Gatwick Airport’s capacity could swell to an estimated 68 million passengers per year, if plans for a second runway go ahead.
The London gateway’s new masterplan, unveiled today (July 19), contains a scenario in which, after 2020, it could add a second runway.
But the airport says it will remain focussed on being a single-runway, two terminal enterprise, until the end of 2019.
It could then continue with one runway airport, handling 45 million passengers a year by the mid 2020s, or, under a second option, expand to a two-runway operation.
The UK government last week postponed publishing a consultation on UK airport capacity requirements until the autumn.
Gatwick CEO, Stewart Wingate, said the debate should be concentrated how the UK could be maximising its current capacity.
He added: “The message that Heathrow is full is being misinterpreted dangerously as Britain is closed for business.
“The UK has more capacity now than it did pre-credit crunch.”
Gatwick’s masterplan claims the airport will be handling 40 million passengers a year by 2021/22.
The airport currently handles 34 million passengers a year.
Wingate told the Gatwick Airport Consultative Committee, GATCOM, that a second runway remained an option and that land had been safeguarded for this eventuality.
He told Airport World that he could not put an exact figure on the capacity of a two-runway Gatwick, but said it would be similar to the 68 million estimated for a two-runway London Stansted.