Gatwick has revealed £500 million plans for a second runway.
It would boost the airport’s capacity to 75 million passengers.
A 12-week public consultation on the project starts on September 9th.
The plans centre on upgrading the airport’s Northern Runway and moving it 12 metres.
The strip is currently used as a taxiway and standby for the main runway during emergencies and repair work.
Chief Executive Stewart Wingate said depressed travel numbers are expected to recover by 2025 or 2026.
He added the project would create 18,400 extra jobs for the area by 2038.
Mr Wingate said:
“While we are currently experiencing low passenger and air traffic volumes due to the global pandemic, we are confident that Gatwick will not only fully recover to previous passenger levels, but has the potential to continue to grow back into one of Europe’s premier airports.
“Our plans to bring our existing Northern Runway into routine use will not only help to secure that growth but will also ensure many thousands of additional jobs and a vital boost to the economy for our local region.”
However, the Communities Against Gatwick Noise and Emissions protest group said the plans were motivated by “greed”.
A spokesperson said:
“This move can be for one reason only; shareholders seek to sell Gatwick with two runways.
“Whilst the children are off school and elected members holiday, Gatwick Airport choose a time when the skies are quiet to announce a public consultation that flies in the face of the climate emergency, we are all facing.
“It is despicable for a company to ignore the emissions that planes in and out of Gatwick produce that is causing grave danger for future generations that will have to pay the price for today’s greed of this leisure airport.”