Airports in and around Surrey

Surrey is located between Heathrow and Gatwick which are two of the world's busiest airports. Surrey also has a number of small airfields.

Linked to its international accessibility, Surrey is an attractive location for businesses with a buoyant economy. Over 107,000 individuals are employed in jobs linked to either Heathrow or Gatwick, with many of these people also Surrey residents. However, its proximity to airports also creates negative environmental conditions such as traffic congestion, aircraft noise and air pollution (from traffic and aircraft), which affect health and wellbeing.

The county council represents residents' interests, by working with government, other local authorities and the industry.

Proposed expansion at Heathrow

The government has proposed a third runway at Heathrow. Surrey County Council has responded to this, in particular making the case for the local infrastructure necessary, if growth is to occur. More information, including our responses and supporting studies, is provided on the Surrey Future, airport expansion page.

Aviation policy and planning processes

The Department for Transport is responsible for setting national policies and long-term plans for aviation.

The National Infrastructure Directorate of the Planning Inspectorate is responsible for determining planning applications for the creation or expansion of large airports. Local impacts arising from large airport development, such local transport access for passengers, employees and freight and local air quality impacts can be subject to legal agreements with the relevant local authorities.

The relevant Local Planning Authority is responsible for determining planning applications for smaller airports (see Fairoaks and others below).

Flight paths and noise

A range of bodies are involved in determining and operating flight paths, including the Civil Aviation Authority, National Air Traffic Services (NATS), local Air Traffic Control and Department for Transport and the airlines.

The government sets controls on noise at major airports such as Heathrow and Gatwick, including flight paths (known as 'noise preferential routes' or NPRs), night flight restrictions and operational procedures (certain ways planes must be flown). The airports and airlines are responsible for adhering to these conditions. The government has established the Independent Commission on Civil Aviation Noise, to enhance the knowledge and application of best practice for aviation noise management.

The regulatory background for managing aircraft noise is international; set by the International Civil Aviation Organization which requires countries to take 'a balanced approach'. This involves four pillars including using new technology to make planes quieter, zoning development which is allowed near airports, setting noise preferential routes and imposing restrictions such as noise quotas.

Airport Consultative Committees

Surrey County Council represents residents at Airport Consultative Committees at Heathrow and Gatwick. These are advisory bodies, required by government, which provide a discussion forum for matters concerning the development or operation of the airport and any airport activities which might impact on airport users and on those living and working in areas affected by the airport's operation.

Heathrow Airport

Heathrow is to the north of Surrey, in the London Borough of Hillingdon. The airport currently serves 194 destinations in 82 countries and in 2016, flew 75.7 million passengers worldwide. Heathrow serves slightly fewer destinations than Gatwick but serves over 60% more passengers per year."

The county council represents residents at the Heathrow Airport Consultative Committee (HACC). In relation to the proposed expansion of Heathrow, the county council is part of Heathrow Strategic Planning Group, where local authorities around Heathrow work together to develop a joined-up position on infrastructure needs, share resources to be efficient and create stronger voice to government and the airport.

Gatwick Airport

Gatwick is to the south of Surrey, in the borough of Crawley, in West Sussex. Gatwick airport serves around 200 destinations in 90 countries and recent passenger growth means that the airport served 45.4million passengers per year.

The county council represents residents at the Gatwick Airport Committee (GATCOM) and also works with the lead authorities of Crawley and West Sussex, to monitor the implementation of the Section 106 legal agreement relating to local services and impacts.

Fairoaks Airport

Fairoaks Airport is in the borough of Surrey Heath, in Surrey. The airport accommodates small business aircraft and flying schools. The airport is also home to a number of businesses. The helicopter landing site to the south of the aerodrome, is separate from Fairoaks airport. Fixed wing aircraft movements are limited to 120,000 per annum. There are no restrictions on the number of helicopter movements.


Dunsfold lies 13 miles west of Gatwick and acts as a private aerodrome for a range of aviation activities. It is also home to over 100 local businesses providing 700 jobs, as well as a flying school.

The site, also referred to as Dunsfold Park, has planning permission for 1800 homes including on-site education, retail, leisure and recreation provision as well as an expansion of the business park. The decision to build 1800 homes on the site was originally approved by Waverley Borough Council, but an inquiry was called by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Sajid Javid, in March 2017 who later agreed to the decision in March 2018. Dunsfold Aerodrome Ltd have produced a masterplan for development of the new village.

Redhill Aerodrome

Redhill Aerodrome is in the borough of Reigate and Banstead in Surrey, north of Gatwick Airport. It has three grass runways for fixed wing and rotary wing aircraft. There are a number of flying schools. There are no restrictions on the number of aircraft movements.

Biggin Hill Airport

Biggin Hill Airport is in the London Borough of Bromley. It has three runways and provides for training flights, commercial, business and general aviation. The airport has a limit of 125,000 aircraft movements per annum.

Farnborough Airport

Farnborough Airport is in the borough of Rushmoor in Hampshire. TAG Farnborough Airport Limited own and operate Farnborough Airport, which is a business aviation airport. In October 2000, Rushmoor Borough Council granted planning permission for the continuation of flying from Farnborough, setting a limit of 28,000 aircraft movements per annum. This has since been increased to 50,000 movements per annum, by 2019, by an appeal by the airport to the Secretary of State. Farnborough International Airshow takes place every alternate year in early July.