The man in charge of Gatwick says a second runway at the airport may have to be built - in a move that will spark fury under the flightpath.
The comments come in a document looking at future growth at the airport. Gatwick says by 2030 the airport will be full with 40 million passengers a year. An extra 11 million a year.
1,200 extra jobs will be created.
While the airport say they will comply with an agreement that no new runway is built before 2019 they say after that a new one may be necessary.
Gatwick Airport’s Chief Executive, Stewart Wingate said: “Gatwick plays an important role in supporting growth in the local and wider UK economy. We are responsible for providing jobs to 21,000 people today and enabling the tourism industry to flourish and businesses to prosper.
"Our finalised master plan sets out how we will achieve sustainable growth on our single runway in order that we can continue to support economic recovery and growth and open up further routes to emerging economies.
“We remain committed to honouring the 2019 agreement which prohibits the building of any second runway before that time. At the same time, and like any other business, our plans need to cater for all eventualities.
"We need to anticipate that, in the long term, a second runway at Gatwick may be needed.
"This means we will continue to work in partnership with our local authorities to safeguard land for future expansion because we believe it to be sensible business practice and it supports current Government policy.”
Gatwick expects to handle 40 million passengers by the early 2020s. Growth will deliver more local jobs and contribute £2.1 billion a year to the economies of London and the South East.
By 2030 the airport will be full and handling 11 million more passengers a year than today Gatwick has today published its finalised master plan, which outlines its development plans to 2020 and looks onwards to 2030 when it expects to reach full capacity with around 45 million passengers a year choosing to fly from the airport.
The publication takes place against the backdrop of an on-going debate around what a future airports policy could look like.
A new draft aviation policy is currently out for consultation and the ‘call for evidence’ on maintaining the UK’s international air connectivity is expected to be published in the near future.