Hearing loop system installed at Gatwick service desks

Your Service Centre Gatwick, in partnership with Skybreak, has installed its first hearing loop at their customer service desks, located in the South Terminal Zone J & North Terminal Zone D at Gatwick Airport.

The portable hearing loop and visible signage has been installed at the prominent customer service desks since the team at Your Service Centre Gatwick enrolled in a disability awareness session with Enhance UK.

David Williams, Enhance UK said: “As part of their Disability Awareness training provided by the disability led charity, Enhance the UK, Your Service Centre has installed Portable Induction Hearing Loop System for hearing aid users at both their Gatwick North and South service desks. As a profoundly deaf cochlear and hearing aid user I tested and evaluated the portable loop systems at both service desks. I found the systems working very effectively and enhanced communication My colleague and I from Enhance the UK were most impressed with the way the staff at Your Service Centre, who attended the Disability Awareness training, were keen to use their newly acquired knowledge in assisting disabled travellers at Gatwick Airport.”

The portable hearing loop installed at Your Service Centre Gatwick is fully compliant for Equality Act and CQC Compliance and is readily available in a matter of seconds, through a one touch button and high performance microphone, enabling passengers to switch their hearing loop to the ‘T’ position.

Simon Grist, Compliance Manager at Your Service Centre Gatwick, said: “With our easy to find locations on the terminal concourses at Gatwick Airport, it is essential our facilities and services are accessible to all. We decided to enroll our staff on the disability awareness training with Enhance UK and invite them to verify our portable hearing loop to ensure we were delivering our promise to passengers travelling through Gatwick Airport.”

Record-breaking February for Gatwick

Gatwick experienced its busiest-ever February last month.

The number of passengers passing through the airport was just shy of the three-million mark – 9.9% more than February 2016.

Long-haul services continue to be the driver of passenger growth with numbers up 20.3% last month compared to the same period last year.

Valentine’s Day had an impact on passengers: Dubai, the airport’s most popular long-haul destination in February, saw an 8% increase in passenger traffic.

North Atlantic routes were extremely popular in February, with passenger numbers to New York, Los Angeles and Toronto up by 66%, 90% and 172% respectively.

Gatwick Airport, Chief Executive Officer, Stewart Wingate said: “Gatwick’s February passenger figures demonstrate the confidence we are witnessing from our passengers, with travel still high priority following the Brexit referendum, with passenger numbers +10% on February 2016.

“Our booming long-haul growth, reflects our passengers’ response to our established and growing line-up of long-haul destinations. In the next three weeks alone British Airways start their new route to Oakland, San Francisco and Virgin Atlantic to Varadero, Cuba. Meanwhile, Cathay Pacific’s existing route to Hong Kong will be going daily this summer.”

New Starbucks opens at Gatwick

A new Starbucks outlet has opened at Gatwick Airport’s South Terminal.

The store will serve Starbuck’s full range of coffees and offer a menu designed to meet the needs of travelling customers, including delicious Breakfast Hot Boxes.

Simon Smith, CEO of SSP UK said: “We’re delighted to have been chosen to operate a fantastic new Starbucks coffee shop in the newly developed South terminal area at Gatwick, and to be building on our successful relationship with one of the UK’s most prestigious airports.”

To celebrate the opening, the store will be running specialist coffee tastings lead by Starbucks Coffee Masters throughout the opening period.

PRM union workers vote on strike action

Workers at Gatwick are being balloted about strike action, the BBC reports.

Members of the Unite union, who are employed by The OCS Group and assist passengers with reduced mobility, will vote on strike action over a dispute about pay.

Union members will have from tomorrow, Thursday 23 February, until 9 March to vote.

Unite has warned of “significant strike action” if there is a yes vote.

Record-breaking January for Gatwick

Gatwick Airport is celebrating after experiencing its busiest-ever January.

A whopping 2.8 million passengers passed through the airport last month, 12.1% more than in January 2016, that’s an increase of 303,000 people!

Contributing to the increase in passengers was the boom in long-haul services which saw a 23.2% increase in numbers, much of this can be attributed to a 55.3% increase in passengers travelling on North American routes (Toronto +177%, Los Angeles +94% and New York +82%).

Domestic passenger numbers, including those travelling to the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, increased by 15.9% – the greatest increases were on the following routes: Belfast International +122%, Newquay +32%, Isle of Man +11% and Inverness +12%.

In a rolling 12-month period (February 2016 – January 2017), passenger numbers increased by 7.5% to 43,439,800, when compared to the previous 12-months (February 2015 – January 2016).

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 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 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.”