Gatwick targets cargo growth with runway plans

By Damian Brett

Source: Gatwick Airport

Gatwick Airport is hoping that plans to utilise its Northern Runway for routine operations will boost its cargo volumes.

The airport recently submitted plans to use its back-up Northern Runway on a regular basis alongside its existing main runway, with a target start date of 2029.

If the plans are approved, cargo volumes are expected to reach 350,000 tonnes per year by 2047, up from around 150,000 tonnes at present.

“The increase in cargo is primarily driven by the expected growth in long-haul connectivity offered by the additional runway, with widebody aircraft to destinations in Asia and the Middle East seen as providing significant growth in cargo in the years ahead,” the airport said.

Gatwick said its existing cargo area, which occupies an area of approximately 10 ha, including 23,000 sq m of cargo sheds, would be able to accommodate the increase in volumes.

Local shippers and forwarders supported the plans.

Dee Mathieson, managing director of medical device manufacturer Elekta, said:“Around 90% of the vital spare parts that go into ensuring the maintenance and repair of our customers’ medical devices is by air transport.

“It would really help our business by being quicker and more efficient if we were more able to transit these parts through Gatwick, so we would welcome greater capacity and improved facilities for air freight at airport.” 

Janette Deakins, sales manager of forwarder Transvalair, added: “With the Northern Runway increasing freight capacity of Gatwick through the return of more long-haul flights, we can see some real benefits for our clients.

“Turnaround times will be faster, and we can avoid having to use lorries to transport freight to other airports, which will help deliver environmental benefits.” 

The proposed plans would allow the airport’s Northern Runway to be brought into routine use, for departing aircraft, by repositioning its centre line further north by 12 m.  This would enable dual runway operations with the airport’s Main Runway whilst meeting all international safety standards. 

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