Federation of Small Businesses Area Leader, Geoff Williamson (pictured left) invited Jeremy Taylor (pictured right) to present and discuss the Gatwick Airport Masterplan at the monthly FSB networking breakfast. Jeremy is the former Chief Executive of Gatwick Diamond Business and now runs his own firm, ‘The Company Connector’. One of his assignments is with Gatwick Airport to promote and inform upon the draft Master Plan of this critical national infrastructure asset.
Over a tasty breakfast at the Cisswood House Hotel, Jeremy informed the business audience that Gatwick is in the top ten of European Airports by passenger numbers. It makes a £5.3 billion contribution to GDP and provides 24,000 airport jobs and contributes to a further 85,000 related jobs. The airport connects to 220 worldwide destinations and is a top five European Airport for long haul flights. £2.03 billion has been invested in Gatwick since 2009 and a further £1.11 billion will be spent before 2023. Passenger numbers have steadily risen with a 41% increase over the last 8 years with a 47.1 million forecast by April 2019.
With the lengthy Airport Commission study now concluded, Gatwick has the Government’s support to make best use of existing runway capacity. In its Masterplan it examines three scenarios for growth up to 2032: a single main runway operation; additional use of the stand-by runway; safeguarding land for a new runway to the south. Under option 2, the standby runway would be used only for departures of smaller aircraft. This could bring great benefit, however, with an estimated addition of 20 million passengers, £2 billion of economic benefit and 20,000 jobs. Jeremy Taylor said this option would be low cost, have low environmental impact and be deliverable by mid-2020. The development would add vital resilience to transport infrastructure alongside London, Heathrow.
The 12 week consultation is now closed. FSB, along with other business groups, supports the draft masterplan. “Gatwick is now reviewing the responses from the community and the wide variety of stakeholders before deciding upon the best option to adopt,” said Geoff Williamson, adding, “Gatwick Airport is a vital asset to the south east economy and is a catalyst to prosperity across the region. We must get behind it to support local business and jobs.”
You can enjoy business networking with FSB Connect Crawley and Horsham every third Friday of the month. The event is at Cisswood House Hotel starting at 0745 and member and non-member businesses are all welcome. See the south east events calendar for details and to book.