bosses have revealed plans for a second runway - vowing to rival Heathrow as one of London's most important hubs.
Chief executive Stewart Wingate said research and environmental studies would now begin, with a view to opening the new runway in the 2020s.
Mr Wingate said rather than relying on Heathrow
as the dominant hub alone, it would be best to have three strong airport destinations.
The news comes as it emerged London Mayor Boris Johnson threatened legal action to bring forward a Government inquiry into future airport capacity.
Wingate told The Sun
: "We think Gatwick is a solution - affordable and deliverable.
"The debate about how the UK has to have one hub airport is over-simplistic. It should be about how in the future London is connected with the rest of the world.
"Look at New York, there are three airports there.
"This would spread the economic benefits and environmental impact and mean there was a more resilient network in the event of snow or fog.
"We wouldn't be at the mercy of a dominant Heathrow
He also gave his views on the 'Boris island' Thames Estuary airport idea, saying: "We haven't built a new runway in 60 years so I doubt we are going to be able to get our heads around building four at an estuarial airport."
Arguments are ongoing as to whether a third runway should be built at Heathrow
. The Government is refusing to budge on budget, but airlines like BA say Britain will be cut off from big economies of it doesn't push forward with the idea.
A 1979 agreement states that no runway can be built at Gatwick
before 2019, but that after this, a second runway could increase capacity by around 11 million passengers a year from its current 34 million by 2030.
- 2. Singapore Changi Airport
Changi Airport serves more than 100 airlines and operates 6,100 weekly flights - yet it is still a pleasure to travel through. The airport boasts tropical gardens, cinemas, a rooftop pool, rain showers and even fish spas in case your feet are feeling a little weary and in need of a relaxing nibble...</p>
- 3. Hong Kong International Airport
Offering what's been described as 'the world's best airport shopping destination', Hong Kong International Airport also contains a variety of top-notch restaurants serving Western, Chinese and Asian food. It also has sport simulators and a SkyCity Nine Eagles Golf Course to boot!</p>
- 4. Amsterdam Schiphol Airport
Located a convenient 20 minutes from the city centre, Amsterdam Schiphol keeps its customers well entertained, with a casino, a library, an indoor/outdoor park, a museum, a huge variety of restaurants and shops and a 6D cinema. No chance of getting bored here!</p>
- 5. Beijing Capital International Airport
Beijing Capital International Airport has three terminals and is currently the second busiest airport in the world. Its third terminal, opened in 2008 in time for the Olympic games, is also the second largest in the world. It's widely praised as one of the most efficient airports in the world.</p>
- 6. Munich Airport
Munich Airport, the second busiest in Germany, features a vast assortment of shops and eateries, from Pandora to Hermès, Starbucks to Subway. It also has a cinema, mini golf course, and tours of historic aircrafts.</p>
- 7. Zurich Airport
Currently ranked as a 4-star airport by Skytrax along with only eight other airports around the world, Zurich airport is Switzerland's largest international flight gateway. It has plenty of shops and restaurants, and even an underground train.</p>
- 8. Kuala Lumpur International Airport
In addition to a wide range of restaurants and retail outlets, Kuala Lumpur International Airport caters to everyone's needs with a variety of facilities and leisure activities, including reflexology and massage treatments, nurseries, and smoking lounges.</p>
- 9. Vancouver International Airport
Located a handy 7.5 miles from downtown Vancouver, this airport has won several prestigious international best airport awards. Its interior features one of the most extensive collections of Pacific Northwest Coast Native art in the world, and has blues and greens to reflect the colours of the land, sea and sky. The airport, which uses great quantities of carpet and glass, even has a waterfall nestled between two escalators to keep passengers calm as they travel.</p>
- 10. Central Japan International Airport
Situated on an artificial island in Ise Bay, this airport is 22 miles south of Nagoya in central Japan. Centrair, as the airport is also known, features the 4th Floor Sky Town shopping centre with 61 shops and restaurants that are organized into two "streets": Renga-dori and Chochin-yokocho. The airport has won a number of accolades including 4th Best Airport Worldwide in 2011.</p>
- 1. Incheon International Airport
The largest airport in South Korea, and one of the largest airports in the world, Incheon International has plenty of room. Enough, in fact, to house a golf course, a spa, private sleeping rooms, a casino, indoor gardens, a Museum of Korean Culture and even an ice skating rink! Departure process takes 16 minutes and arrival takes only 12 minutes, beating the global average of 60 and 45 respectively. </p>
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