Expansion at Gatwick would create an economic boost to rival the Olympic-inspired regeneration of London’s East End, the airport said today.
A second runway which could be in operation by 2025 would lead to new jobs and homes in the “Gatwick triangle” stretching from the airport to the south coast towns of Southampton and Dover.
The bold vision was outlined by renowned architect Sir Terry Farrell as he set out the most detailed plans yet for the proposed £7 billion transformation of Gatwick from budget airline specialist to premier league global airport.
The Sussex airport is battling arch rival Heathrow for the right to build a new runway to solve the South East’s chronic shortage of aviation space with a recommendation to be made to ministers after the General Election.
Sir Terry told the Standard: “A second runway will do for south London what the Olympics and Stratford did for East London. There will be better rail connectivity, a boost to employment and more homes. A second runway also brings with it investment in hotels, cargo holding and warehousing.
New terminal: the two-runway Gatwick, would include an upgraded station/transport interchange and inter-terminal transport link “It will turbo charge that corridor all the way down to the south coast and do a lot for the natural growth of London in a balanced way.“
Dismissing Heathrow’s plans for a three-runway hub, Sir Terry added: “You have to think about a whole panning strategy for the South East. We’ve in the past talked about a constellation (of runways) but it’s really integrated connectivity of rail, roads and airports.
“A metropolis is different to smaller towns and cities like Frankfurt, Amsterdam or Dubai. Places like New York, Tokyo don’t build single airports – they build networks because they are regionally based. They’ve got to supply a complete system and to spread around. “
He said Gatwick would be balanced with the offer from Heathrow, Stansted and Birmingham which will be within 30 minutes from Old Oak Common when HS2 opens.
“It’s a question of how to make London work as the hub” he said.
The public’s experience of Gatwick would be “transformed” as passengers arrive and depart using a single transport gateway, linking rail, coach and taxis and modelled on Seoul’s Incheon aiport, also designed by Sir Terry.
A new third terminal would be dedicated to the second runway and all three terminals would be linked by a rail shuttle.
Gatwick says the airport would be much more compact than Heathrow and has guaranteed it would take passengers no more than 45 minutes from arrival at the hub to reach their plane.
Transport hub: it is hoped the plans would result in natural growth for London and the south east Sir Terry, whose CV also includes the MI6 building and Charing Cross station, said: “It will be a completely different kind of airport which will be as good as the best in the world, it’s a transformation of the airport with a new hub for road and rail with a shuttle which will link the terminals in a way you can’t do as efficiently at Heathrow. It’s going to be very compact and on the passenger side a totally new airport.”
Unveiling its “Gatwick for growth” campaign at the Shard today, chief executive Stewart Wingate said a second runway at Gatwick would create an extra 170 million passenger journeys by 2050.
He said short-haul direct flights would continue to account for two thirds of the market and Gatwick was best positioned to supply this. Mr Wingate insisted that the UK did not need Heathrow’s hub – which offers a wider range of transfer destinations – because these could increasingly be reached flying longer-range planes.
A second runway at Gatwick would create 27 more destinations than expanding Heathrow. By 2030, Airport charges – passed onto passengers in airfares – would rise to £12 to £15 at Gatwick and £35 at Heathrow, although analysts say a third runway at Heathrow could make it cheaper and more attractive to budget airlines.
Heathrow insists only a hub can serve the UK’s long-term economic interests by connecting to emerging markets. Heathrow also remains the preferred destination of the major airlines alliances.