Reduced opening hours at No.1 Traveller this Christmas

No. 1 Traveller is advising of changes to its opening times over the Christmas period.

In Gatwick’s North Terminal, the lounge will be open from 04:00 – 22:00 on Christmas Eve, Boxing Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day; on Christmas Day it will be open from 06:00 to 20:00.

The Gatwick Spa in the North Terminal will be closed on Christmas Day and open from 08:00 – 18:30 on Christmas Eve, Boxing Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.

In the South Terminal, the lounge will be open from 04:00 – 22:00 on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.

dnata two-day strike at Gatwick averted

Great news for all you travellers out there, the planned two-day strike by dnata staff has been suspended.

Staff at Gatwick, Heathrow and Manchester airports were due to begin a two-day strike tomorrow over a pay deal, however, following an improved offer, the strike has been suspended.

During the next two weeks staff, who are members of Unite, are due to be balloted on the revised pay offer.

Unite regional officer Kevin Hall said: “Unite is pleased to confirm that strike action has been suspended following a revised offer which better reflects the contribution our members make to the company.”

Christmas Gatwick Express service changes

There will be timetable adjustments to the Gatwick Express service over the festive period.

Trains will operate half hourly from Saturday 20 December until Wednesday 24 December and then on Saturday 27, Monday 29 to Wednesday 31 December 2014, Friday 2 and Saturday 3 January 2015.

  • Trains will depart London Victoria on the hour and at 30 minutes past each hour
  • Trains will depart Gatwick Airport at 05 and 35 minutes past each hour.

A normal service will operate on Sunday 21 and 28 December and also on Thursday 1 and Sunday 4 January 2015.

On Christmas Day there will be no service, on Boxing Day, 26 December, trains also stop at East Croydon and will operate every half hour:

  • From Victoria Station, trains will depart at 00 and 30 minutes past each hour from 05:00 until 22:00
  • From Gatwick, trains will depart at 00 and 30 minutes past each hour from 6:00 until 23:00.

Strike threat to Gatwick, Heathrow and Manchester airports

Unite the union is calling on ground-handling company dnata to enter into talks to avoid a two-day strike next week at Heathrow, Manchester and Gatwick airports.

The call comes after a ballot of union members saw 83% vote in favour of strike action.

More than 460 members, based mainly at Heathrow, could strike for two days from Tuesday 23 December if dnata fails to negotiate a pay offer, which sees supervisors get a 4.5 percent increase, twice the amount other staff have been offered (2.25%)

dnata is one of Heathrow’s largest ground handlers at Heathrow, Manchester and Gatwick airports, employing check-in staff, aircraft push back drivers, loaders and HGV drivers.

Gatwick implements Amadeus’ cloud-based A-CDM

Gatwick Airport has become the first airport to implement Amadeus’ cloud-based Airport-Collaborative Decision Making Portal (A-CDM).

Gatwick joins other airports such as Munich, Paris Charles de Gaulle, Madrid and Zurich to adopt the A-CDM standard, however Gatwick has chosen to use cloud technology to speed up the implementation time – rolling out the Amadeus portal to 300 users in just 8 weeks.

A-CDM will enable Gatwick to handle 55 flights per hour and accommodate up to two million additional passengers.

The aim of the A-CDM standard is to bring the entire airport ecosystem (airport operators, airlines, ground handlers and air traffic management) together to operate more efficiently and transparently, sharing accurate information in a timely manner. This results in better air traffic management with fewer delays and increased capacity.

The Amadeus A-CDM Portal provides aggregated views of the status of airport operational activities based on real-time flight, passenger and other operational data. It can predict future flight problems over a three-to-four hour period, identifying which flights might be delayed and how they can be turned around faster to make sure they leave Gatwick on time, even if they arrived late. With accurate data at their disposal, airport stakeholders can make cooperative decisions to rapidly deal with operational issues.

Disruption to Gatwick Express Sunday 14 December 2014

Gatwick Express services face disruption this Sunday, 14 December 2014.

Engineering works will result in various line closures and a replacement bus service will be in operation from 00:30 to 06:30 between London Victoria and Gatwick Airport.

After 06:30, a half hourly service will operate at the following times:

  • Departing London Victoria on and at half past the hour
  • From Gatwick Airport trains will depart at 20 and 50 minutes past the hour.

Gatwick passenger numbers continue to grow

The number of passengers flying from Gatwick Airport is continuing to grow.

Figures just released by the airport show that the airport saw more than 2.4 million passengers pass through Gatwick in November – an increase of 5.8%, and the 21st month of consecutive growth.

Thanks to the airport’s ACDM-55 accreditation (Airport Collaborative Decision Making), Gatwick is now capable of handling 55 runway movements per hour. This process enabled Gatwick to handle an extra 168 flights in November, compared to November 2013.

The main destinations contributing to the passenger growth were: North Atlantic, which saw a 21.9% increase, European scheduled, which saw a 8% rise in numbers and other long-haul destinations, which saw a 6.6% rise.

In a rolling 12-month period (December 2013 to November 2014) passenger numbers were up 7.4% on the previous 12-month period – European scheduled and other long haul have seen the largest increases – 12% and 11.5% respectively.

The increase in passengers further supports Gatwick’s case for a second runway and Nick Dunn, Gatwick’s Chief Financial Officer, said: “Twenty-one months of growth across a range of airlines and destinations is another telling reminder of the benefits of greater competition between London airports. Being accredited for our efforts to create a more efficient runway is also a significant milestone for Gatwick.

“But greater competition and efficiency can only take us so far and with Gatwick already unable to meet demand across much of the year, we are fast approaching full capacity.

“Gatwick is the only airport that presents both a clear need for more capacity and a clear plan for a new runway that can actually be delivered. As we approach a crucial year in the expansion debate, Gatwick remains the obvious and only deliverable solution to meet the UK’s needs.”

Trading Standards issues Gatwick meet and greet warning

West Sussex Trading Standards Service is advising customers of meet and greet airport parking companies to check the small print this Christmas.

Trading Standards has received complaints from customers who have experienced thefts from their cars, damage to their vehicles and excess mileage put on the odometer while their car has been in the care of some unscrupulous companies.

The advice being given is:

  • Check the company websites and make sure you know who you are dealing with. Legally, companies need to provide their name and address details on websites. If contact address details are missing, be extra cautious and consider booking with a different provider
  • Consider using a credit card to make your booking if the cost is more than £100 – this will give you extra protection should something go wrong
  • Most reputable companies will complete paperwork highlighting any damage to the vehicle at the time you drop it off. Take photos of all 4 sides of your vehicle when dropping it off to help avoid any disputes regarding damage to your vehicle when you return from holiday
  • Make a note of the mileage reading on your car when you drop it off
  • Do not leave any valuables or money in your vehicle whilst you are on your travels.

Lionel Barnard, West Sussex County Council’s Cabinet Member for Residents’ Services with responsibility for trading standards said: “It’s important to say that the majority of people suffer a stress free experience when dealing with official and regulated meet and greet firms.

“There are so many things to arrange when you are going on holiday at Christmas time, any time for that matter, that it’s easy to look at car parking online and concentrate on price or availability rather than reading the small print.

“If you look closely some companies offering ‘meet and greet’ services do not have full contact details on their websites so you have no way of making contact if you have a complaint.

“In some cases claims of secure parking can actually mean a field or a street near to the airport.

“Our advice is to use the official airport car parking facilities or use a ‘meet and greet’ service provided by our ‘Buy With Confidence’ trading standards approved business.”

West Sussex Trading Standards operates the Buy With Confidence scheme (BWC), a trade approval scheme, where all members are vetted and approved by the service. In relation to meet and greet companies, BWC means that their parking compounds have been checked and are all secure.

Visit the BWC website to find out which meet and greet operators are part of BWC – Gatwick postcode is RH6 0NP (South Terminal)

The Gatwick Airport website has a list of Gatwick Approved operators. The meet and greet companies listed on the Gatwick Airport website will all be members of BWC and their parking compounds will also all have the Park Mark award.

Return of Gatwick to Kuala Lumpur flights?

Two and a half years after it ceased Gatwick to Kuala Lumpur flights, AirAsia X looks like it could reintroduce the service.

The airline, which scrapped the Kuala Lumpur flights just six months after launching them, has hinted it may be ready to reinstate them.

Tony Fernandes, the airline group’s chief executive, said on Twitter, “I am pleased to announce that the reopening of Kl London is definitely on the cards. Will be discussion with Boris Johnson next week.”

AirAsia X launched Gatwick to Kuala Lumpur flights in October 2011, but axed the service six months later blaming high fuel prices, Air Passenger Duty (APD) and the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) for its withdrawal.

Disruption to Gatwick Express services 30 November

Travelling to Gatwick on the Gatwick Express this Sunday?

Engineering works are set to affect services between London and Gatwick on Sunday 30 November.

The 00:30, 03:30, 04:30 Victoria to Gatwick services and the 00:50, 01:35, 04:35 Gatwick to Victoria services will be replaced by coach services.

From 05:00, services will operate half-hourly in both directions at

  • 00 and 30 minutes past each hour from London Victoria
  • 20 and 51 minutes past each hour from Gatwick