Gatwick Airport (LGW) in London, United Kingdom, officially revealed plans to open the second runway by putting the existing standby runway into routine use.

As per existing legal agreement, signed back in 1979, Gatwick’s second runway is now only used for emergencies, or when the main one is closed for maintenance. The agreement expires in 2019, opening possibilities for routine use by the mid-2020s, according to Gatwick airport statement on October 18, 2018.

“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 statement reads. “While in the early stages of exploration, Gatwick is confident the project would remain within the existing airport footprint and existing framework for airport charges. Should the airport decide to further progress the use of the existing standby runway, it would submit a detailed planning proposal and follow a Development Consent Order (DCO) process, which would include a full public consultation”.

The decision surely will open new opportunities in terms of capacity for an airport, which serves 282 thousands flights and receives 45 million passengers per year, being the second most efficient single runway airport in the world, topped only by Mumbai airport, as the Independent points out.

Second runway idea, together with other development plans for up until 2030s, were positively received by the airport’s clients. For instance, Norwegian CEO Bjorn Kjos is quoted by the airport as saying that “as we continue our global growth, we welcome any increases in airport capacity in the Greater London Area that support our commercial interests and ultimately benefit consumers”.

But not all feedback the decision has received so far is positive. For instance, an organization called Communities Against Gatwick Noise Emission (CAGNE) is advocating against the Second Runway since 2014. As the organization’s title suggests, they view it as a possible source of aircraft noise, besides other negative impacts to the area east and west of Gatwick.