Gatwick Airport will hold out for a second runway rather than bring its emergency runway into use, a Horsham councillor has suggested.
Liz Kitchen shared her view at a district council meeting on Wednesday night, where she updated her colleagues on the work of GATCOM – the Gatwick Airport Consultative Committee – of which she is a member.
Mrs Kitchen stressed that her opinion on the matter was hers alone and not that of the committee.
She said that if the standby runway was brought into play, it would mean an ‘awful lot more flights over those of us who live closer in to the airport’.
She added: “Whether they’ll manage to do this or not I don’t know – and the new owners, I think, don’t really understand yet.
“There are some feelings round about the place that it will be very expensive, because it’s not just going to use the existing runway that is there, they’ll have to widen the existing runway to make it work.
“To widen the existing runway, they will have to move some of the taxiways so I suspect they’ll wait to see if they can’t get the second runway in at a later date.
“That is on the table, it’s being talked about at the moment.”
A 12-week consultation into Gatwick’s master plan ended in January, with people asked for their views on three scenarios: using new technology to increase capacity of the main runway; bringing the standby runway into routine use for departing flights; and safeguarding land for a possible additional runway in the future.
Mrs Kitchen also spoke about the government’s ‘Aviation 2050’ green paper, describing it as ‘trying to be all things to all men – look after the environment, look after the noise, and let’s get more aeroplanes flying if we can’.
A spokesman for Gatwick Airport said: “Bringing the airport’s existing standby runway into routine use is one of the three growth scenarios in Gatwick’s draft master plan.
“We are currently reviewing the responses received to our master plan consultation. These will inform our final master plan which will be published later in 2019.”