Gatwick Obviously

e-newsletter No.95

Our Mission Statement

Full dispersal • • • Maximum altitude • • • Continuous Descent

What standby runway?


The Noise Management Board Public Meeting, 5th December

The Standby Runway

We advised you recently about the announcement from Gatwick that they intend to turn their standby runway into one that is used "routinely". That proposal, together with others in Gatwick’s draft master plan, would mean 15% more passengers and 7% more flights by 2022/23, and nearly 40% more flights by 2032.

You, equally, may have been surprised to learn they already had a second strip of Tarmac:


The Airport has one main runway, designated 08R/26L, which is 3,316 metres long. When the main runway is out of operation there is a standby runway, designated 08L/26R, adjacent to the main runway that can be used. This runway is shorter than the main runway and is not equipped with an Instrument Landing System and, under current regulations due to its proximity to the main runway, it cannot be used at the same time.

The standby runway is normally only used during periods of essential maintenance on the main runway and this is normally carried out during night time when the airport is not as busy. As the runway is constantly in use it requires frequent inspections and a maintenance programme to ensure the surface and all lighting fixtures remain in a fully operational and in a safe condition."

The standby runway was used for its defined purpose 3,722 times in 2017 over 164 days. The equivalent of just over 23 weeks.


2017 saw record complaints at 24,658.

Over 1,000% increase since 2012, when the flight path changes were put in place.


They also want to use "new technologies to increase capacity on Gatwick's existing Main Runway"

This may or may not mean using satellite guided flight paths that bring concentration. This is what they do say it may mean:

"4.2.2.To achieve this [increased capacity] we are exploring a number of technology and process initiatives as well as some changes to the runway infrastructure…"


"4.2.5 Expected improvements include the introduction of 'time-based separation' which allows a more accurate method of spacing arriving flights than the current method based on fixed-distance separations."

Given the level of complaints and the deep concern on all sides of the airport at Gatwick's present capacity levels, any thought of increasing capacity is simply incredible.

Their consultation on all of this closes on 10th January. We will be sending out guidance on how best to respond well before the deadline.

The Noise Management Board Public Meeting, 5th December, 15.00 - 20.00

We have been sent this message by Gatwick/Noise Management Board. All welcome, you just need to register. We will be there, as will many of those with a seat on the NMB including community noise groups and the industry. It's interesting times with the NMB.

Be good to see you there.

"We are pleased to provide a link to an invitation and programme for the joint Gatwick Airport Ltd and Noise Management Board (NMB) annual public meeting to be held on 5th December 2018 at the Sofitel Hotel, North Terminal, Gatwick Airport.  This link is on the Gatwick Airport and NMB webpages.

If you wish to attend either session within the meeting, please respond via email to ensuring you state which session you plan to attend, together with your name and how many places you would like. We would be extremely grateful if you could forward this invitation on to anyone you feel would like to attend the public meeting, ensuring they respond through the email above to secure their place.Places are limited and available on a first come, first served basis.

Please note: this meeting is not part of Gatwick Airport's Draft Master Plan engagement and the Draft Master Plan will not be discussed at the public meeting. All information is available on the website. If you wish to register your response to the Draft Master Plan, you can do so at:

We look forward to welcoming you on the day.

Noise Management Board"


Martin Barraud
Gatwick Obviously Not

Here's how Gatwick's Chief Executive announced the draft master plan:

"Good morning,

As the UK heads towards an important new chapter, Gatwick is today unveiling a draft Master Plan for ongoing development and sustainable growth at the airport, which sets out how the airport can meet the growing demand for air travel and deliver connections to global opportunities.

The draft Master Plan explains how Gatwick intends to develop and grow in a sustainable way into the early 2030s, creating the right balance between economic growth and environmental impact, across three scenarios:

  1. Using new technologies toincrease capacity on Gatwick's existing Main Runway;

  2. A plan to bring the airport's existing Standby Runway into routine use alongside the Main Runway;

  3. Continuing to safeguard the land for an additional runway in the future, while not actively pursuing one today

The proposals are in line with the government's policy support for making best use of existing runways and will deliver highly-productive, incremental new capacity with minimal environmental impact, to complement expansion schemes at other airports across the South East.

Gatwick today makes a significant contribution to both the regional and national economy, supporting 85,000 jobs and adding £5.3bn to GDP, and through this draft Master Plan, is seeking to grow that contribution by unlocking new connections, jobs and trade.

We believe the plans offer safe, agile, low-impact ways of unlocking much-needed new runway capacity from within our existing infrastructure - however, it is important that everyone has their say so we look forward to hearing the views of our local communities, partners and stakeholders.

A 12-week public consultation is now live at and will include five public exhibitions in our local area, which will help inform the publication of the final Master Plan early next year. We would welcome your views and encourage you to respond before it closes at 5pm on 10 January 2019.

If you have any questions, please get in touch with the team by emailing

Yours sincerely,

Stewart Wingate
Chief Executive Officer"

All the graphics above are from Gatwick's Flight Performance Team:

November 19th 2018

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