Record-breaking November at Gatwick

Passenger numbers are still booming at Gatwick with a record 2.8 million passengers passing through the airport last month – 7.3% up on November 2015.

While passenger numbers saw an increase, November’s cargo volumes also rose, up by 12% on the same period last year.

The airport’s increasing long-haul services – up by 20% last month – has helped the airport to its busiest-ever November.

In a rolling 12-month period, passenger numbers are heading steadily towards the 43 million mark – Gatwick handled 42.7 million passengers between December 2015 and November 2016, up 6.4% on the previous 12 months.

With Thomas Cook’s new Cape Town service launching this month and Cathay Pacific’s announcement that, from June, it is increasing its Hong Kong flights to daily – up from four times weekly – Gatwick passenger numbers are surely set to continue their upward spiral.

Busy Christmas expected at Gatwick

According to figures released by Gatwick, the airport is in for its busiest Christmas, all thanks to the holiday falling on a weekend.

The airport is expecting 34% more passengers to pass through the airport on Christmas Eve, while New Year’s Eve passenger traffic is expected to be 32% more than last year.

Overall, passenger numbers are expected to be up by more than 10% on Christmas 2015.

The busiest day of the holiday period is expected to be Friday 23 December when passenger numbers are expected to be up by 18%, while Christmas day, usually the quietest day, is expected to see passenger numbers up by 25% on last year.

Top ten Christmas long-haul destinations

  1. Dubai
  2. Bridgetown
  3. Orlando
  4. New York
  5. Toronto
  6. Cancun
  7. Las Vegas
  8. Montego Bay
  9. Los Angeles
  10. Cape Town

Top ten Christmas short-haul destinations

  1. Dublin
  2. Geneva
  3. Barcelona
  4. Amsterdam
  5. Belfast
  6. Madrid
  7. Tenerife
  8. Copenhagen
  9. Milan
  10. Malaga

Gatwick gains more Hong Kong flights

Cathay Pacific has today announced it is expanding hits Gatwick to Hong Kong services.

From June 2017, the airline’s four-times-weekly Gatwick to Hong Kong flights, which launched in September, will be increased to a daily service.

Gatwick is busiest station in South East

Gatwick Airport station is the busiest in the South East according to the Office of Rail and Road which has just release estimates of station entries and exits for the period 1 April 2015 to 31 March 2016.

Surprise, surprise, Gatwick Airport station is busier than Brighton station, just pipping the South Coast station by 700,000 passengers.

While it will come as no surprise that London has the busiest stations in the UK – Waterloo handled the most passengers in 2015-16 – excluding London stations, Gatwick is the sixth busiest train station in the UK, behind Glasgow Central, Birmingham New Street, Leeds, Manchester Piccadilly, and Edinburgh.

Gatwick rail passengers face severe disruption this Christmas

If you’re planning to travel to Gatwick by train over the Christmas period do be aware you could face severe disruption due to industrial action planned by union members.

In addition to a current overtime ban by members of the ASLEF train drivers union, there will be strikes on the following days affecting Southern and Gatwick Express services:

  • Tuesday 6 to Thursday 8 December – RMT conductors’ strike
  • Tuesday 13 and Wednesday 14 December – ASLEF & RMT drivers’ strike
  • Friday 16 December – ASLEF & RMT drivers’ strike
  • Monday 19 to Tuesday 20 December – RMT conductors’ strike (previously planned for 22-24 December)
  • Saturday 31 December to Monday 2 January – RMT conductors’ strike
  • Monday 9 to Saturday 14 January – ASLEF & RMT drivers’ strike

Southern expects there will be no services operating on drivers’ strike days.

Although other operators’ services will not be affected, trains on these services are expected to be much busier.

The latest information can be found here: http://www.southernrailway.com/your-journey/strike/travel-advice-for-aslef-overtime-ban/

Gatwick airlines in terminal move

British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and easyJet are moving terminals in January.

Dates and airline details are as follows:

  • British Airways
    11 January, from this date BA’s 2272/3 New York (JFK) flights will operate from the South Terminal.
    19 January, BA’s 2613/2 Naples services will operate from the South Terminal.
    25 January, all British Airways flights will operate from the South Terminal.
  • easyJet
    From 24 January, all easyJet flights will operate from Gatwick’s North Terminal.
  • Virgin Atlantic
    From 24 January, all Virgin Atlantic flights will operate from the North Terminal.

Gatwick wins Dementia Innovation Award

Gatwick Airport and its special assistance provider, OCS, have won the Dementia Innovation Award – part of the Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Friendly Communities initiative – for the successful introduction of a hidden disability lanyard.

The airport, which is committed to becoming an internationally recognized dementia-friendly airport, has ensured that every member of its assistance team has had Dementia training.

More than 3,000 request for hidden disability lanyards have been received since their introduction. The lanyards give support staff discreet signals that the passenger, a family member or carer, requires assistance.

Alzheimer’s Society’s Chief Executive, Jeremy Hughes, said: “Dementia is the biggest health and social care issue facing our society and there’s no question that it has a profound and devastating impact for many – but the actions of Gatwick and the OCS Group and others like them are helping to raise better awareness, break down stigma and make our communities more dementia-friendly.

“What makes our winners so remarkable is the way they use their imagination, energy and enthusiasm to inspire others. Gatwick and the OCS Group have gone that extra mile to make a bigger difference in their community for people with dementia and they will inspire others to follow their example in all walks of life.”

Gatwick to Vancouver flights announced

Air Canada has announced it is to operate a three-times-weekly service between Vancouver and Gatwick next summer.

Flights will launch on 8 June 2017 using a Boeing 767-300 aircraft and be operated by Air Canada Rouge on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

This will be the second Gatwick service that Air Canada Rouge will operate next summer, the other being the previously announced Gatwick to Toronto flights.

AOA responds to Autumn Statement

The Airport Operators Association (AOA) – the trade association representing UK airports – has issued a statement highlighting its disappointment at the failure of the Chancellor to cut Airport Passenger Duty (APD) in his Autumn Statement.

AOA Chief Executive Darren Caplan said: “It is disappointing that the Chancellor has failed to seize the opportunity to cut Air Passenger Duty today and demonstrate that the UK is open for business by doing so. The UK’s APD is one of the highest air taxes in the world and with our nearest neighbours either charging nothing or less than half of what the UK levies, it harms our global competitiveness.

“The AOA will continue to make the case that APD is unfair on families and is a tax on the UK’s global competitiveness and connectivity. The vast majority of tourism and business travellers, and those visiting friends and family, travel to and from the UK by air, with 40% imports and exports by value carried with them in the belly hold of planes. APD therefore holds the UK back from realising its full economic potential.

“Halving APD would have sent out a signal internationally and encouraged airlines to schedule more routes to the UK and fly more frequently on existing routes, boosting the UK’s connectivity. We urge the Government to cut APD as a matter of urgency and by doing so open up new trading opportunities, including with emerging markets.

“We note that the Government has published a summary of responses to its consultation on how to support regional airports in England from the potential effects of APD devolution but has not announced its preferred course of action. The AOA is clear that a cut in APD anywhere in the UK should be matched, immediately, by a cut everywhere, so that no parts of the country are disadvantaged in any way. We call on the Treasury to publish a plan that sets out how and when this can be delivered.”

The UK is one of only six EU countries that imposes aviation taxes.

Disruption on London to Gatwick rail services 20 November

If you plan to travel between Gatwick and London on Sunday 20 November, please be aware that, due to engineering works, most rail lines between London Victoria and Clapham Junction will be closed.

As a result, there will be no Gatwick Express trains and no services to the airport from London Victoria Station.

A replacement bus service will operate between Victoria and Clapham Junction, although travellers are advised to use London Bridge to Gatwick Airport services.

More information: http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/service_disruptions/currentAndFuture.aspx