London, Jun 13 (AFP) London Gatwick Airport announced today it was spending 1.1 billion pounds on expanding its facilities over the next five years to accomodate a growth in passenger numbers.

Gatwick is the eighth-busiest airport in Europe and sits behind Mumbai as the world’s busiest single-runway air hub.

“Gatwick is a major piece of national infrastructure, and our continued growth and ability to attract long-haul airlines is vital for the health of the UK economy, particularly in a post-Brexit world,” said the airport’s chief executive Stewart Wingate.

“By committing to spend another 1.1 billion pounds, Gatwick can continue to grow sustainably, attract new airlines and offer more global connections, while providing an excellent service to passengers.” From December 2009 to the end of the new five-year investment in 2023, the total investment figure rises to 3.14 pounds billion.

Gatwick serves more than 228 destinations in 74 countries for 45 million passengers a year. It predicts that passenger numbers will hit nearly 53 million by 2023.

The expansion work includes a new domestic arrivals facility, including a new baggage reclaim in the South Terminal, redevelopment of its hotel capacity, and a new extension in the North Terminal departure lounge to accommodate new restaurants.

The British government has ruled out investing in building a second runway at Gatwick, instead preferring the construction of a third at London’s main Heathrow airport, the busiest passenger air hub in Europe. (AFP) KIS KIS

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.