Croydon has put its backing firmly behind Gatwick’s bid for a second runway in a move that could bring thousands of jobs.

Gatwick’s main competition in securing permission comes from Heathrow, which hopes to build a third runway.

At the Develop Croydon Conference yesterday, council leader Councillor Tony Newman took to the stage with the airport’s chief executive Stewart Wingate to sign a memorandum of understanding.

This agreement means Croydon Council and the airport will be working together to push for the benefits a second runway could bring to the area.

The expansion could bring 22,000 new airport-related jobs and 14,000 others in the south London area, many in Croydon.

Mr Wingate said: “We are batting for the airport and batting for the region to say that expanding the airport is the best solution.

“Our relationship with Croydon has started to thrive and flourish.

“When you look at the second runway you realise that no area is as important as Croydon.

“If people want to take advantage of jobs at the airport it is a good opportunity to get a job where you are 14 minutes from your workplace.

“Croydon is really important in terms of getting more people into work in good quality jobs and this will have a catalytic effect.”

If built, Gatwick has promised to introduce a £3.75million apprenticeship fund, with emphasis going on finding places for Croydon residents.

The agreement says both parties will look to see how Croydon businesses will become suppliers to Gatwick, while the airport has promised £46.5million in a scheme to provide local authorities with £5,000 per new house built to help fund local infrastructure improvements.

The airport will work with Croydon Council to support the delivery of these new homes.

Coun Newman, leader of Croydon Council, said: “London’s new growth corridor starts in Croydon and runs through Gatwick to Brighton.

“Croydon is on the brink of Olympic-scale transformation, and just 15 minutes away by train, Gatwick can make a really important contribution to the regeneration and investment already under way in our borough.

“A second runway would bring huge benefits to our residents and businesses, as well as the wider region. It would create thousands of new jobs, boost businesses including Croydon’s growing tech city, and see further investment in the transport network.”