Gatwick News – Crawley Observer

Gatwick says sale is a ‘vote of confidence’
2nd January 2019 – Crawley Observer


By Staff Reporter
phone 01403 751200

A majority stake in Gatwick Airport is to be sold to French operator Vinci Airports in a £2.9 billion deal.

The French firm will buy 50.01 per cent of the airport, the UK’s second busiest, while the other 49.99 per cent will be retained by current Gatwick owners Global Infrastructure Partners.

Gatwick chairman Sir David Higgins today described the move as ‘a vote of confidence in Gatwick and its future potential.’

Announcement of the sale came just days after mass disruption was caused at Gatwick by reports of illegal drones invading the airport’s airspace. The airport came to a complete standstill and thousands of people had their travel plans cancelled.

Gatwick chief executive Stewart Wingate said the new deal with Vinci Airports would not mean any changes to the immediate running of Gatwick. He said he expected the transaction to be completed by the middle of next year.

“This is good news for the airport as it will mean both continuity but also further investment for passengers over the coming years to improve our services further. We currently fly to over 220 destinations around the world and are ambitious to do even more in the years ahead.”

He added: “While today’s announcement marks an exciting moment in Gatwick’s future, my team and I remain focussed on doing everything we can to. help ensure that travel runs as smoothly as possible for everyone over the rest of the festive period.”

Gatwick operates flights to more than 228 destinations in 74 countries for 46 million passengers a year. It generates around 85,000 jobs, with 24,000 of them at the airport itself.

In a draft masterplan revealed in October, Gatwick bosses set out proposals for growth including the routine use of the airport’s current stand-by runway as a second runway, along with retention of land to the south of the airport as a possible future third runway.

A public consultation over the masterplan runs until January 10th.

Protesters say the deal supports cast against expansion

Protest group CAGNE (Communities Against Gatwick Noise and Emissions) says the sale announcement is another reason to oppose the Gatwick Masterplan.

The group is calling for people to object to the plan in time for the January 10 deadline for comments.

“This purchase by a French infrastructure company, Vinci, should send a strong message to communities oI Sussex, Surrey and Kent that they will be Seeking to grow this West Sussex airport, at any price to those on the ground that suffer the ramifications of airport, expansion said a statement from CAGNE.

“It has been clear from the outset that Gatwick owner’s pursuit to increase share price by the launch of their master plan for growth of this airport, was to benefit shareholders and not the local economy.

“Their plan to increase concentrated flight paths from the main runway ignores the impact these routes already have on the wellbeing of residents day and night; using the emergency runways as a second runway by the backdoor, and safeguarding the land for a third runway whilst the Government has been clear that they support Heathrow expansion as it links up with other Government major infrastructure projects.

“The Gatwick master plan has obviously been used to entice investors and would seem to have succeeded with today’s announcement.

“This new profit seeking infrastructure company will clearly be looking to implement growth to recoup their investment as GIP shareholders have obtained today whilst ignoring the lack of soft and hard infrastructure; the burden this airport already creates for the local communities, local authorities and those in a 30 mile radius that suffer the intolerable noise of aircraft now.”

Gatwick News – Crawley Observer

Gatwick Airport under fire over ‘vague’ expansion masterplan
12th December 2018 – Crawley Observer

By Karen Dunn
Local Democracy Reporting Service

phone 01403 751279

Gatwick Airport has been accused of promoting its own business interests with ‘little or no concern for how its growth plans would affect the people of West Sussex.

The airport’s draft masterplan was discussed at a meeting of the county council’s environment, communities and fire select committee, in Chichester.

Gatwick’s Design Proposal Infographic showing the existing runways at Gatwick

It lays out three possible expansion plans, including the conversion of the existing emergency runway into full-time use.

The council will be submitting a response to the masterplan as part of a 12-week consultation, which ends on January to, and members were asked for their views.

But they were left frustrated by the information available, calling the masterplan ‘vague’ and ‘lacking in detail’.

Lt Col George Barton (Con, Sompting and North Lancing) said the plan had more ‘ifs, buts and maybes’ than any report he had read.

Asking how members were supposed to criticise, support or weigh up what was in it, he added: “I find this position we’re in now almost impossible.”

He was supported by Heidi Brunsdon (Con, Imberdown), who said: ‘We simply have no details about this plan. “It is a marketing plan for the benefit of a private company who frankly, as I see it, are simply out there trying to promote their own business, with little or no concern about the West Sussex impact for our residents.”

When asked about the amount of detail in the masterplan, airport spokesman Russell Guthrie said: “We are following best practice and consulting people early on our intentions. “While ,this means that not all the detailed work has yet been worked up, more detailed plans, and a public consultation, are likely to follow if we pursue our plans to use our standby runway.”

The impact on residents in Crawley was a point made by Brenda Smith (Lab, Langley Green and Ifield East), who described the masterplan as ‘a second runway by stealth, and said expansion at Gatwick would be ‘absolutely disastrous’.

A number of issues were discussed by members, with concerns raised about sleep deprivation due to noise levels, damage to the local infrastructure from the increase in traffic, and the impact on the environment.

Committee chairman Andrew Barrett-Miles (Con, Burgess Hill North) said: “Growth of business is a good thing. It’s part of our West Sussex plan. But it can’t be at the expense of the environment, of people. There has to be a balance.”

There were also concerns that, if Gatwick was allowed to grow too large, it would suppress economic diversity in the area and lead to ‘significant economic issues’ for the county if anything went badly wrong.

Members suggested that the council could seek a new legal agreement with Gatwick, once the current one expires next year, to safeguard land south of the existing runway for at least 15 years, preventing the building of a second runway.

Mr Guthrie added that Gatwick’s plans could have a ‘significant positive impact on local people, with the possibility of 20,000 new jobs and £2bn in economic growth.

Gatwick News – Crawley Observer

Gatwick noise reduced by quieter jets, says airport
5th December 2018 – Crawley Observer


By Staff Reporter
phone 01403 751200

Gatwick Airport says it has reduced the number of residents suffering noise from Jets.

It says newer planes are up to 50 per cent quieter than older planes.

An airport spokesman said: “The area in the airport’s noise footprint, the standard measurement 52dB leq contour, has reduced by nine per cent since 2008 while numbers of flights in the last decade have grown nine per cent.

“This reduction has been driven by many of the airports new routes being flown by new generation aircraft, for example the Airbus A320-neo -aircraft which are up to 50 per cent quieter on departure than the current models which they are replacing.”

He added: “More recently Gatwick has focused on incentivising airlines to modify their current aircraft fleet. 97 per cent of the Airbus A320 family of aircraft flying from Gatwick, which account for half of all of the airport’s flights, have been modified to reduce noise.

“This modification was a significant factor in reducing the airport’s noise footprint by three per cent in the last full calendar year according to independent noise analysis by the Civil Aviation Authority, despite a three per cent increase in traffic over the same period.”

New generation aircraft, such as the Airbus A320-neo, will be phased in over the coming years.

Gatwick estimates around 30 per cent of its fleet will comprise new quieter aircraft by 2022, 60 per cent by 2027 and 90 per cent by 2032. Growth plans for Gatwick Airport – including controversial proposals for a second runway – were unveiled in October.

Three possible expansion plans are being put forward including the conversion of the airport’s existing emergency runway into full-time use which bosses say could create as many as 20,000 new jobs.

Gatwick News – Crawley Observer

Gatwick Protest
21st November 2018 – Crawley Observer


By Staff Reporter
phone 01403 751200

Protesters from Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign (GACC) and Community Against Gatwick Noise Emissions (CAGNE) gathered outside County Mall on Saturday.

They were protesting against controversial plans which would give Gatwick an extra runway, and also earmark land for a third runway. CAGNE chairman Sally Pavey said Gatwick requires taxpayers to sign a blank cheque.

“You have to ask yourself if Gatwick is so wonderful for our local economy, why are our roads crumbling, our railway overcrowded with passengers and luggage, and there is a serious lack of affordable housing, social and health care, and schools now in the surrounding counties?

“Local authorities are already struggling to meet current demands so is this the right time to be agreeing to something that would add 70m passengers with just two runways to our roads and railway line with potentially an inward migration of an additional 12,000 workers?

“The truth is that this Master Plan would escalate our local authorities financial issues further by asking taxpayers to pay for the infrastructure and amenities to support a three runway airport long after the Gatwick management have sold their shares to another overseas pension fund.”

The next and last Gatwick Airport Master plan event is on Saturday November 24, from 3.30pm to 7.30pm in Horley Leisure Centre, Anderson Way.

Annual General Meeting – GACC

From the Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign
8th November 2018

Dear GACC Member or Reader,

A reminder of GACC’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) this year.

Friday 23rd November 2018

Commences at 7:30pm Doors open 7:00pm

Ardingly Suite
Copthorne Hotel
Copthorne Way
West Sussex RH10 3 PG

Full Agenda to follow but items will of course include :-

  • Report on the past year
  • Accounts for 2017-18
  • Election of Committee **
  • Discussion on Gatwick’s Draft Master Plan and update on Flight Paths

**There are some vacancies occurring on our Committee as some members are retiring after many years of service.

If you are interested in joining the committee please let the Chairman know by 5:00pm on Friday 16th November.

Peter Barclay
Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign

For more information about Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign
phone 01293 863369

Gatwick Airport – Crawley Observer

Gatwick road show ‘avoid’ rural areas
7th November 2018 – Crawley Observer


By Staff Reporter
phone 01403 751200

Gatwick Airport has been accused of overlooking rural communities as it consults on its latest expansion plan.

Gatwick is holding a series of exhibitions this month, setting out ‘its expansion plans. The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) has accused them of cherry picking urban areas while ignoring rural districts.

A statement from the group said: “Gatwick is to hold public exhibitions in Crawley, Croydon, Horley, Tunbridge Wells, Brighton and Horsham throughout November.

“However, no exhibitions are planned for the neighbouring districts of Mid Sussex; Tanbridge and Mole Valley which are all within the so-called ‘Gatwick Triangle’.”

CPRE Sussex Chair, David Johnson said: “People forget this is a relatively rural area. “The environmental obstacles for Gatwick are extremely serious and cannot be underestimated or ignored. And yet Gatwick has chosen to hold its consultation exhibitions well away from the rural areas which would take the brunt of this damaging proposal.

“Instead they have cherry picked unaffected urban centres in what appears to be a publicity road show which shows no consideration at all for the environment.

“The countryside can’t speak for itself and its voice is being completely drowned out in a shameful publicity drive which is all about profit. Gatwick expansion is not just about a runway – it is also about the millions of extra passengers, cars, new housing and infrastructure which would change the face of Sussex forever.

“Expansion comes with huge baggage that would destroy the very landscapes we seek to protect and promote for future generations. This scale of destruction of wildlife, tranquillity, dark night skies and clean air should be properly appreciated and responsibly publicised before any decisions can be made.

“These venues will be seen as highly inconvenient and quite inaccessible to affected rural communities and those living in the wider Sussex countryside.”

When Gatwick launched its 12-week consultation process last month, CEO Stewart Wingate said: “We would encourage as many people as possible to take part in our consultation process.”

Gatwick Airport – Crawley Observer

Planet ‘cannot afford’ expansion plans – MEP
2nd November 2018 – Crawley Observer


By Staff Reporter
phone 01403 751200

Keith Taylor, Green MEP for south east England, joined protests against plans to expand Gatwick Airport.

He said that, having been passed over in favour of Heathrow Gatwick had devised a plan for expansion ‘by the back door’.

The plan is for the airport to use its emergency runway to create extra capacity.

Keith Taylor, Green MEP

The protest on Tuesday October 30, saw the senior Green politician join local residents, Green Party members and campaigners from the Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign (GACC) at Gatwick Airport.

Mr Taylor, a member of the European Parliament’s Transport and Tourism Committee, said: “l’m joining campaigners here because Gatwick’s plans for expansion by the back door are as deceitful as they are reckless. The planet cannot afford airport expansion.

“At the same time, residents cannot afford to have their health and wellbeing even further impacted by the air and noise pollution generated by the airport’s greed.

“Earlier this month climate scientists from across the world came together to highlight the need for urgent and radical action to avoid the very worst effects of a climate breakdown that is already in process. Airport expansion quite literally flies in the face of the government’s claim that it is committed to protecting our planet and our environment.

“Aviation is a top ten global polluter and emissions from the heavily subsidised industry are set to balloon by 300 per cent if action is not taken sooner rather than later. Not accounting for any airport expansion, emissions from aviation are already expected to use up more than two-thirds of the UK’s carbon budget by 2050.

At the same time, the ‘Clean’ Growth Strategy the government has been promoting this month will already see the UK miss its legally-binding climate targets. As Greens, we support a fairer frequent flyer levy that would help reduce demand driven by the privileged few and reduce costs for the average UK holidaymaker.”

GACC chair Peter Barclay, who joined Keith at the protest, added: “Gatwick has decided in a month that highlights the health impacts of noise and an announcement from the UN’s IPCC warning of a crisis in meeting carbon emission limits, to contribute further noise and pollution by suggesting additional runway capacity in its latest Master Plan.

“Having lost the south east runway challenge to Heathrow the owners of Gatwick have decided to create their own runner-up prize via the back door.

“The proposals will create a huge increase the problems already being experienced by local communities – noise, air pollution and excessive road traffic. lt would also put even greater pressure on the tottering road and rail infrastructure both locally and further afield.”

‘Not Now. Not Ever’, say CAGNE protesters

Communities Against Gatwick Noise and Emissions (CAGNE) has launched a new campaign against the expansion plan.

CAGNE members at the Gatwick Masterplan event on November 3

CAGNE chair Sally Pavey said: “This Master Plan is about continuing the blight of these counties for Gatwick’s pursuit of profit. We therefore call upon residents to join us in rejecting the Gatwick Master Plan for a three runway airport in West Sussex.

“lt is more than just airport expansion; it is about the enormous increase in noise that is proposed for the people that have no respite today.

“It is about flying in the face of carbon reductions to save our planet, concreting over our green space for mass housing and industrial parks, not to mention huge road infrastructure projects that would be needed to support an airport of this size.”

Gatwick Masterplan events will be held at County Mall 11am to 5pm Saturday November 17 and Horley Leisure Centre 3.30pm to 7.30pm November 24.

Plan is hailed as ‘ingenious’ and ‘a masterstroke’

The Gatwick Diamond Initiative is backing Gatwick’s expansion plan.

Rosemary French OBE, executive director of the partnership said: “This masterplan is also a masterstroke because in one idea, it has identified a low-cost, safe, sustainable and fast solution to meet its growth needs.

“This important proposal means that our area could benefit from a much-needed second runway in just a few years, possibly even before the third runway is built at Heathlow.

“Time is of the essence, as connectivity with existing and new export and visitor markets is vital as we seek to protect and improve the prosperity of local businesses and people in a post Brexit world.

“We believe that utilising the existing standby runway is a fast, efficient and cost-effective option and the environmental implications are minimised.”

Platinum Publishing Group also welcomed the plan, – calling it ‘an ingenious way to expand’. “What a great wheeze to get around the ridiculous decision to award the second runway to Heathrow,” said a statement from the group.

“The decision should always have been develop both but it seems the government, in their great wisdom, didn’t agree.” It added: “With Brexit upon us, Gatwick’s development will help meet future aviation demand with sustainable growth and ensure strong connections between Britain and global markets.

“It will also provide new opportunities for the South East and-continue to bolster the local economy for future generations.”

Gatwick Airport – Crawley Observer

Anger at Plans for Gatwick
24th October 2018 – Crawley Observer


Plans to use Gatwick’s emergency runway as a second runway have been condemned by campaign groups.

Sally Pavey, chair of Communities Against Gatwick Noise and Emissions (CAGNE) said: “This is totally underhand, a stab in the heart for residents that thought they could get on with their lives after the runway debate was won by Heathrow Airport. “This is despicable behaviour by Gatwick management and clearly shows their contempt for us communities of Sussex, Surrey and Kent.”

By Sarah Page
phone 01403 751200

Gatwick Airport unveils growth plan, including a second runway
Plan is condemned as ‘outrageous’ by Sally Pavey, of Communities Against Gatwick Noise and Emissions

Radical growth plans for Gatwick Airport – including controversial proposals for a second runway – have been unveiled by officials.

Three possible expansion plans are being put forward – including the conversion of the airport’s existing emergency runway into full-time use – which bosses say could create 20,000 new jobs.

But already opponents have hit out at what they see as Gatwick expansion by ‘stealth’. The airport’s original proposals for an entirely new second runway were halted by the Government two years ago in favour of expansion at Heathrow.

In a draft masterplan revealed by Gatwick bosses today, it is proposed to use the emergency standby runway – only currently used when the main runway is closed for emergencies or maintenance – for ‘routine use.’

A current 40-year agreement not to use the two runways I simultaneously comes I to an end in 2019. The masterplan outlines how the new runway could be used alongside the main runway for parting flights by the mid 2020s.

Anti expansion campaigner Sally Pavey, who lives near Horsham and spearheads the group Communities Against Gatwick Noise and Emissions said: “This is simply betrayal of communities of Sussex, Surrey and Kent who have already endured the increases in longhaul movements this year by 24.1 per cent – this is a second runway by the backdoor.”

She said it would mean around a 20-30 per cent increase in flights, day and night.

“It’s outrageous and just makes your heart go down to your shoes.”

She said there were also aircraft safety concerns with the runways being so close together, along with concerns about increased noise, pollution and a lack of infrastructure to cope with expansion.

However Gatwick chief executive Stewart Wingate said -the proposed use of the existing standby runway would not increase airport noise and would meet all international safety requirements.

If the plan progresses, a detailed planning proposal would be submitted. He said the plans would mean an extra 8,000 jobs being created at Gatwick itself – 20,000 in the region overall – and would add an extra €2 billion to the economy.

The plans would see the number of passengers going through the airport rise to around 60 million by 2032. It would also mean the number of take-off and landings increase from a peak of around 55 an hour to up to 70.

The masterplan also outlines alternative proposals that could see the use of new technology being used to increase capacity on the existing main runway, as well as proposals to safeguard land to the south of the airport for a possible new runway in the future – although airport bosses stress that option is not currently being pursued.

Stewart Wingate

Stewart Wingate added: “Gatwick’s growing global connections are needed more than ever but this must be achieved in the most sustainable way. From using new technologies on our main runway, to the innovative proposal to bring our existing standby runway into routine use, our draft masterplan offers agile, productive and low-impact ways of unlocking much-needed new capacity and increased resilience from within our existing infrastructure.”

He said the airport had experienced a lot of success in bringing in new longhaul routes and the masterplan proposals would enable more to be created. The expansion would be fully funded by the airport’s owners, he said, with no cost to the public purse.

A 12-week public consultation period is now being launched to gather views on the masterplan.

Mr Wingate added: “Gatwick’s growth has been built through partnership so as we look ahead at our future development, we want to shape these plans together with our local communities, our passengers, our airlines and partners. We would encourage as many people as possible to take part in our consultation process. “This will help shape our plans for securing the region’s prosperity.”

Crawley MP Henry Smith welcomed the proposals. He said: “I have always supported the airport growing within its existing boundaries and welcome their exciting new vision for incremental growth that will support more jobs and opportunity in Crawley.”

CBI director general Carolyn Fairbairn added: “The CBI welcomes Gatwick’s highly productive proposals to deliver increased capacity that complements expansion schemes at other airports. This will drive trade and investment, create new jobs and help British businesses thrive.”

CPRE Sussex took the unprecedented step of declaring a ‘Countryside State of Emergency’ in response to the expansion plan. “This plan would have a devastating impact on our countryside,” said CPRE Chair, David Johnson.

“lt would change the landscape and rural character of Sussex forever – scarring our Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and deeply damaging the tranquillity and ecology of our National Park.

“For this reason we are declaring our first ever ‘Countryside State of Emergency’ to protect what we hold dear – our rural communities and the natural beauty and tranquillity of our county.

“It would be unthinkable to allow Gatwick to urbanise Sussex in this way, so we will be joining with all othen community and conservation groups to oppose these plans.

“It is ironic that at a time when one Government department is looking to expand the protection of our beloved and treasured countryside another department could be allowing its destruction.

“We do not believe that the destruction of wildlife, our tranquillity, our dark night skies and clean air can be justified by the expansion of Gatwick.”

CPRE Sussex has now written to the Environment Secretary, Michael Gove MP to detail an ’emergency campaign to safeguard Sussex’s rural communities, ANOBs and National Park from Gatwick Airport’s Master Plan’.

GACC Press Release – Emergency Runway

From the Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign
21st October 2018

Dear GACC Member or Reader,

No doubt many of you will have seen the press reports following Gatwick’s announcement to pursue additional runway capacity by attempting to develop the emergency runway. I’ve attached our Press Release giving our initial response to the announcement.

We’ll be getting in touch with you very soon with information on how to the respond to Gatwick’s consultation on this and other plans published in their new Master Plan.

Meanwhile if you want to see more of the Master Plan here’s a link to a summary or to the main document.

Summary Document: draft-masterplan-consultation-doc_18oct.pdf

Full Master Plan: gatwick-draft-master-plan-final.pdf

Peter Barclay
Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign

For more information about Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign
phone 01293 863369

Alternatively contact directly
phone John Byng 01293 537234
phone Peter Barclay 01293 862821

Crawley Observer – Gatwick Airport

Gatwick to reveal controversial plan for second runway
17th October 2018 – Crawley Observer


By Staff Reporter
phone 01403 751200

Gatwick is due to unveil plans for a controversial second runway on Thursday.

The plan, which involves using the airport’s emergency runway for routine flights, could increase the airport’s capacity by more than 84,000 flights per year, at present, there is a legal agreement in place which prevents both runways from being used at once. However, the agreement is due to expire in August.

Gatwick’s plans for expansion suffered a major setback in October 2016, when the Government rejected the West Sussex airport’s plans for a second runway, in favour of a rival plan to expand Heathrow.

Although Gatwick’s new plan would need planning permission and Civil Aviation Authority approval, both of these could be obtained before the completion of Heathrow’s third runway – due in 2026.

A Gatwick representative said: “Airports are required to publish new master plans every five years, setting out their future growth plans and Gatwick has consistently confirmed it will do so before the end of this year. The draft plan will set out for our local communities, partners, airlines and stakeholders three possible growth scenarios, which we will then open up for views and feedback.

“In line with recent Government policy, Gatwick has previously set out it is exploring how to make best use of its existing runways, including the possibility of bringing its existing standby runway into routine use. This would deliver an incremental increase in capacity that complements the expansion schemes of other airports across the South East.

“Safety and security are always our key priorities and any new development would be fully compliant with all international safety requirements.”