Gatwick Airport

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Gatwick Airport
Gatwick Airport logo.png
London Gatwick, 19 April 2011 - Flickr - PhillipC.jpg
WMO: 03776
Airport typePublic
OwnerIvy Holdco Limited.
OperatorGatwick Airport Limited
ServesLondon, United Kingdom
LocationCrawley, West Sussex
Hub forBritish Airways
Elevation AMSL203 ft / 62 m
Coordinates51°08′50″N 000°11′25″W / 51.14722°N 0.19028°W / 51.14722; -0.19028Coordinates: 51°08′50″N 000°11′25″W / 51.14722°N 0.19028°W / 51.14722; -0.19028
LGW is located in West Sussex
Location within West Sussex, England
Statistics (2012)
Passenger change 11-12Increase1.7%
Aircraft Movements256,987
Movements change 11-12Decrease1.6%
Sources: UK AIP at NATS[1]
Statistics from the UK Civil Aviation Authority[2]
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Gatwick Airport
Gatwick Airport logo.png
London Gatwick, 19 April 2011 - Flickr - PhillipC.jpg
WMO: 03776
Airport typePublic
OwnerIvy Holdco Limited.
OperatorGatwick Airport Limited
ServesLondon, United Kingdom
LocationCrawley, West Sussex
Hub forBritish Airways
Elevation AMSL203 ft / 62 m
Coordinates51°08′50″N 000°11′25″W / 51.14722°N 0.19028°W / 51.14722; -0.19028Coordinates: 51°08′50″N 000°11′25″W / 51.14722°N 0.19028°W / 51.14722; -0.19028
LGW is located in West Sussex
Location within West Sussex, England
Statistics (2012)
Passenger change 11-12Increase1.7%
Aircraft Movements256,987
Movements change 11-12Decrease1.6%
Sources: UK AIP at NATS[1]
Statistics from the UK Civil Aviation Authority[2]

Gatwick Airport [nb 1] (IATA: LGWICAO: EGKK) is located 3.1 mi (5.0 km) north of the centre of Crawley,[1] West Sussex, and 29.5 mi (47.5 km) south of Central London.[4] Also known as London Gatwick,[5] it is London's second largest international airport and second busiest by total passenger traffic in the United Kingdom after Heathrow.[6] Furthermore, Gatwick is Europe's leading airport for point-to-point flights[nb 2][7] and has the world's busiest single-use runway with up to 53 aircraft movements per hour in late-2012 and a maximum capacity of 55 movements per hour.[8][9] Its two terminals – North and South – cover an area of 98,000 m2 (1,050,000 sq ft) and 160,000 m2 (1,700,000 sq ft) respectively.[10]

In 2012, 34.2 million passengers passed through Gatwick.[11]

From 1978 to 2008, many flights to and from the United States used Gatwick because of restrictions on the use of Heathrow implemented in the Bermuda II agreement between the UK and the US.[12][13][14][15][16] US Airways, Gatwick's last remaining US carrier, ended service from the airport on 30 March 2013.[17] This leaves Gatwick without a scheduled US airline presence for the first time in 35 years.[18] The airport is a base for scheduled operators Aer Lingus, British Airways (BA), EasyJet, Monarch Airlines, Norwegian Air Shuttle and Virgin Atlantic, as well as charter airlines including Thomas Cook Airlines and Thomson Airways. Gatwick is unique amongst London's airports in having a significant airline presence representing each of the three main airline business models: full service, low/no frills and charter.[19] In its 2011/12 financial year,[nb 3] these respectively accounted for 33, 55 and 11% of total passenger traffic.[20]

BAA Limited and its predecessors, the British Airports Authority and BAA plc, owned and operated Gatwick continuously from 1 April 1966 until 2 December 2009.[21][22][23] On 17 September 2008, BAA announced it would sell Gatwick following a report by the Competition Commission into BAA's market dominance in London and the South East. On 21 October 2009, it was announced that an agreement had been reached to sell Gatwick to a consortium led by Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP), who also have a controlling interest in London City and Edinburgh[nb 4] airports, for £1.51 billion. The sale was formally completed on 3 December 2009. On this day, Gatwick's ownership passed from BAA to the GIP-led consortium.[24]


Gatwick Airport area as at about 1925 with current airport boundary in green outline.
The airport apron in 1973.
The airport apron in 1981 (note the increase in widebodied aircraft).
The airport control tower.

Airport infrastructure and airline operations[edit]




A PEOPLExpress Boeing 747 at the satellite pier of the South Terminal in June 1983. The North Terminal is under construction in the background


Inter-terminal transit track and Sofitel hotel. The North Terminal building is in the background
Gatwick's North Terminal building and transit station
The airport in 1984.


The Bridge to Pier 6 in the North Terminal opened in 2005


Inside the world's largest air passenger bridge at the North Terminal's Pier 6

Following the sale of the airport to GIP, Gatwick's new owners announced their intention to proceed with a previously agreed £1 billion investment programme to upgrade and expand the airport's existing infrastructure to transform the passenger experience.[107][108][109] It is hoped that this will firmly establish Gatwick as the airport of choice for air travellers whose journey begins and/or ends in London and other parts of South East England. According to Virgin Atlantic communications director Paul Charles, the prospect of offering much better facilities to Gatwick's airlines and passengers as a result of the change in ownership presents a long-term opportunity to leapfrog Heathrow in terms of airport infrastructure and passenger amenities.[110] It is expected that GIP will use its relationships to persuade new and existing airlines to consider launching additional routes from Gatwick, reinstating services suspended as a result of the global recession in the wake of the financial crisis that began in 2007 and Open Skies and/or expanding their existing flying programme from the airport in the near future.[109][111][112][113][114]



Gatwick handled 186,172 passengers during its first seven months of operation following the 1956–58 reconstruction. The number of passengers passing through the airport each year had grown to 368,000 by 1959 and 470,000 by 1960.[25][51]

Passenger numbers at Gatwick reached 1 million for the first time in the mid-1960s, with a record 1.4 million passing through the airport in the 1965/66 financial year.[nb 9][51][61] Gatwick welcomed 2 million passengers for the first time in the 1967/68 financial year[nb 10] and 3 million in the 1969/70 financial year,[nb 11] by which time British United Airways accounted for almost half of all passengers.[133][134]

By the early 1970s, 5 million passengers used Gatwick each year, with a record 5.7 million using the airport in the 1973/74 financial year.[nb 12] During that period, British Caledonian accounted for approximately half of all and three-quarters of scheduled passengers.[68]

Within a decade, annual passenger numbers doubled to 10 million. They doubled again to over 20 million by the late 1980s.[25][72][135][136]

By the turn of the millennium, Gatwick handled more than 30 million passengers annually.[25]

2000 onwards[edit]

Gatwick Airport Passenger Totals 2000–2012 (millions)
Updated: 17 March 2013.[2]
Number of Passengers[nb 13]Percentage ChangeNumber of Movements[nb 14]Freight (tonnes)
Source: UK Civil Aviation Authority[2]

34.2 million passengers passed through London Gatwick in 2012 representing an increase of 1.7% over the 33.7 million passengers using Gatwick in 2011. This figure was around 1 million short of the 35.2 million the airport handled in 2007, the peak year for annual passenger traffic.[11]

Amongst individual passenger traffic components, European scheduled, other long-haul[nb 15] and UK[nb 16] traffic recorded increases of 5, 4.2 and 2.6% to 18.52, 4.66 and 3.83 million passengers respectively over the corresponding figures for 2011. On the other hand, European charter,[nb 17] North Atlantic and Irish traffic saw decreases of 10.8, 5.2 and 0.6% to 4.08, 1.85 and 1.28 million passengers respectively over the corresponding figures for 2011.[11]

Compared with October 2012, October 2013 passenger numbers saw a 4.3% increase to over 3.1 million, representing 128,000 more passengers compared with the same year-earlier period. Amongst individual passenger traffic components, other long-haul[nb 15] European scheduled and Irish traffic recorded increases of 9, 8.1% and 2.2% to 430,400, 1.811 million and 112,600 passengers respectively. North Atlantic, European charter,[nb 17] and UK[nb 16] traffic saw decreases of 10.5, 7.1 and 2.2% to 147,000, 273,000 and 336,600 passengers respectively. Air transport movements increased by 4.3% to 22,003. Cargo volume decreased by 2.5% to 8,531 metric tonnes. Total Erupean passenger traffic included a 5.6% increase in traffic to European and North African destinations to over 2.3 million. This included an additional 100,000 passengers travelling on routes serving business destinations including Geneva, Luxembourg and Istanbul but 7,700 fewer passengers travelling on UK domestic routes[nb 16] as passengers lost as a result of the withdrawal of British Airways' Manchester route exceeded the additional 13,400 travelling on Aer Lingus's new Belfast route as well as the additional 3,200 travelling on EasyJet's new Isle of Man route. Leisure traffic to Sri Lanka and Africa as well as business traffic to Vietnam and the Middle and Far East, including connecting traffic via Dubai, accounted for the additional 35,500 passengers travelling to other long-haul[nb 15] destinations.. Average monthly load factors stood at to 81.7%.[137]

Gatwick today[edit]


South Terminal zone A check-in concourse

Gatwick Airport has two terminals, North and South. Both have shops and restaurants, landside and airside. Disabled passengers can travel through all areas. There are facilities for baby changing and feeding, and play areas and video games for children. Business travellers have lounges offering business facilities. On 31 May 2008, Virgin Holidays opened V Room, Gatwick's first dedicated lounge for leisure travellers. Use of this lounge is exclusive to Virgin Holidays customers flying from the airport to Orlando, Las Vegas and the Caribbean with sister airline Virgin Atlantic.[138][139] On 9 April 2009, a new independent pay-for-access lounge called No.1 Traveller opened in the South Terminal. There is also a conference and business centre. Furthermore, the airport has several on- and off-site hotels. These range from executive to a capsule hotel. The airport has Anglican, Catholic and Free Church chaplains. In addition, there is a multi-faith prayer room and counselling room in each terminal. A daily service is led by one of the chaplains. The prayer room is open to all faiths.[140]

South Terminal international arrivals concourse

The Civil Aviation Authority Safety Regulation Group is in Aviation House.[141] WesternGeco, a geophysical services company, has its head office and its Europe/Africa offices in the Schlumberger House,[142][143][144] a 124,000 sq ft (11,500 m2) building on the grounds of Gatwick Airport,[142][145] near the south terminal. WesternGeco had a 15-year lease on the building which was scheduled to expire in June 2008. In 2007, WesternGeco reached an agreement with its landlord, BAA Lynton, and extended its lease at Schlumberger House until 2016. Its initial rent was £2.1 million.[145] Fastjet Plc has its registered office and head office at Suite 2C in First Point at Gatwick Airport.[146]

From 1964 until 1985, British Airways Helicopters and its predecessor, BEA Helicopters, had their administrative and engineering base at Gatwick Airport South, the site of the original 1930s airport.[44] (During that time, the offices of BEA/British Airways Helicopters were located in The Beehive,[147] which was also an office location for Jersey Airlines, Caledonian Airways, Virgin Atlantic and GB Airways at other times.[148][149][150][151]) In 1968, British United Airways relocated its head office to Gatwick from Portland House in London.[152] After Caledonian Airways acquired British United Airways, the resulting airline, British Caledonian, had its head office at Gatwick.[153][154] When CityFlyer Express operated, the airline's head office was in the Iain Stewart Centre.[155] When Laker Airways and Tradewinds Airways operated, they had their head offices on the airport property.[156][157][158]

City Place Gatwick[edit]

Gatwick Airport has an office complex on the airport property, called City Place Gatwick.[159] The complex includes four buildings: The Beehive, a former terminal building;[34][35][36] 1 City Place (the former BT building); 2 City Place; and 3 City Place.[160] City Place was developed by BAA Lynton.[161] BDO International currently occupy offices at 2 City Place.[162] Companies that once had their head offices in buildings in the City Place offices complex include GB Airways (The Beehive), CP Ships (2 City Place) and BT Wholesale (1 City Place).[151][163][164][165] On 5 January 2012, Nestlé announced the relocation of its UK head office from Croydon to City Place Gatwick, where it now occupies the former BT Wholesale office at 1 City Place.[166][167]

Major airlines[edit]

In 2010, EasyJet, British Airways (BA), Thomson Airways, Monarch Airlines and Thomas Cook Airlines were Gatwick's five biggest airlines, in terms of passengers carried.[168] Amongst these, BA and EasyJet were its two dominant resident airlines. In late-2007, BA and EasyJet accounted for 25% and 17% of Gatwick's slots. The latter's share of slots subsequently rose to 24% as a result of its takeover of BA franchise carrier GB Airways, which accounted for 7% of slots (late-2007). The acquisition of GB Airways in March 2008 resulted in EasyJet becoming Gatwick's biggest short-haul operator accounting for 29% of short-haul passengers (ahead of BA's 23%)[169] and Gatwick's largest airline overall, with flights to 62 domestic and European destinations (at April 2008).[170] Following the launch of flights to Moscow Domodedovo on 18 March 2013, EasyJet will serve more than 100 routes from Gatwick,[171] using a fleet of 54 aircraft.[172] Gatwick is the airline's largest base, where its 14 million passengers per annum accounted for 38% of the airport's yearly total in 2012/13.[nb 18][172][173] This includes more than two million business travellers,[171] putting EasyJet firmly ahead of Gatwick's next biggest passenger-carrying airline, British Airways, whose 4.5 million passengers accounted for 14% of total passenger traffic in 2011/12.[nb 3][174][175]

British Airways aircraft on stand at the North Terminal's Pier 5

On 30 March 2008, airlines began down-sizing transatlantic operations at Gatwick due to the new EU-US Open Skies Agreement. Continental Airlines became the second transatlantic carrier – after American Airlines[176] – to pull out of Gatwick altogether, following its decision to transfer the seasonal Cleveland service to Heathrow from 3 May 2009.[177][178] The slots vacated by these moves, as well as by the collapse of Zoom, XL Airways UK and Sterling, were taken by EasyJet, Flybe, Norwegian Air Shuttle and Ryanair.

By late-2008, EasyJet's share of Gatwick slots had grown to about 26%,[179][180] while Flybe had become Gatwick's third-largest slot-holder accounting for 9% of the airport's slots, as well as its fastest-growing airline.[180][181][182] For the third consecutive year, the latter airline maintained its position as Gatwick's largest domestic operator, whose eight routes serving the airport from other destinations in the UK, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man carried 1.2 million passengers in its 2011/12 financial year.[nb 3][183] From a peak of 40% in 2001, BA's share of Gatwick slots declined by 50% to 20% by summer 2009.[180] By summer 2013, this had further declined to 16%.[184] By late-2011, EasyJet's share of Gatwick slots had further grown to 35%.[185] As of summer 2012, EasyJet controlled 45% of Gatwick's early morning peak time slots from 6am to 8.55am, as many as the airport's next five biggest users combined.[nb 19][186] Following Flybe's decision to pull out of Gatwick at the end of March 2014 – citing unsustainably high airport charges and the negative impact of successive, large increases in UK Air Passenger Duty as reasons – and sell its 25 pairs of daily slots[nb 20] at the airport to EasyJet for £20 million,[187][188] the latter's share of Gatwick slots is set to increase from 41% in summer 2013 to 47% by summer 2014, giving EasyJet almost three times as many slots as BA at Gatwick.[173][184]

Changing character of airport[edit]

South Terminal zone K check-in concourse

According to the evidence Flybe submitted at a Competition Commission hearing into BAA Limited's market dominance at the beginning of 2008, Gatwick's dynamics were changing rapidly as a result of recent changes in its traffic pattern. These were likely to transform the airport from a secondary intercontinental airline hub into a predominantly European and domestic operation feeding London and specifically the south London market.[189]

Since late-2011, Gatwick has attracted a number of new full-service airlines, including Air China, Caribbean Airlines, Garuda Indonesia,[nb 21] Swiss International Air Lines,[nb 22] Turkish Airlines and Vietnam Airlines. This forms part of the airport's strategy to get more higher-spending business travellers to use it to counterbalance its dependence on European low-cost and charter markets, as well as to increase year-round capacity utilisation by smoothing out peaks and troughs in slot usage. Gatwick's recent successes in persuading these airlines to [re-]launch routes to several important overseas destinations for business and leisure travel were also aided by non-availability of suitable slots at Heathrow. The addition of these airlines furthermore helps Gatwick partially compensate for the loss since 2008 of all its US carriers.[190][191][192]


Snow ploughs lined up at Gatwick in April 2012, with the Air Traffic Control Tower visible in the background

Gatwick operates as a single runway airport. It has two runways; however, the northern runway (08L/26R) can only be used when the main runway (08R/26L) is out of use, for example because of maintenance or an accident. The runways cannot be used at the same time because there is not enough separation between them, and during normal operation the northern runway is used as a taxiway.[25][92][93] The second runway was originally built as a taxiway and was gradually widened.[27]

Various aircraft at the North Terminal's Pier 4

The main runway operates with a Category III Instrument Landing System (ILS). The northern runway does not have an ILS and, when it is in use, arriving aircraft use a combination of Distance Measuring Equipment and assistance from the approach controller using surveillance radar, or where equipped and subject to operator approval, an RNAV (GNSS) Approach, which is also available for the main runway.[193] On all runways, considerable use is made of continuous descent approach to minimise environmental effects of incoming aircraft, particularly at night.[194]

Night flights are subject to restrictions.[195] Between 11 pm and 7 am the noisiest aircraft (rated QC/8 and QC/16) may not operate. In addition, between 11.30 pm and 6 am (the night quota period) there are three limits:


The airport is policed by the Gatwick District of Sussex Police. The district is responsible for policing the whole airport, including aircraft, and in certain circumstances, aircraft in flight. The 150 officers attached to this district include armed and unarmed officers, and community support officers for minor offences. The airport district counter man-portable surface-to-air missiles (MANPADS) by patrolling in and around the airport. A separate sub-unit has vehicle checks around the airport.[197]

Brook House, an immigration removal centre of the UK Border Agency was opened on 18 March 2009 by the then Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith.[198]

The airport is one of three UK airports to feature body scanners; initially, they are located in the main search areas of both the North and South terminals. Access to the airside areas of the airport (both internal and external areas) is controlled and maintained by the airports own team of security officers, regulated by the Department for Transport.

Airlines and destinations[edit]

Gatwick has two terminals: North and South. The South Terminal is Gatwick's older and busier terminal, and is also where the airport railway station is located. The following list includes all scheduled services to and from Gatwick Airport, as well as seasonal charter flights.[199]

Adria AirwaysSummer Seasonal: Ljubljana (begins 17 May 2014)North
Aegean AirlinesWinter seasonal: AthensSouth
Aer LingusBelfast-City, Dublin, KnockSouth
Afriqiyah AirwaysTripoliSouth
Air Arabia MarocCasablanca, TangierSouth
Air ChinaSeasonal:[200] Beijing-CapitalNorth
Air DolomitiSummer Charter: VeronaSouth
Air EuropaMadridSouth
Air Lituanica
operated by Small Planet Airlines
Seasonal: Palanga (begins 20 December 2013),[201] Vilnius (begins 20 December 2013)[201]South
Air MaltaMaltaSouth
Air OneCatania (begins 31 March 2014),[202] Palermo (begins 1 April 2014)[202]TBC
Air SerbiaSeasonal: BelgradeSouth
Air TransatToronto-Pearson
Seasonal: Calgary, Edmonton, Halifax, Montreal-Trudeau, Ottawa, Vancouver
Air ZimbabweHarareSouth
Aurigny Air ServicesGuernseySouth
BH AirSeasonal Charter: Burgas, Sofia, VarnaSouth
British AirwaysAlgiers, Alicante, Amsterdam, Antigua, Barcelona, Barbados, Bermuda, Bordeaux, Cancún, Colombo, Dubrovnik, Edinburgh, Faro, Genoa, Glasgow-International, Grenada, Jersey, Kingston, Larnaca, Lanzarote, Las Vegas, Málaga, Malé, Malta (resumes 30 March 2014),[203] Marrakech, Mauritius, Naples, Nice, Orlando, Port of Spain, Punta Cana, Rome-Fiumicino, St Kitts, St Lucia, Salzburg, Tampa, Tenerife-South, Tirana, Tobago, Turin, Venice-Marco Polo, Verona
Summer Seasonal: Bari, Catania, Ibiza, Paphos, Pisa, Thessaloniki
Winter Seasonal: Geneva, Innsbruck
Bulgaria AirSeasonal: VarnaSouth
Caribbean AirlinesPort of SpainNorth
Croatia AirlinesSeasonal: SplitSouth
EasyJetAberdeen, Alicante, Amman-Queen Alia, Amsterdam, Antalya, Barcelona, Basel/Mulhouse, Belfast-International, Bologna, Brussels (begins 30 March 2014),[204] Bucharest, Budapest, Catania, Düsseldorf, Edinburgh, Faro, Fuerteventura, Geneva, Gibraltar, Glasgow-International, Gran Canaria, Hurghada, Innsbruck, Inverness, Isle of Man, Izmir, Jersey (begins 30 March 2014),[205] Kraków, Lanzarote, Larnaca, Lisbon, Lyon, Málaga, Malta, Marrakech, Moscow-Domodedovo, Murcia, Naples, Newcastle upon Tyne (begins 30 March 2014),[205] Nice, Palma de Mallorca, Paris-Charles de Gaulle (begins 30 March 2014),[205] Porto, Santiago de Compostela, Sharm el-Sheikh, Strasbourg (begins 30 March 2014),[204] Sofia, Tallinn, Tel Aviv-Ben Gurion (begins 1 April, 2014),[206] Tenerife-South
Summer Seasonal: Bari, Bastia, Brest (begins 12 July 2014),[205] Bodrum, Chania, Corfu, Dalaman, Ibiza, Kefalonia, Kos, La Rochelle, Nantes, Rhodes, Split, Zakynthos
Winter Seasonal: Grenoble, Salzburg, Turin
EasyJetAgadir, Almería, Athens, Bergen, Berlin-Schönefeld, Bordeaux, Cologne/Bonn, Copenhagen, Funchal, Hamburg, Luxembourg, Madrid, Marseille, Milan-Linate, Milan-Malpensa, Montpellier, Munich, Palermo, Paphos, Pisa, Prague, Rome-Fiumicino, Seville, Thessaloniki, Toulouse, Valencia, Venice-Marco Polo, Verona, Vienna, Zagreb, Zürich
Summer Seasonal: Ajaccio, Biarritz, Dubrovnik, Heraklion, Kalamata, Menorca, Mykonos, Olbia, Santorini-Thira
EasyJet SwitzerlandBasel/Mulhouse, GenevaNorth
FlybeBelfast-City, Guernsey, Inverness, Isle of Man, Jersey, Newcastle upon Tyne, (all end 29 March 2014)[187] Newquay (ends 25 October 2014)[207]South
Gambia BirdBanjul, FreetownSouth
Garuda IndonesiaJakarta-Soekarno Hatta (begins 29 May 2014)[208]North
GermaniaErfurt-Weimar, PristinaSouth
Hermes AirlinesErbil, Gothenburg-Landvetter, Stockholm-Arlanda, SulaimaniyahSouth
Hi FlySal, Ascension Island, Mount PleasantSouth
Iraqi AirwaysBaghdad, SulaimaniyahSouth
MeridianaSeasonal: OlbiaNorth
Monarch AirlinesAgadir (begins 2 May 2014),[209] Alicante, Barcelona, Enfidha (begins 4 May 2014),[209] Faro, Hurghada (begins 4 April 2014),[209] Funchal, Lanzarote, Málaga, Menorca, Nice (begins 1 May 2014),[209] Palma de Mallorca, Sharm el Sheikh, Tenerife-South [210]
Seasonal: Antalya, Bodrum, Dalaman, Dubrovnik, Friedrichshafen, Grenoble, Heraklion, Ibiza, Larnaca, Paphos, Venice-Marco Polo, Verona
Seasonal charter: Banjul, Chania, Corfu, Goa, Gran Canaria, Grenada, Hassi Messaoud, Heraklion, Huesca, Innsbruck, Kavala (begins 27 May 2014), Kefalonia, Kittilä, Kos, Lamezia Terme, Luxor, Malé, Mombasa, Montreal-Trudeau, Mytilene, Orlando-Sanford, Preveza, Rhodes, Skiathos, Sofia, Tobago, Volos, Zakynthos
Montenegro AirlinesTivat, PodgoricaSouth
Norwegian Air ShuttleAalborg, Ålesund, Alicante, Barcelona, Bergen, Budapest (begins 30 March 2014),[211] Copenhagen, Faro, Fuerteventura,[212] Gothenburg-Landvetter, Gran Canaria, Helsinki, Lanzarote, Larnaca (begins 5 April 2014),[211] Madrid (begins 2 June 2014),[213] Málaga, Nice, Oslo-Gardermoen, Oslo-Torp, Palma de Mallorca, Rome-Fiumicino, Stavanger, Stockholm-Arlanda, Tenerife-South, Tromsø, Trondheim
Seasonal: Catania (begins 5 April 2014),[211] Corfu (begins 19 July 2014),[211] Dubrovnik, Ibiza, Santorini (begins 5 April 2014),[211] Split
Norwegian Air Shuttle
operated by Norwegian Long Haul
Fort Lauderdale (begins 4 July 2014),[211] Los Angeles (begins 2 July 2014),[211] New York-JFK (begins 3 July 2014)[211]South
NouvelairSummer Charter: Djerba, MonastirSouth
Royal Air MarocCasablanca, Marrakech (begins 20 December 2013),[214]North
RyanairCagliari, Cork, Dublin, Shannon
Seasonal: Kaunas, Seville
SATA InternationalPonta Delgada-João PauloSouth
Small Planet AirlinesSummer Charter: Corfu, Chania, Faro, Heraklion, Kalamata, Kefalonia, Kos, Lemnos, Preveza, Rhodes, Samos, Santorini, Skiathos, Larnaca, VolosSouth
Swiss International Air LinesSeasonal: Geneva (begins 14 December 2013) [216]South
Syphax AirlinesEnfidha [217]South
TAP PortugalLisbon, Porto
Summer Seasonal: Funchal
Thomas Cook AirlinesCharter: Antalya, Bodrum, Cancún, Cayo Coco, Dalaman, Enfidha, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Holguín, Hurghada, Izmir, Lanzarote, Montego Bay, Paphos, Puerto Plata, Punta Cana, Sharm el-Sheikh, Tenerife-South
Seasonal Charter: Acapulco, Agadir, Almería, Banjul, Barbados, Brescia, Burgas, Corfu, Djerba, Faro, Geneva, Goa, Grenoble, Heraklion, Ibiza, Innsbruck, Lleida-Alguaire, Kalamata, Kefalonia, Kos, Larnaca, Lemnos, Luxor, Malta, Menorca, Naples, Olbia, Orlando-Sanford, Palma de Mallorca, Preveza, Reus, Rhodes, Rovaniemi, Salzburg, Santorini, Skiathos, Sofia, Thessaloniki, Turin, Varadero, Zakynthos
Thomson AirwaysCharter: Agadir, Alicante, Antalya, Aswan, Banjul, Boa Vista, Cancún, Dalaman, Fuerteventura, Funchal, Girona, Gran Canaria, Heraklion, Holguín, Lanzarote, La Romana, Luxor, Málaga, Malé, Malta, Marrakech, Marsa Alam, Mersa Matruh, Mauritius (begins 4 May 2014),[218] Mombasa, Montego Bay, Orlando-Sanford, Palma de Mallorca, Paphos, Puerto Plata, Puerto Vallarta (begins 3 May 2014),[219] PhuketPunta Cana, Sal, Santa Cruz de la Palma, Sharm el-Sheikh, Taba, Tenerife-South, Varadero
Seasonal Charter: Acapulco, Alghero, Araxos Patras (begins 2 May 2014),[220] Aruba, Barbados, Bodrum, Burgas, Catania, Chambéry, Chania, Colombo, Corfu, Dubrovnik, Faro, Geneva, Grenoble, Ibiza, Innsbruck, Ivalo, İzmir, Jerez, Kavala, Kefalonia, Kittilä, Kos, Kuusamo, Larnaca, Menorca, Mykonos (begins 2 May 2014),[221] Naples, Pisa, Plovdiv, Preveza, Pula, Reus, Rhodes, Salzburg, Samos, Santorini, Skiathos, Sofia, Thessaloniki, Tivat, Toulouse, Turin, Venice-Marco Polo, Verona, Zakynthos
Turkish AirlinesIstanbul-Atatürk, Istanbul-Sabiha GökçenNorth
Ukraine International AirlinesKiev-BoryspilSouth
Vietnam AirlinesHanoi, Ho Chi Minh CityNorth
Virgin AtlanticAntigua, Barbados, Cancún, Grenada, Havana, Las Vegas, Montego Bay, Orlando, St Lucia, TobagoSouth
WOW airReykjavik-KeflavíkSouth

Busiest routes[edit]

In 2012 there was a decline in passenger numbers for some of the busiest Spanish destinations, although there was an increase in numbers for Barcelona, as well as for Milan, Nice and the long-haul destination of Cancun in Mexico. The biggest increase in domestic passenger numbers in 2012 was for Aberdeen and other airports in Scotland and Northern Ireland, while there was a decline in traffic to short-haul destinations within England.

Busiest international routes to and from Gatwick Airport (2012)[222]
RankAirportPassengers handled % Change 2011 / 12
1 Spain, Malaga979,005Decrease 13
2 Ireland, Dublin936,552Increase 2
3 Spain, Barcelona796,541Increase 44
4  Switzerland, Geneva735,766Increase 4
5 Spain, Madrid702,875Decrease 12
6 Netherlands, Amsterdam677,216Increase 8
7 USA, Orlando674,436Increase 7
8 Portugal, Faro659,107Decrease 4
9 Spain, Palma de Mallorca625,034Increase 2
10 UAE, Dubai620,853Increase 1
11 Spain, Alicante578,894Decrease 22
12 Spain, Tenerife South551,136Decrease 9
13 Italy, Venice Marco Polo545,937Increase 24
14 Italy, Milan Malpensa541,674Increase 51
15 Denmark, Copenhagen490,081Increase 18
16 France, Nice483,292Increase 49
17 Italy, Rome Fiumicino465,103Decrease 3
18 Turkey, Dalaman442,275Decrease 6
19 Egypt, Sharm el-Sheikh403,525Increase 6
20 Barbados, Bridgetown371,357Decrease 13
21 Cyprus, Paphos370,783Increase 1
22 Italy, Naples361,749Increase 3
23 Germany, Berlin Schönefeld323,812Increase 20
24 Spain, Arrecife de Lanzarote308,801Decrease 3
25 Mexico, Cancun299,836Increase 31
26 France, Marseille286,115Decrease 3
27 Sweden, Stockholm Arlanda281,114Increase 15
28 Turkey, Antalya276,009Increase 7
29 France, Toulouse274,499Increase 1
30 Norway, Oslo Gardermoen273,477Increase 6
31 Italy, Bologna270,049Decrease 8
32 USA, Las Vegas268,104Decrease 2
33 Morocco, Marrakesh260,318Increase 7
34 Malta, Malta258,978Decrease 9
35 Canada, Toronto Pearson257,665Decrease 1
36 Italy, Pisa257,635Increase 20
37 Italy, Verona256,845Increase 23
38 France, Bordeaux251,119Increase 9
39 Germany, Munich244,103Increase 5
40 Greece, Heraklion231,106Increase 7
41 Portugal, Porto224151Decrease 11
42 Spain, Ibiza222,622Increase 2
43 Cyprus, Larnaca220,852Decrease 18
44  Switzerland, Basle Mulhouse218,843Increase 22
45 Greece, Corfu207,274Increase 2
46 Spain, Mahon de Minorca204,784Increase 2
47 Spain, Valencia194,294Increase 13
48 France, Lyon186,821Decrease 2
49 Czech Republic, Prague186,097Increase 3
50 Greece, Athens183,287Decrease 1
Busiest domestic and British overseas routes to and from Gatwick Airport (2012)[222]
RankAirportPassengers handled % Change 2011 / 12
1 UK, Edinburgh696,791Increase 4
2 UK, Glasgow-International607,417Increase 7
3 Jersey, Jersey553,962Decrease 4
4 UK, Belfast-International353,248Increase 3
5 Guernsey, Guernsey356,368Decrease 3
6 UK, Belfast-City280,503Increase 13
7 UK, Aberdeen233,921Increase 32
8 UK, Inverness230,442Increase 4
9 UK, Manchester194,568Decrease 16
10 Isle of Man, Isle of Man143,466Increase 13
11 Gibraltar, Gibraltar131,232Increase 28
12 UK, Newquay Cornwall96,181Decrease 5
13 Bermuda, Bermuda89,037Decrease 4
14 UK, Newcastle84,319Decrease 11

Ground transport[edit]

North Terminal A23 roundabout

Gatwick has set the objective that 40% of passengers should be using public transport by the time the annual throughput reaches 40 million (estimated in 2015), from the 2006 figure of 35.3%.[223]


The airport is accessed by a motorway spur road at junction 9A of the M23, which links to the main M23 motorway 1 mi (1.6 km) east at junction 9. The M23 connects with London's orbital motorway, the M25, 9 mi (14 km) north. This gives access to much of Greater London, the South East and beyond. The M23 is the main route for traffic to the airport. Gatwick can also be accessed by the A23, which serves Horley and Redhill to the north and Crawley and Brighton to the south. The A217 provides access northwards to the local town of Reigate.

The airport has long and short-stay car parks – at the airport and off-site – although these are often full in summer. Local planning restrictions limit car parking at and around Gatwick.


Gatwick Express route map
London Victoria Underground no-text.svg
East Croydon Tramlink roundel.svg
Gatwick Airport
Haywards Heath
Burgess Hill
Preston Park

The Gatwick Airport railway station is next to South Terminal and provides connections along the Brighton Main Line to London Victoria and London Bridge stations, as well as Brighton, Worthing, Eastbourne, Portsmouth and Bognor Regis to the south. The Gatwick Express to Victoria, operated by Southern, is the best-known service from the station, but other companies, including First Capital Connect and First Great Western, use the station as well, and Southern provides services to Victoria and London Bridge under its own brand. First Capital Connect provide direct trains to Luton Airport and First Great Western trains provide a direct rail link with Reading and connections with Oxford and the West.

Foot passengers can reach Heathrow by a X26 Express Bus from outside East Croydon station, which is an intermediate stop for semi-fast train services to London.

Bus and coach[edit]

National Express Coaches operates coaches to Heathrow Airport and Stansted Airport, as well as cities and towns throughout the region and country. Oxford Bus Company operate direct services to Oxford. EasyBus operates minicoaches from both terminals to Earls Court/West Brompton. (National Express Dot2Dot used to operate a service to central London, but this ceased in 2008.)

Local buses connect North and South terminals with Crawley, Horley, Redhill, Horsham, Caterham and other destinations. Services are offered by Metrobus and Fastway, a guided bus rapid transit system which was the first of its kind to be constructed outside a major city.

There are at least two sets of stairs for foot-passengers to leave South Terminal to ground-level (near the cycle route) from Zone L and the train-station area (steps are labelled Exit Q and Exit P on the ground). These allow access to bus stops for local services.


Route 21 of the National Cycle Network passes under South Terminal, allowing virtually traffic-free cycling northwards to Horley and southwards to Three Bridges and Crawley. A goods-style lift runs between the terminal and ground level (signed "Lift to Cycle Route"), near Zone L.

Terminal transfer[edit]

Gatwick Airport Shuttle
North Terminal 
to London
South Terminal 
National Rail Gatwick Airport
to Brighton
Gatwick Airport inter-terminal transit
The satellite pier transit system in 1988

Gatwick Airport's North and South terminals are connected by a 0.75 mi (1.21 km) elevated two-way automated people mover track. The shuttle system is normally operated by two automatic, three-car driverless train vehicles. Although colloquially referred to widely as a "monorail",[224] the shuttle system runs on a dual concrete track with rubber tyres and is not technically a monorail.

The original Gatwick transit system opened in 1983 when the circular satellite pier was built, connecting the pier to the main terminal building, and was the UK's first automated people mover system. A second transit track was constructed in 1987 to link to the new North terminal.[224] The original satellite transit line was later replaced with a walkway and travelator link, but the inter-terminal shuttle remains in operation.

The original Adtranz C-100 people mover cars remained in continuous operation until 2009, in which time they travelled a total of 2.5 million mi (4 million km). In September 2009 the vehicles were withdrawn from service to allow the transit system to be upgraded. Meanwhile, the two terminals were connected by a temporary free bus service. A new operating system and shuttle cars consisting of six Bombardier CX-100 vehicles[225] was installed and the guideway and transit stations were refurbished at a cost of £45 million. The new system opened for use again on 1 July 2010, two months ahead of schedule.[226][227]


In 1979, an agreement was reached with West Sussex County Council not to build a second runway before 2019.[92][93][228]

In its original consultation document published on 23 July 2002[229] the Government decided to expand Stansted and Heathrow, but not Gatwick. However, Medway Council, Kent County Council and Essex County Council sought a judicial review of this decision. The judge reviewing the lawfulness of the Government's decision ruled that excluding Gatwick from the original consultation was irrational and/or unfair.[229] Following the judge's ruling and the Secretary of State for Transport's decision not to appeal, BAA published new consultation documents.[229] These included an option of a possible second runway at Gatwick to the south of the existing airport boundary, leaving the villages Charlwood and Hookwood to the north of the airport intact. This led to protests about increased noise and pollution, demolition of houses and destruction of villages.[230]

Gate area inside the North Terminal, showing flight information screens

Prior to the change of ownership, BAA planned an £874 million investment at Gatwick over five years, including increased capacity for both terminals, improvements to the transport interchange and a new baggage system for the South Terminal.[231]

In April 2008, Gatwick began work on a new inter-terminal shuttle which signalled the first major development in a £1 billion programme aimed at modernising the airport. The project included the installation of a completely new shuttle system, new shuttle cars, refurbishment of the rubber track and transformation of the terminal stations. The launch took place in July 2010 and attendees included James van Hofton, from the board of directors. The shuttle cost £43 million and features included live journey information and the use of sensory technology to count the number of passengers at stations.

On 2 December 2009, the House of Commons Transport Select Committee published a report entitled The future of aviation. With regard to Gatwick, it calls on the Government to reconsider its decision to build a second runway at Stansted, in the light of growing evidence that the business case is unconvincing and that Gatwick is a better location.[232]

Passengers passing through the airport are being made aware of the redevelopment programme in a number of ways, including through the use of giant mobile barcodes on top of construction hoardings. Scanning these results in content about the construction work being transferred to the user's smartphone.[233]

In summer 2013, Gatwick began trialling Gatwick Connect, a free flight connections service provided by the airport to assist passengers whose itinerary involves changing flights at Gatwick and where the airlines do not provide a full flight connections service themselves. Gatwick Connect is a more developed version of Via Milano, a similar service pioneered by SEA Aeroporti di Milano at Milan Malpensa, and is the first of its kind in the UK. It features a dedicated Gatwick Connect desk in the baggage reclaim hall in each of the airport's terminals where passengers can confirm their details and/or[nb 23] drop their bags for their onward flights, thus obviating the need to check themselves and their baggage in again.[234][235]


Since 2009, the airport has been owned and operated by Gatwick Airport Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of Ivy Holdco Limited. Ivy Holdco is owned by a consortium of companies that as of end-March 2013 included:[236]


Several options to expand Gatwick have been considered, including a third terminal and a second runway to the south of the existing runway. This would allow Gatwick to handle more passengers than Heathrow does today. If a second, wide-spaced (as opposed to close parallel) runway is approved, a new terminal could be sited between the two runways. This could either complement or replace the current South Terminal, depending on expected future traffic developments.[237]

A less ambitious alternative would extend the North Terminal further south, with another passenger bridge to an area currently occupied by aircraft stands without jet bridges (Pier 7).[237] However, figure A.12 in Gatwick's new draft master plan released for consultation on 13 October 2011 seems to discard the earlier-mooted Pier 7 option in favour of a mid-field satellite adjacent to the control tower that would be linked to the North Terminal if built as part of an expanded single-runway, two-terminal airport scenario around 2030.[238] There are also plans to extend Pier 6.[239]

In October 2009, BAA submitted planning applications for Gatwick to handle an extra six million passengers a year by 2018 and for an extension to the North Terminal to provide new check-in facilities and additional baggage reclaim hall capacity, along with a 900 space short-stay car park.[240] Crawley Borough Council's decision to approve these plans was upheld in November 2009 by the Government's refusal to hold a public inquiry despite objections from local environmental protesters.[241]

Speaking at the first Gatwick Airport Consultative Committee (Gatcom) meeting since GIP's takeover of the airport (held on 28 January 2010 at Crawley's Arora Hotel), Gatwick's chairman Sir David Rowlands ruled out building a second runway for the foreseeable future, citing the high cost of the associated planning application – estimated to be between £100 million and £200 million – as the main reason for the new owners' lack of interest. At that meeting, Gatwick chief executive Stewart Wingate stressed GIP's preference for increasing the existing runway's capacity and confirmed GIP's plans to request an increase in the current limit on the permitted number of take-offs and landings.[242] However, in 2012, Gatwick's new owners reversed their initial lack of interest in building a second runway at the airport for the foreseeable future. On 3 December 2012, chief executive Stewart Wingate argued in front of the House of Commons Transport Select Committee that allowing Gatwick to add a second runway to relieve the growing airport capacity shortage in the South East of England once the agreement with West Sussex County Council preventing it from doing so had expired in 2019 served the interests of the 12 million people living in its catchment area better than building a third runway at Heathrow or a new four-runway hub airport in the Thames Estuary. In support of his argument, Wingate stated that expanding Heathrow or building a new hub in the Thames Estuary was more environmentally damaging, more expensive, less practical and risked negating the benefits of ending common ownership of Gatwick, Heathrow and Stansted by the erstwhile BAA. Wingate contrasted this with the greater range of flights and improved connectivity including to hitherto un-/underserved emerging markets that would result from a second runway at Gatwick by the mid-2020s as this would enable it to compete with Heathrow on an equal footing to increase consumer choice and reduce fares. In this context, Wingate also accused his counterpart at Heathrow, Colin Matthews, of overstating the importance of transfer traffic by pointing to research by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).[nb 24] This counts the number of air travel bookings made by passengers passing through the IATA-designated London area airports[nb 25] and shows that only 7% of these passengers actually change flights there. Wingate believes this to be a more accurate measure of the share of passengers accounted for by transfer traffic at these airports than the more widely used alternative based on survey data collated by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). The CAA survey data relies on the number of passengers changing flights at these airports as reported by the airlines to the airport authorities and shows that fewer than 20% of all passengers actually change flights there.[nb 26][243][7][244][245][246]

In October 2010, Gatwick Airport Limited (GAL) received planning permission from Crawley Borough Council to adapt both terminals to handle the Airbus A380 on a regular, commercial basis.[247] At the Gatcom meeting held on 26 January 2012 at Crawley's Arora Hotel, GAL announced that its board had approved construction of A380 pier infrastructure comprising new three-bridge gates at the North Terminal's Pier 6.[124][126][248] The first of these became operational on 26 March 2013.[128]

On 23 July 2013, Gatwick unveiled its proposals for a second runway to the south of the existing runway and airport boundary. If approved, the new runway could open by 2025 and cost between £5 billion and £9 billion, depending on the option chosen – i.e., a new runway 3,395 ft (1,035 m) south of the existing runway, a new runway less than 3,395 ft (1,035 m) but more than 2,493 ft (760 m) south of the existing runway or a new runway less than 2,493 ft (760 m) south of the existing runway.[249] The first option would allow both runways to be simultaneously used for takeoffs and landings and increase total runway capacity by more than 80% to up to 100 aircraft movements per hour. It would also increase the airport's annual maximum passenger capacity from the present 45 to 87 million. The second option would allow both runways to be used simultaneously as well, with one handling takeoffs and the other landings. This would increase total runway capacity by ca. 36% to about 75 aircraft movements per hour and result in an increase in annual maximum passenger capacity to 82 million. The third option would allow only one runway to be used at a time but would still increase total runway capacity by over 20% to at least 67 aircraft movements per hour and annual maximum passenger capacity to 66 million.[250][251] Regardless of the option chosen, the total projected cost includes the cost of a third terminal next to the existing railway line.[252]

'Heathwick' rail link[edit]

In late-2011 the Department for Transport began studying the feasibility of a high-speed rail link between Gatwick and Heathrow Airport. This rail link would form part of a plan to combine the UK's two biggest airports into a "collective" or "virtual hub" dubbed Heathwick. The scheme envisages a 35-mile high-speed rail route linking the two airports in 15 minutes, with trains travelling at a top speed of 180 mph parallel to the M25 and passengers passing through immigration or check-in only once.

Incidents and accidents[edit]

See also[edit]

Notes and citations[edit]

  1. ^ Pronounced /ˈɡætwɨk/.[3]
  2. ^ accounting for 93% of all passenger traffic as of March 2012
  3. ^ a b c 1 April 2011 to 31 March 2012
  4. ^ as of May 2012
  5. ^ independent from government-owned corporations
  6. ^ launched on 8 June 1959
  7. ^ holders of supplemental air carrier certificates authorised to operate non-scheduled passenger and cargo services to supplement the scheduled operations of certificated route air carriers; airlines holding supplemental air carrier certificates are also known as "nonskeds" in the US
  8. ^ using a BAC One-Eleven 500 operating once a day each way from Gatwick to Düsseldorf and Frankfurt respectively and six-times-a-week each way from Gatwick to Zürich, in addition to the daily Gatwick–Dublin return flight
  9. ^ 1 April 1965 to 31 March 1966
  10. ^ 1 April 1967 to 31 March 1968
  11. ^ 1 April 1969 to 31 March 1970
  12. ^ 1 April 1973 to 31 March 1974
  13. ^ number of passengers including both domestic and international
  14. ^ number of movements represents total aircraft takeoffs and landings during that year
  15. ^ a b c excluding North Atlantic
  16. ^ a b c including the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man
  17. ^ a b including North Africa
  18. ^ 1 April 2012 to 31 March 2013
  19. ^ British Airways, 15%; Thomson Airways, 11%; Monarch Airlines, 7%; Flybe and Thomas Cook Airlines, 6% each
  20. ^ including eight early-morning peak-time slot pairs
  21. ^ due to begin operations in May 2014
  22. ^ due to begin operations in December 2013
  23. ^ if already checked-in online
  24. ^ entitled PaxIS and AirportIS data products
  25. ^ Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Luton, City
  26. ^ Heathrow: 24 million transfer passengers (35%) of 69 million passengers in 2011; Gatwick: 2.4 million transfer passengers (7%) of 34 million passengers in 2011; Stansted: insignificant number of transfer passengers (0%) of 18 million passengers in 2011; Luton: insignificant number of transfer passengers (0%) of 9.5 million passengers in 2011; City: 0.06 million transfer passengers (2%) of 3 million passengers in 2011
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External links[edit]