London Gatwick Airport is preparing to invest £240 million ($309 million) in 2017, as part of a five-year development plan, after London hub Heathrow won government support for expansion.

Under the airport’s five-year planning framework, it wants to grow using its existing infrastructure. Gatwick currently handles 44 million passengers a year, a figure the airport said is “way ahead of predictions,” boosted by low-cost carriers easyJet and Norwegian.

“Gatwick is already the most efficient single runway airport in the world and so growth must come from clever use of infrastructure, technology and efficient processes,” the airport said. 

Three major infrastructure specialists—Arup, Atkins and Jacobs—have just been selected to work with on capacity analysis and simulation modeling to evaluate the processing capacity of the airports existing infrastructure. The three companies will also assess facilities needed for any future growth, as well as functional layout planning.

“The award of this framework sends a clear message that Gatwick is committed to continued growth, despite the constraints of the single runway and our existing infrastructure. We will always look for clever ways to improve passenger processes while being focused on what people want, and it’s important to work with specialists in this field to understand some of the critical flows of the airport,” Gatwick chief planning officer Tim Norwood said.

The £2.5 billion transformation program covers Gatwick’s terminals, aprons, airfield, commercial, ancillary and support functions, including landside roads and forecourts.  

Gatwick is located south of London and is the UK’s second largest airport, serving 228 destinations with just one runway.

Meanwhile, Heathrow is pressing ahead with its expansion plans and expects to apply for formal clearance for a third runway in 2019.

Victoria Moores victoria.moores@penton.com