2019 is a key year for the operator of Gatwick airport, as it's when a 40-year agreement not to run flights on its second runway at the same time as its main runway expires. And bosses have wasted no time in preparing a planning application asking to be allowed to do just that.
The agreement covered the airport's emergency/part-time runway on the north side, and was put in place to keep locals happy way back in the late 1970s when planning permission for the airport as a whole was granted. Now that it's expired, Gatwick's current bosses have handed in a preliminary scoping report outlining what it would like to do, telling the council that it would also like to expand both of its terminals at the same time as bringing its second runway into full time operation; a move that could massively increase annual passenger numbers from around 46 million now to 74 million by the year 2038.
Three new hotels would also be built on the site as part of the expansion, plus we would imagine there'd be a new Wetherspoons or two. Maybe an additional WHSmith and that shop that sells baguettes too. The runway expansion work could begin as soon as 2021, should planners stand firm in the face of angry letters from local noise/environment campaigners. [Sky News]