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Runway back open but ‘limited flights’ as Gatwick starts the catch up

Whilst flights have now begun taking off and landing therre are still lots of delays and cancellations.

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It landed just after 6am this morning, the first flight to use Gatwicks runway since the drone saga began.

It was shortly joined by a flight departing for Lapland.

700 flights have been scheduled for today, down from 760 which still shows that cancellations are taking place.

The message to anyone travelling from Gatwick today is to check with their airline first.

A statement from Gatwick says:

“Gatwick’s runway is currently available having reopened at 06:00. A limited number of aircraft are taking off and landing at Gatwick this morning but our departures and arrivals rate is currently very restricted to just a few runway movements every hour so passengers must expect delays and cancellations again today. Gatwick continues to strongly advise passengers to check the status of their flight with their airline before travelling to the airport.

Overnight we have been able to work with partners, including Government agencies and the Military to put measures in place which have provided the confidence we needed to re-open the runway and ensure the safety of passengers, which remains our priority.

We continue to provide welfare and information to all disrupted passengers who are at the airport and have had teams in throughout the night. Our priority today is to get our operation back on track so that people can be where they need to be for Christmas, and we will update as more information becomes available throughout the day.”

Questions still remain though as to who was responsible for flying these drones.

The transport secretary Chris Grayling said:

“This has not been experienced anywhere in the world before.  It is a disruption incident of a kind we have not experienced before. “

Police joined by other government agencies are still working hard to track down those responsible and the wording used has been very stern, but words and actions need to bring about results before confidence will return.

Business

Businesses show their support for Gatwick’s growth as protesters continue their campaign

With only four days left before the consultation closes, 29 companies and business organisations that together represent over 25,000 companies Sussex, Surrey, Kent and London have come out in support of Gatwick’s plans.

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With only four days left before the consultation closes, 29 companies and business organisations that together represent over 25,000 companies Sussex, Surrey, Kent and London have come out in support of Gatwick’s plans. The open letter to Stewart Wingate, the airport’s CEO, is signed by organisations including Chambers of Commerce, the Federation of Small Business and sector specific associations (full list below).

In the letter the business organisations describe Gatwick as ‘a linchpin of the regional economy and a significant national asset’ that contributes ’over £5bn to UK GDP and supports 85,000 jobs.’  It goes on to say:

As the UK heads into a new chapter, Gatwick will have a vital role to play in fuelling trade, tourism and commerce, and providing links to global markets. When Gatwick thrives and grows, so too does the national and regional economy, so the airport’s growth ambitions deserve our full support.’

Clearly this growth should not be at any cost, and given our businesses and employees are based in the local communities in and around the airport, we fully understand that the impacts of expansion need to be considered and carefully managed.

‘But we believe the strength of Gatwick’s plans lies in their simplicity. By unlocking much-needed new capacity from within the airport’s existing runways and footprint, Gatwick’s growth plans are a low-impact way of delivering significant benefits.’

We are firmly in support of Gatwick’s plans which we believe will play a crucial role in allowing our businesses, our employees and our region to continue to prosper.’

The support from businesses comes one month after 75% of residents surveyed across Sussex, Surrey and Kent said that they also supported Gatwick’s growth plans, with just 14% opposing.

The public consultation on Gatwick’s draft master plan runs until 10 January 2019 and can be accessed here

Stewart Wingate, Chief Executive Officer, Gatwick Airport, said:

“This vote of confidence in our plans for growth is particularly powerful as organisations representing over 25,000 businesses have thrown their weight behind our draft master plan. 

“Businesses know we can’t take the region’s economic growth for granted. By sending this letter they recognise the airport’s vital role in creating local jobs and opportunities, and that growing Gatwick is essential for the future prosperity of our region.

“With only a few days left I would like to encourage as many people as possible to take part in our ongoing consultation to show their support for the airport’s growth plans.”

But protesters like CAGNE (Communities Against Gatwick Noise and Emissions) say the effect of any part of the plan would be highly detrimental for all residents.

In a recent statement they said:

“This master plan simply blights these areas again to the threat of airport expansion beyond 2030. The fact remains that Gatwick was not selected by the Airport Commission due to lack of unemployment in the surrounding counties; lack of connectivity to the rest of the UK and the world; it is predominantly used for European leisure travel.”

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