The UK’s Gatwick Airport has released its draft master plan, which includes a proposal to bring its emergency runway into routine use to increase flight capacity.

As per the existing planning agreement, which is set to expire next year, the standby runway can be used when the main runway is closed for maintenance or emergencies.

The draft master plan proposes to bring the standby runway into routine use for departing flights, alongside its main runway, by the mid-2020s.

“This innovative development, which would meet all international safety requirements, would be delivered without increasing the airport’s noise footprint and provide greater operational resilience,” the airport said in its press statement.

Additionally, the draft master plan also includes proposals to deploy new technology on the main runway in order to further increase its capacity.

“This innovative development would be delivered without increasing the airport’s noise footprint and provide greater operational resilience.”

London Gatwick CEO Stewart Wingate Stewart Wingate said: “Our draft master plan marks the start of a new phase for Gatwick, building on what has made the airport the success it is today and pioneering again to take advantage of the exciting opportunities that lie ahead.

“From using new technologies on our main runway, to the innovative proposal to bring our existing standby runway into routine use, our draft master plan offers agile, productive and low-impact ways of unlocking much-needed new capacity and increased resilience from within our existing infrastructure.”

The airport has launched a 12-week public consultation to gather feedback and views on the draft master plan.

“All responses will be reviewed before a final version of the master plan is agreed early next year,” the airport noted.

UK Member of Parliament Henry Smith said: “Crawley’s prosperity depends on the success of Gatwick Airport and the publication of this new draft master plan goes a long way to securing future growth in the town.

“I have always supported the airport growing within its existing boundaries and welcome their exciting new vision for incremental growth that will support more jobs and opportunity in Crawley.”