Gatwick has published a new five-year capital investment programme which highlights more investment in automation and technology as an enabler of sustainable growth. New initiatives include robotic parking and automated boarding technology, which will speed up boarding and give passengers more choice about how they spend their time. Gatwick’s total investment since 2009, combined with this new five-year plan rises to £3.21 billion. The airport now serves 46 million passengers a year, and is committed to exploring how to continue growing sustainably, providing jobs and boosting the local economy. While setting out an exciting long-term future vision is part of Gatwick’s recently published master plan, at the same time the plan provides a strong focus on improving facilities for passengers and airlines, as well as continuing to enhance operational performance. The single biggest project to be delivered within the next five years is the Pier 6 western extension which will offer over half a million more North Terminal passengers the opportunity to embark and disembark their aircraft via a jetty-served stand, as well as improved gate waiting areas. The design incorporates automated boarding technology which uses biometrics to process passengers through e-gates straight onto the aircraft. Similar projects successfully run by other Vinci Airports will provide inspiration for the Pier 6 extension’s coffee shops and retail, which will ensure passengers can enjoy these facilities right up to the point of boarding. Gatwick chief executive, Stewart Wingate, said: “We always put passengers at the heart of our investment plans and it’s great to see how automation and technology can further enhance the passenger experience. “The plans explore ways we can grow capacity sustainably, including providing more space in our departure lounges. “This investment will support our existing airlines, help attract new airlines and provide an enhanced service for the millions of people who choose to fly from Gatwick.” He added: “We have outlined our long-term growth strategy in our final master plan and the capital investment programme we are sharing today, gives a more detailed view of our short-term plans which will continue to improve our service proposition and lay foundations for the future.” The capital investment programme is a rolling five-year plan which is published annually. This allows the plan to be refreshed regularly as market conditions and operational needs change.