While the Government continues to consult on its policy for runway capacity, Gatwick’s investment in its infrastructure is showing no signs of slowing, with the airport continuing to enhance its position as the world’s most efficient single-runway airport.
Gatwick is already delivering the next phase of its Capital Investment Programme (CIP), which has already seen £1.3 billion of investment since independent ownership in 2009. A further £1.2 billion is to be invested in developing its existing infrastructure by 2021, which will include: expansion of the North and South Terminal International Departures Lounges, additional aircraft parking stands, increased car parking capacity for short stay, long stay and staff car parks across the airport as well as road network improvements.
The ever increasing number of passengers travelling through the airport each year has now reached 43 million and its booming long-haul services grew by +26.8% in 2016, continuing to demonstrate that Gatwick can connect Britain to important growth markets when these links have never been more crucial. Its long-haul network now reaches over 50 destinations and as a result of this increase, Gatwick’s freight last year increased +13.3% in metric tonnage.
A new long-haul service has also been launched to Cape Town, with six services now leaving every week. It is the largest export destination in Africa, and with the South East exporting more than any other UK region, the new route will make it easier, cheaper and quicker for businesses in the region to access South Africa and surrounding markets.
Gatwick accounted for 14% of the UK’s aviation connectivity in 2016 (availability of seats to international destinations and the economic importance of these destinations), delivering productivity benefits to the UK estimated at £1.1 billion
Meanwhile, Gatwick’s role in the local and regional economy has been underlined by a recent Oxford Economics report commissioned by the Gatwick Growth Board. The report shows that the airport’s GDP impact in the Gatwick Diamond has risen to £2.3bn and 36,000 jobs, meaning 10% of the Diamond’s economy can be traced back to the airport, which is estimated to support one in every twelve jobs in the region. Additionally the footprint at a national level amounts to £5.3bn in GDP and over 85,000 jobs.
From a sustainability perspective, Gatwick recently announced it is the first UK airport to join more than 80 of the world’s influential companies in a programme - the RE100 alliance - designed to generate a massive increase in the demand for renewable electricity. Gatwick has been purchasing 100% renewable electricity since 2013 and is a key part of the airport becoming carbon neutral later this year, as electricity comprises 80% of the airport’s operational carbon footprint.
Other initiatives to be launched this year include Gatwick’s world first airport waste to energy plant generating heat for the North Terminal as well as the introduction of an electric car sharing service, the first of its kind for a UK airport. All of these are important milestones in Gatwick’s journey to become the UK’s most sustainable airport.
With Gatwick reaching record passenger numbers, more than 10 years ahead of predictions, investment in the airport is more important than ever.