GATWICK Airport is on a shortlist of two airports that could be expanded - along with Heathrow.
The Airports Commission has this morning published its interim report setting out its preferred options for increasing UK aviation capacity.
The commission, led by Sir Howard Davies, has only named two airports as options, although two possible alternatives at Heathrow will be considered.
A second runway at Gatwick would be between the airport and Crawley, it has been confirmed - which would almost certainly mean the loss of homes in Lowfield Heath and potentially some businesses in Manor Royal.
Homes in Langley Green and Ifield are likely to be very close to a second runway.
If selected a second Gatwick runway would be over 3,000 metres in length and the two runways would "be spaced sufficiently apart to permit fully independent operation". This means of three options put forward by Gatwick the one being considered is the one closest to Crawley.
The report explains: "Gatwick Airport Ltd has proposed that a new runway should be constructed south of the existing one. It has identified three options: close-spaced, wide-spaced/dependent operation and wide-spaced/independent operation.
"The Commission’s assessment has focused on the last – a runway over 3,000m in length spaced sufficiently south of the existing runway (at least 1,035m) to permit fully independent operation.
"This offers the greatest increase in capacity while still having relatively low environmental and noise impacts compared with some other potential sites."
The report adds that "related new terminal facilities" would be built.
A final report is due by the summer of 2015, after the next general election.
The so-called Boris Island option in the Thames Estuary is not on the shortlist, although further research will be carried out to see if it merits adding to it.
The report, published at 7am, states: "The Airports Commission’s independent review into airport capacity and connectivity in the UK has concluded that there is a need for one net additional runway to be in operation in the South East by 2030.
"Its analysis also indicates that there is likely to be a demand case for a second additional runway to be operational by 2050.
"The Airports Commission’s Interim Report published today has announced that it will be taking forward for further detailed study proposals for new runways at two locations:
"*Gatwick Airport: Gatwick Airport Ltd’s proposal for a new runway to the south of the existing runway;
"*Heathrow Airport (two options): Heathrow Airport Ltd’s proposal for one new 3,500m runway to the northwest; and Heathrow Hub’s proposal to extend the existing Northern runway to at least 6,000m, enabling the extended runway to operate as two independent runways.
"The next phase of its work will see the Commission undertaking a detailed appraisal of the three options identified before a public consultation in autumn next year.
"The Commission has not shortlisted any of the Thames Estuary options because there are too many uncertainties and challenges surrounding them at this stage.
"It will undertake further study of the Isle of Grain option in the first half of 2014 and will reach a view later next year on whether that option offers a credible proposal for consideration alongside the other short-listed options.
"The Commission has not shortlisted proposals for expansion at Stansted or Birmingham, however, there is likely to be a case for considering them as potential options for any second new runway by 2050. In its final report the Commission will set out its recommendations on the process for decision making on additional capacity beyond 2030."
The report has also urged the Government to take immediate action to enhance Gatwick Airport Station and to carry out further work on developing a strategy for enhancing Gatwick’s road and rail access.
Gatwick has set out its case for a second runway as being a relatively cheap option, which would cause limited environmental damage compared to other options.
James Colman, Gatwick's corporate affairs and sustainability director, has previously told the Crawley News that expansion at Gatwick is crucial to the future prosperity of our town.
He said: "Gatwick has a vision and an ambition which goes beyond the airport boundary fence.
"One which is for a vibrant and growing community which secures the economic wealth of future generations.
"You only have to visit the airport today to see how we have transformed it over the last three years and to get a measure of our commitment.
"That is why we are putting such a strong case for an additional runway to the Airports Commission.
"Today, Gatwick contributes about £2 billion a year to the region, employing over 23,000 people on the airport and another 13,000 off it.
"Companies like Nestlé have moved here because of the airport and we want to attract more.
"By building a new runway Gatwick could create up to 19,000 new jobs across the region by the 2040s. It would also pump an extra £1.66 billion a year into the region."
Those who oppose a second runway at Gatwick fear extra noise, environmental damage and have called on the airport to release more details of its exact plans.
Some have questioned whether there is another room for a second runway, while others have questioned whether enough passengers will use the airport in the years ahead for a second runway to be needed.