Key Gatwick advisory group to consider plans for Thameslink rail 'super-franchise' (From Redhill And Reigate Life)
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Key Gatwick advisory group to consider plans for Thameslink rail 'super-franchise'
2:32pm Tuesday 17th July 2012 in Local News
Plans for the new Thameslink rail ‘super-franchise’ will be among a raft of important issues going under the microscope at a meeting of key advisory group Gatwick Airport Consultative Committee
(GATCOM) this Thursday (July 19).
The meeting in the Ascot Suite of the Hilton Hotel at the South Terminal of Gatwick Airport at 2pm, will be considering the Department for Transport’s (DfT) upcoming invitation to tender for the Thameslink franchise, in October.
And the final version of the Gatwick Master Plan, drawing in future plans for the airport up to 2020, will also be launched at the meeting.
Earlier this year Gatwick Airport Limited (GAL) completed a public consultation on the master plan, and the committee will be told about the changes made to the final draft as a result.
The meeting will be open to the public to observe.
GATCOM has outlined to the DfT and prospective bidders for the Thameslink rail ‘super-franchise’ its aspirations for the next franchise, which include securing infrastructure improvements such as a fully upgraded Gatwick Express fleet, and better transport links from Reading, Guildford, West London, the Midlands and Kent.
GATCOM chairman Dr John Godfrey, said: “Our top priority in the short term is to make sure there is sufficient capacity for air passengers wishing to board trains, with their luggage, during peak times.”
Dr Godfrey said: “The problem of overcrowding on peak time Gatwick Express trains from Brighton must be solved so air passengers can access this service.”
Elsewhere on the agenda, GAL is launching a consultation on an interim implementation for new navigation system P-RNAV on departure routes from Gatwick.
The new navigation system makes it much easier for pilots to fly a more accurate path within Gatwick’s Noise Preferential Routes (NPR).
Dr Godfrey said: “As the true impact on residents is not yet known, GATCOM will wish to ensure the impact on populations that are overflown is carefully monitored before decisions are made for the longer term.”
GATCOM will also receive an overview of the Government’s consultation on the Draft Aviation Policy Framework published last week, which is designed to balance the benefits the growing aviation sector bring to the economy with the impact it has upon people who live near airports.
The Government wants to involve communities who live near airports in decisions that affect them and is asking whether Airport Consultative Committees, such as GATCOM, should play a stronger role.
GATCOM will also respond to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) about future regulation of airport charges at Gatwick.
GATCOM is made up of 28 appointed representatives from a wide range of interests including local authorities, civil aviation, community and environmental groups.
Its role includes building interest, communication and understanding between the airport and its users, local residents and the business community, considering airport issues concerned with the environment, surface access, employment, the economy and the circumstances of local communities, and protecting and enhancing the interests of passengers and other users of the airport.
A Government representative is also present at the main GATCOM meetings, together with Gatwick Airport’s managing director and the senior management team. Website: www.ukaccs.info/gatwick/