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LONDON: Gatwick Airport, formerly part of the BAA and now owned by a group of international investment funds including Global Infrastructure Partners, wants to start construction on a second runway before the end of the next UK parliament in 2020, with the first flights by the end of 2025.

Emirates A380 in front of Pier 6 at Gatwick AirportThe owners say the new runway would provide the UK with more flights, more connections and handle 11 million more passengers by 2050 than building it at Heathrow, at a fraction of the environmental cost.

Architect planner Sir Terry Farrell commented: "I have no doubt that with a second runway, Gatwick will deliver more balanced, and more widely spread, economic growth for London and the South East. Expansion at Gatwick could do for South London and the wider region what the Olympics did for East London and give a huge boost in terms of jobs, housing and regeneration."

The airport management added that a commitment to start building in the next parliament "does not in any way negate the 1979 agreement. Gatwick remains committed to the legal agreement with West Sussex County Council, which prohibits the airport from constructing a new runway before 2019."

In a related move, the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has removed price controls on cargo services at London's Stansted airport from April 01, 2014. The CAA says there is not sufficient evidence that the former BAA airport has substantial market power for its cargo services.

Iain Osborne, director for Regulatory Policy at the CAA, said: "The CAA's role in cargo is to look after the interests of the consumers who own airfreight, and they appear to have a lot of choice in the market...This gives Stansted an excellent opportunity to innovate and we expect to see competition drive the delivery of high quality services that meet the needs of both passengers and cargo owners."

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