Airport planning to bring to bring second runway into routine use while Pascall & Watson reports workloads doubled last year

Gatwick Airport is refreshing its £60m design framework in the wake of its plans to redevelop its second runway passing a planning hurdle.

Proposals for the UK’s second biggest airport to bring its existing second runway, which is currently used only as a taxiway, into routine use were accepted for detailed examination by the Planning Inspectorate last month.

Architects and consultants now have until 20 October to submit tenders for the airport’s new framework for multi-disciplinary services including design, construction, engineering and fire engineering. The four-year deal includes an option to extend by a further two years.

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Gatwick Airport has seen passenger numbers bounce back after the lockdowns of 2020 and 2021 because of the covid pandemic

Results of a pre-qualification questionnaire will be announced to potential providers on 18 December, with a request for proposals to be issued on 4 January.

A development consent order for the £2.2bn expansion submitted in July proposed moving the Northern Runway 12 metres to the north to allow dual runway operations in line with international safety standards. It would only be used for departing flights.

A panel of independent experts have started an 18 month examination period, which will include written submissions and public hearings.

Construction could start as soon as 2025 with the runway being completed and ready for use by the end of the decade.

Gatwick, which is currently the world’s busiest single-runway airport, said the expansion would contribute towards a target to increase the number of passengers it serves to around 75 million by the end of the 2030s.

The airport said 32.8 million passengers used the airport last year, compared to just 6.3 million in 2021. It added that 18.5 million passengers travelled through the airport in the first six months of this year, a rise of 41% on the same period last year.

Meanwhile, in a further sign the airports sector is coming back, transport architect Pascall & Watson said turnover more than doubled last year with the firm returning to the black as well.

The practice, which is working at Gatwick, had been hit by the slowdown in aviation following the pandemic in 2020 but in results filed at Companies House said revenue shot up from £10.6m to £24m last year with the firm posting a £2.2m pre-tax profit from a £141,000 loss in 2021.

In a note accompanying the accounts, the firm, which also works in the rail sector, said: “Turnover for the year rose significantly as the post-covid recovery was quicker than anticipated.” The bulk of its income, £19.6m, is from the UK.