Gatwick continues to see growth in passenger numbers

Gatwick Airport is continuing to see an increase in passenger numbers with the announcement that passenger numbers were up 5.1% last month when compared with March 2013.

The airport saw more than 2.7 million passengers pass through Gatwick last month, an increase of 131,500 passengers on the previous March.

Contributing to the increase were an 11.4% rise in European scheduled passengers and a 13.1% increase in other long haul, although European charter and North Atlantic passenger numbers fell by 19.5% and 21.7% respectively.

In a rolling 12-month period (1 April 2013 – 31 March 2014), Gatwick has seen an overall increase in passenger numbers of 4.8% (1,627,200 passengers) compared with 1 April 2012 – 31 March 2013.

Speaking about the increase in passengers, Stewart Wingate, London Gatwick Chief Executive, said, “This has been a successful and exciting year for Gatwick that has seen steady growth, the completion of spending over £1 billion on improving the passenger experience and offering new routes that satisfy the demands of business and leisure travellers.

“These successes only add to the obvious case for expansion at Gatwick. A new runway could be delivered at Gatwick more cost effectively than at Heathrow, with significantly less environmental impact. It would also provide the connections and economic benefits the UK needs much more quickly.”

Gatwick prepared for a busy MaltEaster getaway

Gatwick is expecting a busy Easter period with around 1.8 million passengers expected to pass through the airport over the holiday period.

Although the school holidays are staggered this year – some schools broke up on Friday, 4 April, while others in the North break up on Friday, 11 April – Gatwick saw its busiest day of the holidays for departures yesterday when around 62,000 passengers flew out of the airport.

If you’re passing through Gatwick this Easter, look out for the Easter activities the airport has lined up, including:

  • Circus-themed fun and card making on Friday 11 April
  • On 16 April (4-9am) in the South Terminal departure lounge and 17 April (4-9am) in the North Terminal departure lounge, Maltesers will be giving away thousands of MaltEaster Bunnies – hmm, my favourite :)
  • On Good Friday, 18 April, Alice in Wonderland characters will be making an appearance.

GATCOM to meet this week, 10 April

The next meeting of GATCOM (Gatwick Airport Consultative Committee) will take place at 2pm this Thursday, 10 April, at the Sofitel Hotel, North Terminal, Gatwick Airport.

Among the items on the agenda for the meeting are: the key findings and recommendations of the review into the disruption caused on Christmas Eve by flooding and a power outage, and Gatwick Airport’s overview of the public consultation into its second runway options.

GATCOM meetings are open to the public and press.

Gatwick to Jeddah flights announced

flynas is set to launch flights between Gatwick and Jeddah next month.

Commencing 8 April 2014, the low-cost airline will operate three-times-weekly flights (Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays) using an A330 aircraft.

flynas launched in 2007 and has 27 aircraft, operating nearly 950 weekly flights on 26 destinations within and outside of Saudi Arabia.

easyJet adds five destinations from Gatwick

Hot on the heels of flybe’s departure from Gatwick, easyJet is set to capitalise on its new landing and take-off slots by launching five new destinations from Gatwick.

easyJet, which currently carries 2.3 million passengers per year from Gatwick, will take over flybe’s Gatwick slots on Sunday 30 March.

On the same day easyJet will begin flights to Brussels, Newcastle, Strasbourg and Paris Charles de Gaulle and Jersey.

All the new services will operate year round with the following schedules:

  • Brussels flights will operate twice daily Monday to Friday and one per day at weekends
  • Jersey flights will operate three times daily, seven days per week
  • Newcastle flights will operate twice daily Mondays to Fridays and Sundays
  • Paris flights will operate twice daily seven days per week
  • Strasbourg flights will operate four times per week on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.

easyJet is also doubling the number of flights it operates between Inverness and Gatwick.

As a result of the new services, easyJet expects to see an extra 800,000 passengers using the airline at Gatwick.

Hugh Aitken, easyJet’s UK Commercial Manager said: “By adding key European cities like Brussels, Paris and Strasbourg, easyjet can ensure that business travellers using London Gatwick have convenient and affordable links to key cities. With more than one hundred destinations and over 50 of Europe’s top cities within easy reach from London Gatwick, easyJet offers an unrivalled network. The addition of Newcastle and Inverness will also ensure that the UK remains well connected.”

Gatwick to Beijing flights begin this weekend

Air China’s new Gatwick to Beijing flights begin this weekend.

The four-times-weekly service (Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays) will commence on Sunday, 30 March, and operate alongside the airline’s Heathrow to Beijing service.

Gatwick to launch second runway consultation

Gatwick Airport is launching a six-week public consultation on its options for a second runway.

The consultation will provide more information about the airport’s proposals for the extra runway – should permission be given – and invites feedback on the options to assist the airport in refining its final proposal

The airport has three proposals for a new 3.4km-long runway:

  • Option 1 would see the second runway sited 585m south of the existing runway and the North Terminal expanded to cater for the expected passenger growth the new runway would bring. In the first option, one runway would be used for take offs, and one for landings. This option would offer the least amount of potential growth in passenger numbers.
  • Option 2 would see the second runway situated 1,045m south of the existing runway with a new terminal building built between the two runways to handled passenger growth. One runway would be used for take offs, and one for landings. Flight operations on each runway would be separate to each other. This second option would give the airport the potential to handle more passengers than option 1.
  • Option 3, which would give the airport the greatest possible growth, would see the runway sited in the same position as option 2, 1,045m south of the existing runway, with a new terminal building built between the two runways. The increased capacity would be down to mixed mode operations – both runways would handle take offs and landings and operate independently from one another.

A number of exhibition days have been organized to allow the public to see the proposals. The first of these is on Saturday, 5 April, from 11am – 3.30pm at The Hawth in Crawley, RH10 6YZ.

For more information and to see a full list of exhibition dates check out Gatwick’s newsletter

The public consultation runs from 4 April until 16 May 2014.

Gatwick passenger numbers increase in February

Gatwick is continuing to see growth in passenger numbers with a 7.7% increase in passengers through the airport in February.

The airport saw 2.3 million passengers pass through its terminals last month, 164,800 more than February 2013, all this in spite of the loss of US Airways services to North American.

Contributing to the increase in passengers was a 12.8% increase in European Scheduled passengers and a 15.6% rise in other long-haul passengers (Dubai, Sri Lanka and Thailand). Regions that saw a fall in passenger numbers were European Charter, down 13.2%, and North Atlantic passengers, down 14%.

Average load factors were 80.7%.

Even without a second runway, the future of Gatwick looks promising as Nick Dunn, Chief Financial Officer at London Gatwick, said, “The arrival of the Emirates A380 on its Gatwick-Dubai route and Air China’s reintroduction of direct flights to Beijing in March will further strengthen the growth Gatwick has seen in February on established routes to the Middle East, Far East and Indian Sub-Continent. However we also expect to sustain strong performance on routes to Europe – a market which will continue to dominate in terms of where passengers want to fly for both business and leisure from London.”

Gatwick to introduce reduced-price residents’ drop-off scheme

If you’re used to collecting friends and family from Gatwick Airport you know it’s no longer a matter of just turning up on the airport forecourt anymore. No, since the introduction of the Approved Operator scheme for meet and greet parking companies, Gatwick made its forecourt terminals drop-off only zones. If you need to collect anyone from the airport you need to enter the short-stay car park and pay £3 for the privilege!

Your £3 fee entitles you to wait for a maximum of 30 minutes. Although some may argue that there shouldn’t be a charge, £3 isn’t much if you’re only collecting your family from the airport once or maybe twice a year. However, if you regularly visit Gatwick to pick up family or friends, these £3 charges soon add up.

Now, Gatwick is considering a residents’ scheme that could see local drivers pay a reduced rate in advance: £20 for 50 entries, £80 for 250 entries.

Unveiled at last month’s GATCOM meeting, these reduced charges should ‘incentivise’ quick pick-ups, as to qualify, pick-ups must take a maximum of 10 minutes on “Express Pick up floors” in the short-stay car parks.

Residents living in the following postcodes look set to qualify for the discounted scheme: RH, GU, TN and BN.

The target date for introducing the residents’ discount scheme is June 2014 and residents can pre-register for the scheme here:

Need more time? Gatwick has already agreed to offer two hours free parking for waiting or pick-ups in the long-stay car parks.

Gatwick Express services cancelled this weekend 22-23 February

There will be more misery on the London to Gatwick rail line this weekend after Gatwick Express announced that it will not be operating any Gatwick Express services this weekend (22 – 23 February 2014) due to planned engineering works.

Passengers with tickets for Gatwick Express this weekend can use their tickets on Southern trains instead.