runway plans later this year.

A public consultation will be held next year, after which further updates to the plans will be incorporated. An application for development consent will then be made to PINS, who will examine the application and provide a recommendation to the Secretary of State. The Secretary of State will then make a decision.

All documents submitted to PINS by Gatwick will be publicly available on the PINS website throughout the DCO process. To read the Gatwick master plan, please visit our website.

Gatwick

Gatwick trials boarding aircraft by window seats first

London Gatwick is trialling a new boarding technique in a bid to avoid queues and congestion at gates.

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During the two-month trial, large digital screens and staff will be placed at Gate 101 to show passengers the order to board.  A range of sequences will be trialled to test whether they make the process faster, more relaxing and, potentially, reduce the need for large numbers of passengers to rush forward at any stage.

Possible sequences include seating people from the back row to the front with window seats first, middle seats next and aisle seats last.

Passengers who have booked priority boarding – or those who require special assistance or are travelling with young families – will still board first during the trial.

Modelling indicates that these techniques may be able to reduce boarding times by up to 10%, compared to conventional methods.

Learnings from the trial, as well as feedback from passengers, will be used to decide whether to take this concept forward or not.

Abhi Chacko, Head of Enabling Technologies and Digital Innovation, Gatwick Airport said:

“We want to explore whether boarding by seat number will avoid queues in the gate room and when boarding the aircraft.

“Early indications are that this new technique has the potential to reduce the overall boarding time.  By communicating to passengers better and boarding passengers by seat number, we also expect to make the whole boarding experience more relaxing and, potentially, prevent large numbers of passenger rushing forward at any stage.”

London Gatwick and VINCI Airports have been early technology innovators for many years. The use of technology to improve operations leads to further ongoing success, particularly true given London Gatwick’s role as a gateway, and as its traffic volumes are predicted to continue to rise.  Following its acquisition earlier this year, London Gatwick has become one of three VINCI Airports Innovation Centres of Excellence.  

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