Gatwick Airport has brought in a construction expert in the hope it will be given the go-ahead to build a second runway.
Raymond Melee, one of the most experienced project managers in the industry, has taken on the role of development director.
A spokesman for Gatwick said the appointment would “ensure construction of a new runway can start immediately, should the Government and planning authorities give it the green light”.
Mr Melee has three decades of experience building more than 25 international airports across four continents. He will be responsible for taking forward a £1 billion investment programme to improve the airport infrastructure, including a transformation of the North Terminal.
Mr Melee said: “The UK has been debating a new runway in the south east for decades and there is little time left for talk.
“More capacity is urgently needed and, from a construction perspective, Gatwick’s plans are comparatively low risk and have few complex hurdles to overcome. Gatwick expansion is the most deliverable option and will deliver more passengers and destinations earlier, while boosting choice and competition at a fraction of the cost, complexity, and environmental impact of expansion at Heathrow.”
The Airports Commission is due to make its recommendation in the summer.