Gatwick Airport has said it could begin the process of delivering a second runway “tomorrow” if the government was to give expansion plans the go-ahead, the airport’s construction chief has said.
Gatwick construction director Ray Melee said that the airport “was prepared” for when the government gave the project the go-ahead, and was continuing to update its plan for a second runway.
At NCE’s airport design and development event on Thursday, Mr Melee said: “As stated in our proposal, our scheme is shelf ready, we would have to engage in the consultation process for the government but we are ready to go tomorrow.”
Last October, the government chose Heathrow ahead of Gatwick as the airport in which an extra runway should be built.
However, a number of figures industry figures have said that expansion at Heathrow alone would not be enough to deal with growing passenger numbers.
Mr Melee said that Gatwick had not given up on delivering a new runway and that it would be able to deliver the extra capacity the country needs.
He said the airport was adopting a “no-regrets” approach when planning its five-year capital investment programme, saying every project would be designed to accommodate a second runway if built.
Gatwick is currently developing a £1.2bn capital investment programme, which will outline all the major construction works planned at the airport over the next five years.
Mr Melee said: “In process of planning the capital investment programme we don’t want to develop projects that if we are given the green light for a second runway we would have to change, everything is driven with a no regrets mindset.”
Mr Melee also revealed that construction would be the third option when it came to planning projects for the airport’s investment programme due to lack of land at the airport.
“We would love to build a new terminal but we are restricted by land,” he said.
“Building is the third option, the first option is how can we boost efficiency by improving or reworking the process, then we look at tech and what it can do to help us find extra capacity and efficiency and then last but not least, we then go with construction.”
The comments from Mr Melee come just a week after Construction News revealed that Atkins, Jacobs and Arup had been chosen by the airport for a planning framework covering the design and management of Gatwick’s existing infrastructure.
Bechtel was chosen last year chosen by Gatwick to be its strategic partner to develop plans and project manage a second runway at the airport.