Gatwick is autism-friendly

In a first for a UK airport, Gatwick has become an Autism Friendly airport.

The airport was awarded the National Autistic Society’s Autism Friendly Award in recognition of the procedures the airport has put in place the ensure that autistic travelers receive the same warm welcome as everybody else.

Procedures include:

    • Clear and accessible information for autistic passengers about the airport and the assistance available
    • Staff training so that staff are better able to assist autistic passengers
    • The introduction of the discreet hidden disability lanyard
    • Introducing Autism Champions.

Speaking about the award, the National Autistic Society Chief Executive Mark Lever said: “Autistic people and their families want to access the same opportunities others often take for granted, and this includes holidays and travel. But many rely on routines to make sense of an often confusing world and can find the busy and unpredictable airport and flight environment distressing and disorientating.

“So we are delighted that Gatwick Airport has put so much effort into improving this situation and have achieved our prestigious Autism Friendly Award.  What particularly impressed us is the care they continue to take to incorporate the feedback of autistic people and their families to help improve the service they offer to them and other customers with hidden disabilities. Helpful guidance and information specific to the needs of autistic travellers is available on their website and Gatwick staff will receive our autism training. This means that at every stage of the flight process, from check-in to boarding, staff will be aware of autism and will be able to offer appropriate support and advice.

“We hope that many more major airports will follow Gatwick’s inspiring example.”

Gatwick taxis go green

Gatwick Airport’s official taxi company is going green.

Airport Cars Gatwick, which has been operating at the airport for more than five years, plans to replace all its taxis with electric or hybrid alternatives by 2020 – a first for any UK airport. The move is expected to reduce carbon emissions by 75%.

The company, which currently has 250 cars, will begin trialing electric and hybrid vehicles over the next few months before beginning the replacement of its current cars.

Another record-breaking month at Gatwick

Gatwick Airport is celebrating after experienceing a record-breaking September when 4.3 million passengers passed through the airport – a 6.9% increase on the same period last year.

Ever optimistic of receiving planning permission for a second runway, the airport hopes that the increasing number of Gatwick passengers – 42.3 million in the past 12 months – will further emphasise the need for another runway and show how inaccurate the Airport Commission’s forecast for Gatwick is.

According to the Airport Commission’s report, Gatwick isn’t expected to reach the 42 million passenger mark until 2030. Gatwick has surpassed this 14 years ahead of schedule.

Contributing to the September passenger numbers were a 58.5% increase in North Atlantic traffic (Toronto +135%, Vancouver +114% and Los Angeles +50%) and a 14.8% increase in passengers travelling to Ireland. Average load factors were 87%, while cargo growth increased by 17.4%.

Gatwick Chief Executive Stewart Wingate, said: “Gatwick’s continued record-breaking growth shows we can deliver for Britain. We are already decades ahead of predictions on passenger and long haul growth and the demand for expansion at Gatwick is clear to see.

“Airport expansion has failed to get off the ground in the past because of insurmountable obstacles such as the air quality and noise impacts that make Heathrow undeliverable. It is time for a new solution. For the first time in this decades-long debate, Gatwick has demonstrated that it can deliver all of the economic benefits at a dramatically lower environmental impact.

“Gatwick gives the Government the certainty of a competitive solution which keeps costs and impacts low while laying the foundations of an economy that works for everyone.”

Next arrives at Gatwick

Retailer Next has announced it is to open its largest airport store at Gatwick’s South Terminal this September.

The 1,850 sq ft shop will offer men’s and ladies’ ranges, focusing on summer clothing.

Next’s arrival at Gatwick was prompted by a Gatwick survey that showed the retailer was one of the most in-demand retailers passengers wanted to see at the airport.

Gatwick passengers face most delays

Oops, it’s not all good news for Gatwick.

Passenger numbers may indicate the airport needs a second runway, but Gatwick passengers face the most flight delays in the UK, the BBC reports.

Analysing Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) data from January 2015 to March 2016, the BBC found that, on average, Gatwick passengers faced delays of 18 minutes per flight.

The worst reported service for delays at Gatwick was Thomson Airways’ Gatwick to Chambéry, flights were, on average, delayed by 56 minutes.

The services with the worst delays was PIA’s Manchester to New York JFK flights which were an average of 88 minutes late.

Gatwick sees busiest-ever month

The records are tumbling at Gatwick after the airport reported that July was its busiest-ever month in its 80-year history.

4,621,000 passed through the airport last month, an increase of 6.9% when compared with July 2015.

Contributing to the increase was a whopping 49.9% increase in North Atlantic in passengers, while passengers travelling to Ireland rose by 20.3% on the same period in 2015.

Domestic passengers, other long-haul and European scheduled also saw increases of 3.3%, 3.7% and 4.7% respectively.

With load factors of 90%, air transport movements up by 3.5% and cargo up by 18.4%, Gatwick bosses must surely believe the airport has demonstrated it’s more than ready for a second runway?

Gatwick expects busiest summer ever

Gatwick Airport is expecting its busiest ever summer with an estimated 8 million people predicted to pass through the airport between 22 July and 4 September – an increase of 6.6% on summer 2015.

The number of holidaymakers flying on long-haul services is expected to be up by 19% on last summer with the most popular long-haul destination being Orlando, followed by Dubai.

The top 10 long-haul summer destinations are:

  1. Orlando
  2. Dubai
  3. Toronto
  4. Cancun
  5. New York
  6. Vancouver
  7. Bridgetown
  8. Las Vegas
  9. Montego Bay
  10. Calgary

The top 10 short-haul summer destinations are:

  1. Barcelona
  2. Malaga
  3. Palma De Mallorca
  4. Dublin
  5. Faro
  6. Alicante
  7. Amsterdam
  8. Madrid
  9. Tenerife
  10. Belfast

The busiest day for departures this summer is Friday 29 July, while the busiest day for arrivals is Sunday 21 August. Overall though, the busiest day for the airport is expected to be Monday 14 August.

Wherever you’re heading to this summer, make sure you allow plenty of time to pass through security and to get to your gate. And if you’re flying with easyJet’s, don’t forget the airline’s new 30-minute deadline for arriving at the gate.

Gatwick sees 36 months of consecutive passenger growth

In the space of three years Gatwick has gone from handling 34 million passengers to fast-approaching 41 million.

This March saw more than 3.1 million passengers pass through Gatwick, an increase of 5.8% on March 2015, and marking 36 months of consecutive passenger growth.

Gatwick’s expanding long-haul market contributed to the increase in passengers – North Atlantic passenger numbers increased by 19.3% with Los Angeles flights seeing a 62.8% increase in passengers, Toronto passengers rose by 60.3% and Vancouver’s by 35.8%.

Passengers flying to Irish destinations increased by 15.4%, while European scheduled passengers were up 7.9%, at the expense of European chartered which fell by 11.4%.

In a rolling 12-month period (April 2015 – March 2016), passengers were up 5.5% when compared to the previous 12-month period (April 2014 – March 2015).

With the introduction of 20 new long-haul destinations this summer, the airport can only expect to see passenger numbers increase more than ever, further cementing its argument that it needs a second runway.

Gatwick charity partners announced

Gatwick Airport has announced two charities as its partners for the next two years.

St Catherine’s Hospice has been unveiled as the airport’s local charity, while Cancer Research UK is Gatwick’s national charity partner.

St Catherine’s Chief Executive Giles Tomsett said: “I’d like to thank everyone at Gatwick for voting for St Catherine’s Hospice as its local charity partner. We are really excited to be working with Gatwick and know this partnership will make a real difference to our patients and those close to them.

“Each year we care for more than 2,000 people from across East Surrey and Mid Sussex as they face a terminal illness and this is only made possible thanks to the support we receive from the local community.”

Busy Easter expected at Gatwick

It’s going to be very busy at Gatwick Airport this Easter with around 2.2 million passengers expected to pass through the airport between 25 March and 10 April.

Passenger numbers are expected to be 5 percent up on last year, and more than half a million (580,000) are expected during the Easter weekend alone.

The top 10 most popular destination this Easter are:

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