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London Gatwick Airport has started acting on plans to develop its existing northern runway, which is currently used as a standby, so smaller aircraft can depart alongside its main runway by the mid-2020s.

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London Gatwick Airport has started acting on plans to develop its existing northern runway, which is currently used as a standby, so smaller aircraft can depart alongside its main runway by the mid-2020s.

Gatwick expects to handle 46 million passengers in 2019; it is the world’s busiest single-runway airport and the UK’s second largest airport. It serves more than 230 destinations in 74 countries.

Gatwick has actively campaigned for a new runway, but a new master plan released in July shifted the focus to developing the northern runway, using technology to maximize the use of its main runway and safeguarding land for a potential new runway in the longer term.

Gatwick said Aug. 28 it has submitted formal notice of plans to apply for development consent. This will be followed by a planning application, with the aim of securing a development consent order (DCO).

“The start of the process to use our existing northern runway is a significant milestone,” Gatwick chief planning officer Tim Norwood said. The airport will submit a scoping request in September, further detailing plans and key issues that will need to be addressed.

“The first stages in the DCO process involve Gatwick carrying out surveys and preparing detailed environmental information on the northern runway plans later in 2019. A public consultation will be held in 2020, after which further updates to the plans will be incorporated. An application for development consent will then be made to the planning inspectorate, who will examine the application and provide a recommendation to the secretary of state, who will decide if the project moves forward.

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