Gatwick will continue plans for expansion even if rival Heathrow gets the green light from the government, according to a spokesperson for the airport.

The West Sussex airport insists it’s “ready to deliver” a second runway with Heathrow “likely to fail” even if they get the nod from the government.

Prime Minister Theresa May told the Conservative Party conference last week that a long-awaited decision on airport expansion will be made shortly. She has been told there will be enough parliamentary backing to approve plans for a third runway at Heathrow despite the threat of legal action.

“Gatwick would be standing ready to deliver the new (second) runway as, should Heathrow get the green light, it is likely to fail as it has several times before,” the spokesman told the Press Association.

“A decision on next steps will be taken after the Government announcement on new runway capacity. While Gatwick does not rule out launching legal action, other groups have already said they would if Heathrow expansion is green-lighted.”

The Gatwick spokesman added that the airport will attempt to maximise the use of its existing runway.

“Gatwick would continue to improve efficiency until it reaches 100 per cent capacity,” he said.

“One area it would be looking to grow would be its long-haul route network. Having put on 20 new long-haul routes in 2015 alone, Gatwick is expecting to grow the total long-haul routes it offers above the 51-strong network it currently has.”

The Davies Commission recommended in July last year that a third runway should be built at Heathrow. Other shortlisted options are extending the airport’s existing northern runway or building a second runway at Gatwick.

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