Further Flood Alleviation Plans for Gatwick Airport

Gatwick Airport Ltd, the operator of the airport in southern England, has submitted plans to local authorities which they believe will help alleviate flooding problems for the airport.

The airport has already invested £20 million in flood alleviation schemes since 2009, helping the South Terminal of the airport to remain largely unaffected by the December 2013 flooding.

The airport was hit by floods on Christmas Eve, 2013, during the winter storms that affected many parts of England. Flood water caused power outages in the airport’s North Terminal, forcing the airport to cancel many of its departing and incoming flights.

The flood alleviation plans have already been approved by the Environment Agency. The plans involve diverting the nearby Gatwick Stream, a tributary of the River Mole, and constructing a dam along part of the stream’s banks.

December 2013 Floods

As many as 72 departing and 73 arriving flights were cancelled. 146 departures were delayed – most of them by up to 4 hours, and some by 13 hours.

In February 2014, David McMillan, Chair of the Board of Governors of the Flight Safety Foundation, published a report to the Board of Gatwick Airport Ltd, explaining the issues surrounding the Disruption at Gatwick Airport on Christmas Eve 2013. In it he said:

“The flooding at Gatwick Airport on Christmas Eve was the culmination of unprecedented levels of rainfall over preceding weeks and months. River flows at the three waterways in the immediate vicinity of the airport were at record levels. Water table levels were also substantially higher than usual.

These factors and the very high winds that were experienced point to the fact that the airport was faced by an exceptional and difficult challenge on that day.”

Gatwick Airport is the world’s busiest single runway airport. In 2013, 35.4 million passengers passed through Gatwick, which serves over 215 destinations worldwide through 60 carriers.


File photo: Gatwick in the rain, 2013. Photo credit https://www.flickr.com/photos/teflon/
File photo: Gatwick in the rain, 2013. Photo credit