Ryanair calls on UK Government to scrap APD

Ryanair has called on the UK Government to scrap Air Passenger Duty (APD) for all air passengers.

The airline claims that the VAT received from additional tourist spending would far outweigh any revenue lost by axing the tax.

Since the Irish Government axed its own APD in April 2014, Ryanair has launched 21 new routes to/from Dublin, Knock and Shannon airports, which, the airline claims, will this year increase passenger numbers travelling through the Irish airports by 1.7m.

British Airways to move all Gatwick flights to South Terminal

Following a strategic review of airport operations, Gatwick Airport has announced its two largest airlines will consolidate their operations to single terminals.

easyJet will switch all operations to the North Terminal, while British Airways will operate all its flights to and from the South Terminal.

In the South Terminal, in addition to the improvements already seen, BA passengers will also see an upgraded check-in zone and a brand new Premium lounge.

Lynne Embleton, Director of Strategy and Gatwick, British Airway’s said: “This is an exciting opportunity for British Airways and our customers. The South Terminal has recently received significant investment to its security area and departure lounge, and we will be working with Gatwick to provide our customers with a new check-in area and lounge. The South Terminal also has direct access to trains that run to and from central London.”

Stewart Wingate, Gatwick’s CEO, said: “This move is a major milestone on our journey to become one of the world’s most efficient airports. We look forward to having all our airlines operating out of single terminals so both our passengers and airlines can benefit from a more streamlined operation and state-of-the-art facilities.

“Our growth plans are transforming Gatwick, and in addition to the investment we are currently making, we will build the worlds’ most efficient two runway airport if we win the right to expand.”

easyJet to move all Gatwick flights to North Terminal

easyJet has announced it will switch all its flights to Gatwick’s North Terminal in 2016.

The announcement came as Gatwick Airport revealed plans to simplify airline operations and ease passenger journeys by restricting airlines to a single terminal.

EasyJet passengers are set to benefit from a raft of improvements scheduled for the North Terminal, including

  • a terminal extension
  • a brand-new £36m check-in area
  • the largest self-service bag drop in the world
  • a £30m investment in the security area, which will be able to process 5,000 passengers per hour
  • a new departure lounge
  • 30,000 sq ft of new retail space
  • a refurbished arrivals area.

Commenting on the consolidation Carolyn McCall, easyJet CEO said: “As our largest base Gatwick is of huge importance to easyJet both strategically and for the millions of our passengers who travel through the airport every year. Moving to one terminal creates the opportunity for easyJet and Gatwick to plan and deliver an improved experience for our passengers always delivering on our ambition to make travel easy and affordable for all of our customers.  Our shared ambition is for Gatwick to be both our biggest and best airport.

“Alongside the consolidation to one terminal we also plan to continue to grow at Gatwick through increasing our destinations, further improving our schedule and by deploying larger aircraft as we replace smaller A319s with 180 seat A320s and, from 2017, A320Neos.”

No Gatwick Express trains this Sunday 25 January

Gatwick Express has announced there will be no Gatwick Express trains this Sunday, 25 January 2015.

Engineering works between London Victoria and Streatham Common will result in a reduced number or rail lines.

Passengers should use Southern trains instead – predicted journey times are 50 – 52 minutes on Sunday.

Norwegian launches Gatwick to Kefalonia flights

Low-cost airline, Norwegian has announced the launch of a new destination from Gatwick.

Flights to the Greek island of Kefalonia will commence on 18 April and operate weekly, on Saturdays.

Speaking about the launch of the new destination, Thomas Ramdahl, the airline’s Chief Commercial Officer said, “We see that our UK customers appreciate Norwegian’s large route network, low fares, new aircraft, free inflight WiFi and friendly service on board. We are pleased to offer Kefalonia as a new destination from London.”

CAA releases flight punctuality data

Data just released by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) show that a quarter of all scheduled flights at UK airports were delayed in the third quarter of 2014 (July to September).

The CAA monitored 381,000 scheduled and 30,000 charter flights at 10 UK airports: Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Luton and London City, Manchester, Edinburgh, Birmingham, Glasgow and Newcastle, during the July to September period.

Overall, at the London airports, Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Luton and London City, 73% of scheduled flights were on time, compared with 79% in the same period in 2013.

At the five other UK airports monitored, Manchester, Edinburgh, Birmingham, Glasgow and Newcastle, scheduled flight punctuality was down from 82% to 79% when compared with 2013.

On average, monitored scheduled flights were delayed by 14 minutes – an increase of two minutes when compared to the third quarter of 2013.

The overall on-time performance for charter flights at the 10 UK airports was 71%, down 8% on the third quarter of 2013. The average delay of a charter flight was 18 minutes – two minutes longer than in the third quarter of 2013.

An ‘on-time’ flight is defined as departing or arriving at a UK airport either early or up to 15 minutes late.

Vietnam Airlines to switch to Heathrow

Vietnam Airlines’ Gatwick flights to Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City are set to move to Heathrow this summer.

According to Airlineroute.net, the flights will move from Gatwick to Heathrow from 30 March 2015.

Vietnam Airlines first launched its Gatwick to Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City flights in December 2011

Reduced Gatwick Express services this weekend

Rail engineering works this weekend – Saturday 17 and Sunday 18 January – will result in reduced Gatwick Express services throughout the weekend.

Saturday 17 January 2015

Trains will operate at the following times, although early morning and late night services may see varied departure times.

  • Trains depart Victoria at 29 and 59 minutes past the hour
  • Trains depart Gatwick Airport at 20 and 50 minutes past the hour.

Sunday 18 December 2015

With journey times of up to 40 minutes, trains will operate at the following times:

  • Victoria to Gatwick Airport, trains will depart at 00 and 30 minutes past each hour
  • Gatwick Airport to Victoria, trains will depart at 20 and 50 minutes past each hour.

2014 Gatwick passenger numbers top 38 million

Gatwick passenger numbers are fast approaching the 40 million per year mark.

Figures just released by the airport show that passenger numbers topped 38.1 million in 2014, an increase of 7.6% when compared with 2013.

The main contributing factors to the growth in passenger numbers were a 12% increase in European scheduled passengers and a 12.1% increase in other long haul, while the launch of low-cost long-haul flights to New York and Los Angeles saw a 2.8% rise in North America passengers.

December 2014 passenger numbers rose by 8% on the previous December, with passenger increases of 11.4% in European scheduled, 14.6% rise in North Atlantic, and a 12.1% increase in other long haul.

December’s passenger increase marks the airport’s 22nd month of consecutive passenger growth.

WSCC to discuss Gatwick runway proposals at two meetings

West Sussex County Council has organized two meetings to debate a possible second runway at Gatwick Airport.

On Wednesday, 14 January, West Sussex County Council’s Environmental and Community Services Select Committee will meet to discuss their official response to the option for an extra Gatwick runway.

The WSCC meeting will start at 10:30am at the County Hall in Chichester and will be broadcast live via a webcast: http://www.westsussex.public-i.tv/core/portal/home

The agenda for the meeting can be downloaded here http://www2.westsussex.gov.uk/ds/cttee/ecs/ecs140115age.pdf

Next Monday, 19 January, a full council meeting will be held so that all council members can discuss the authority’s response to the proposals before the Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport takes the final decision on the response.

Pieter Montyn, West Sussex County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, said, “Since the consultation launched in November we have been encouraging people to take part in it and make their views known.

“We know there is significant opposition to expanding Gatwick but we also know that the economic benefits for the county would be huge.

“It’s important that all members of the council are given the opportunity to discuss and debate how we plan for either scenario (a new Gatwick runway or not) before we make an official response.”