Gatwick explores use of back-up runway for single-aisle departures

London Gatwick airport has announced it is considering the use of its back-up runway to accommodate another 10-15 aircraft movements during peak hours, the company said. operator believes that introducing routine use of its back-up runway could enable it to accommodate another 10-15 aircraft movements during peak hours.

If development consent was granted, the runway could be activated by the mid-2020s, and enable the airport to expand capacity to 70 million passengers by 2032.

Introduction of routine operations on the back-up runway — for take-off only — is one of the scenarios being proposed in a draft masterplan for the airport.

While a local government agreement prevents simultaneous use of the main and back-up runways, this pact is set to expire in 2019.

The operator says that equipping the back-up runway with low-visibility landing capabilities would be “difficult”, and that it would be used only for departures.

While single-aisle types would have access to either runway for take-off, all long-haul aircraft would continue to depart only from the longer main runway.

Gatwick´s runways are separated by 198m but the airport operator is considering widening the back-up runway by 12m, which would increase the centreline separation to 210m.