Gatwick Airport area about 1925, with airport boundary in green. Gatwick Manor is at the northwest end of the racecourse. The modern runway runs roughly from the racecourse to the lane junction at Hydefield Farm, southeast of Charlwood.
1241: First record of the name "Gatwick" (as "Gatwik"). Gatwick was a manor in the parish of Charlwood, a village in Surrey. Gatwick manor house was on the site of today's airport, on the northern edge of the North Terminal's aircraft taxiing area (not the same as the present Gatwick Manor Hotel); until the 19th century, it was owned by the De Gatwick family. Its name derives from the Old Englishgāt (goat) and wīc (dairy farm); i.e. "goat farm".
Late 1920s: Land adjacent to the racecourse (at Hunts Green Farm, along Tinsley Green Lane) was used as an aerodrome. The Hunts Green farmhouse on the land used for the aerodrome was converted into a clubhouse and terminal.
November 1928: From then, Dominion Aircraft Limited based its Avro 504 G-AACX at Gatwick.
1 August 1930: Ronald Waters, manager of Home Counties Aircraft Service (based at Penshurst Airfield in Kent), who had come into possession of Gatwick Aerodrome, got a licence for it. He founded the Surrey Aero Club there.
2–3 August 1930: Flying began with pleasure flights for the local population in Avro 504s of Waters's Surrey Aero Club.
1932: The Redwing Aircraft Company bought the aerodrome, and operated a flying school; it was also used for pilots flying in for races.
1933: The Air Ministry approved commercial flights from Gatwick.
September 1933: A. M. (Morris) Jackaman, who owned several light aircraft, bought the aerodrome for £13,500. He had bold ideas for its future, such as expanding it to make it suitable to use as a relief aerodrome for London (Croydon) Airport and providing a regular service to Paris using de Havilland DH.84 Dragon aircraft. He overcame resistance from the Air Ministry, which was concerned about the cost of draining the clayey land and diverting the River Mole.
1934: Jackaman oversaw Gatwick's transition to a public aerodrome, licensed for non-private flights, and planned a proper terminal building linked to a new railway station on the adjacent Brighton Main Line. He formed a new airport company, Airports Limited. Hillman's Airways became Gatwick's first commercial airline operator, beginning scheduled services from the airport to Belfast and Paris.
6 June 1936: The airport was officially reopened by the Secretary of State for Air, Lord Swinton. The Beehive, the airport's new terminal, was officially opened the same day. The Beehive was designed by Frank Hoar and incorporated several novel features, including a subway to the railway station at Tinsley Green which allowed passengers to travel from Victoria Station to the aircraft without stepping outside. After the airport's official reopening, Tinsley Green railway station was renamed "Gatwick Airport". Air Travel Ltd, which had relocated to Gatwick from Penshurst, moved into the new airport's hangar. Jackaman's proposed service to Paris was included: three flights were operated each day, connecting with fast trains from London Victoria station. Combined rail and air tickets were offered for £4.5s, and there was a very short transfer time at the terminal (on some flights, as little as 20 minutes was needed).
September and November 1936: Two fatal accidents happened, raising questions about the airport's safety. The area was foggy, and its clay soil drained poorly; this caused the new subway to flood after rain.
1937: Because of this tendency to flood, and because longer landing strips were needed, the pre-war British Airways moved to Croydon Airport. Gatwick returned to private flying, and was used as a Royal Air Force (RAF) flying school.
September 1939: The airport was requisitioned by the Air Ministry, becoming a base for RAF night-fighters and an Army co-operation squadron during the Second World War (primarily for repairs and maintenance).
1940: Horse racing at Gatwick ended, and never restarted.
1946: The airport was officially decommissioned, but the Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation continued operating it as a civil airfield (initially for a six-month trial period). Airwork provided maintenance at Gatwick and other charter airlines, flying war-surplus aircraft, began using the airport despite its persistent drainage problem. Most commercial air services were cargo flights. The original Gatwick railway station was renamed "Gatwick Racecourse".
November 1948: The airport's owners warned that it might revert to private use by November 1949; Stansted was favoured as London's second airport, and Gatwick's future was unclear.
9 June 1958: Official opening. Queen Elizabeth II flew into Gatwick in a de Havilland Heron of the Queen's Flight for the opening. The first "official" flight after the reopening ceremony was a BEADC-3 operating a charter for the Surrey County Council to Jersey and Guernsey. Gatwick was the world's first airport with a direct railway link and the first to combine mainline rail, trunk road facilities and an air terminal building in one unit. It was also one of the first with an enclosed pier-based terminal, which allowed passengers to walk under cover to waiting areas near the aircraft (with only a short walk outdoors). At the time, this comprised a single pier (the central and main pier pier of what is now the South Terminal). Another feature of Gatwick's new air terminal was its modular design, permitting subsequent, phased expansion.
Late 1950s and after: A number of British contemporary private airlines joined Airwork (Gatwick's only surviving pre-war private airline) at the airport. The first was Transair, which relocated to Gatwick from Croydon. It was followed by Morton Air Services and Hunting-Clan Air Transport, relocating from Croydon and Heathrow respectively.
Despite the rapid expansion of BUA's (and other airlines') scheduled activities at Gatwick, the airport was dominated by non-scheduled services into the 1980s. Most were inclusive tour (IT) passenger services provided by a number of British independent operators and their overseas counterparts. During the 1960s, IT services accounted for two-thirds to three-quarters of Gatwick's annual passengers, earning the airport its "bucket and spade" nickname.
1 April 1961: BEA began operating half its London–Paris flights from Gatwick; the airport's designation became "London (Gatwick)", emphasising its status as a London airport. London Airport became "London (Heathrow)".
1962: Two additional piers were added to the terminal.
1 May 1963: Non-scheduled operators began implementing the Ministry of Aviation's instruction to transfer all regular charter flights from Heathrow to Gatwick, restricting Heathrow's use for non-scheduled operations to "occasional" charter flights.
26 May 1963: BUA launched "Silver Arrow", a twice-daily combined rail-air service between London and Paris, with a Viscount for the cross-Channel Gatwick–Le Touquet air service.
1964: Gatwick's original, relatively short 7,000 ft (2,100 m) late-1950s paved runway was extended by 1,200 ft (370 m) to 8,200 ft (2,500 m) due to new noise rules governing the operation of jet aircraft at airports near (or surrounded by) densely populated urban areas.
1965: By now, each of the three piers was nearly 1,000 ft (300 m) long, and the terminal complex had a floor area of 100,000 sq ft (9,300 m2).
9 April 1965: a BUA One-Eleven operated the type's first commercial service from Gatwick to Genoa.
4 January 1966: BUA began Gatwick's first scheduled domestic jet service to Glasgow, Edinburgh and Belfast. The new service, known as "InterJet", made BUA the first UK domestic airline using jet aircraft exclusively.
September 1970: Westward Airways discontinued its inter-airport air shuttle between Gatwick and Heathrow.
November 1970: Caledonian Airways bought British United Airways, following which the combined airline began trading as Caledonian/BUA. The acquisition let Caledonian become a scheduled airline; in addition to the routes inherited from BUA, it began scheduled services to Europe, North and West Africa, North America and the Middle and Far East during the 1970s and 1980s.
March 1971: Green Line extended its Gatwick–Heathrow inter-airport express coach service to Luton Airport.
1973: The third extension of Gatwick's runway was completed, bringing it to 10,165 ft (3,098 m) and allowing for non-stop narrow-body operations to the US west coast and commercially viable, long-range wide-body operations.Wardair became the first airline to operate Boeing 747s at Gatwick.KLM augmented its Heathrow–Amsterdam service with a Gatwick–Amsterdam route, making it the first non-UK airline to split operations between Heathrow and Gatwick for commercial reasons rather than to comply with government directives.
Late 1970s: By now, government initiatives supporting Gatwick's development resulted in steady growth in passenger traffic. Among these were policies seeking to transfer all scheduled services between London and the Iberian peninsula from Heathrow to Gatwick, banning whole-plane charters at Heathrow and requiring all airlines planning scheduled services to London for the first time to use Gatwick instead of Heathrow. This policy was known as the London [Air] Traffic Distribution Rules. The government also approved a high-frequency helicopter shuttle service linking Gatwick with Heathrow.
1 April 1978: The London [Air] Traffic Distribution Rules became effective, retroactive to 1 April 1977. The rules were designed to increase Gatwick's utilisation to help it become profitable.British Airways (BA) and Aer Lingus began daily scheduled flights between Gatwick and Dublin, the first use of Gatwick as a London terminal for scheduled services between the British and Irish capitals and the first BA scheduled service from Gatwick with aircraft based at the airport.[nb 8] For Aer Lingus, it was the first scheduled service from Gatwick.
9 June 1978: 20th anniversary of Gatwick's reopening by Queen Elizabeth II. BCal, British Airways Helicopters and the BAA introduced Airlink, a helicopter shuttle service operating 10 times daily to Heathrow.
31 December 1978: By now, scheduled passengers outnumbered charter passengers for the first time in Gatwick's post-war history.
Late 1970s and early 1980s: Fully extendible jet bridges were added when the piers were rebuilt and extended.
August 1980: BCal launched the UK's first private scheduled air service to Hong Kong (via Dubai) from the airport,.
2 June 1982: The Pope left Gatwick at the end of his visit aboard a BCal Boeing 707.
December 1982: The Gatwick Hilton opened as the first hotel in Britain to be part of an airport complex.
1983: As passenger numbers grew, a circular satellite pier was added to the terminal building connected to the main terminal by the UK's first automated people mover system. (This replaced the original North pier dating from 1962, and the people mover connecting the main terminal with the satellite pier was subsequently replaced with a walkway and travelators). A second terminal was planned, and construction began on the North Terminal (the largest construction project south of London in the 1980s, costing £200 million).
18 March 1988: The North Terminal was opened by Queen Elizabeth II (including an automated rapid transit system link to the South Terminal).
End of the 1989–90 fiscal year: By now, scheduled passengers consistently outnumbered non-scheduled passengers at the airport; non-scheduled passengers had accounted for more than half the airport's passengers during the 1970s and most of the 1980s.
1991: A second aircraft pier was added to the North Terminal. Dan-Air replaced Air Europe as Gatwick's principal short-haul scheduled operator after Air Europe ceased trading early in 1991; both played important roles in the development of the airport's short-haul scheduled route network.
1994: The North Terminal international departure lounge and the first phase of the South Terminal international departure lounge opened, at a cost of £30 million.
1998: The main runway was extended for a fourth time, reaching 10,879 ft (3,316 m), to enable longer-range operations with wide-body aircraft.
2000 to 2001: Gatwick's two terminals were further expanded to add seating, retail space and catering outlets, at a cost of £60 million; this included an extension to the North Terminal departure lounge, completed in 2001.
2002: EasyJet began stationing planes at Gatwick.
2005: Pier 6 opened at a cost of £110 million, adding 11 pier-served aircraft stands. The pier is linked to the North Terminal's main building by the largest air passenger bridge in the world, spanning a taxiway and providing passengers with views of the airport and taxiing aircraft. That year an extension and refurbishment to the South Terminal's baggage reclaim hall (doubling it in size) was completed.
May 2008: An extension of the South Terminal's departure lounge was completed, and a second-floor security search area opened. This terminal is now primarily used by low-cost airlines; many former users moved to the North Terminal.
After 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 infrastructure from 2008 to 2014. GIP raised the improvement budget to £1.172 billion, and an additional £1 billion from 2014 to 2019 was agreed in February 2013. GIP is expected to 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 following the 2007–2009 financial crisis and the EU-US Open Skies Agreement and expanding existing operations.
22 June 2010: Gatwick Airport Limited (GAL) began a new advertising campaign (by Lewis Moberly) for the airport, featuring the slogan "Your London Airport – Gatwick" and dropped "London" from the airport's name.
6 July 2012: An EmiratesAirbus A380 operated the type's first scheduled service from Gatwick for the airline's 25th anniversary at the airport, in the UK and Europe and to test the aircraft's suitability for the airport.
Late February 2013: Two A380-compatible stands were completed, enabling jet bridge access from the west end of the North Terminal's Pier 6.
26 March 2013: Emirates operated a second, one-off scheduled A380 flight from Gatwick to test the airport's new three-bridge gate facility at Pier 6's stand 110. This marked the opening of Gatwick's first pier-served, £6.4 million A380 stand.
31 May 2013: Demolition began of Pier 1, Gatwick's second-oldest pier (the original 1962 South pier of what is now the South Terminal) for its replacement with a £180 million, two-storey structure with five pier-served aircraft stands and an automated baggage-storage facility, due to become operational by summer 2015.
30 March 2014: Emirates became Gatwick's first airline to operate a regular (as opposed to one-off) scheduled service with the A380.
29 August 2014: Gatwick's main runway handled a record 906 movements, equating to an aircraft taking off or landing every 63 seconds. This was believed to be the first time a commercial airport handled more than 900 aircraft movements in one day using only one runway.
The bridge to Pier 6 in the North Terminal opened in 2005.
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, with the following holdings:
In February 2010, GIP sold minority stakes of 12 and 15 percent to the South Korean National Pension Service and the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) for £100 million and £125 million, respectively, in Gatwick's (rather than GIP's) name. The sales were part of GIP's strategy to syndicate the equity portion of the original acquisition by issuing bonds to refinance bank debt. Although this entails bringing additional investors into the airport, GIP aims to retain management control. The Californian state pension fund CalPERS acquired a 12.7-percent stake in Gatwick Airport for about $155 million (£104.8 million) in June 2010.
On 21 December 2010, the A$69 billion (£44 billion) Future Fund, a sovereign wealth fund established by the Australian government in 2006, agreed to purchase a 17.2-percent stake in Gatwick Airport from GIP for £145 million. This transaction completed GIP's syndication process for the airport, reducing its stake to 42 percent (although the firm's extra voting rights mean it still controls the airport's board).
The airport has two terminals, North and South. Both have shops and restaurants landside and airside, and all areas are accessible to disabled passengers. There are facilities for baby changing and feeding, and play areas and video games for children; business travellers have specialised lounges. On 31 May 2008, Virgin Holidays opened the V Room, Gatwick's first lounge dedicated to leisure travellers, for use by Virgin Holidays customers flying to Orlando, Las Vegas and the Caribbean on sister airline Virgin Atlantic.
On 9 April 2009, an independent pay-for-access lounge, No.1 Traveller, opened in the South Terminal. Gatwick has a conference and business centre, and several on- and off-site hotels ranging in class from executive to economy. The airport has Anglican, Catholic and Free Church chaplains, and there are multi-faith prayer and counselling rooms in each terminal. A daily service is led by one of the chaplains.
The Civil Aviation Authority Safety Regulation Group is in Aviation House.WesternGeco, a geophysical services company, has its head office and Europe-Africa-Russia offices in Schlumberger House, a 124,000 sq ft (11,500 m2) building on the airport grounds near the South Terminal. The company had a 15-year lease on the building, scheduled to expire in June 2008. In 2007, WesternGeco reached an agreement with its landlord, BAA Lynton, extending its lease to 2016 at an initial rent of £2.1 million.Fastjet has its registered and head offices at Suite 2C in First Point at the airport.
Before the sale, BAA planned an £874 million investment at Gatwick over five years, including increased capacity for both terminals, improvements to transport interchange and a new baggage system for the South Terminal. Passengers passing through the airport are informed about the redevelopment programme with large mobile barcodes on top of construction hoardings. Scanning these transfers information on the construction to the user's smartphone.
In summer 2013, Gatwick introduced Gatwick Connect, a free flight-connection service to assist passengers changing flights at Gatwick whose airlines do not provide full flight-connection service. At a Gatwick Connect desk in the baggage reclaim hall in each terminal, passengers can confirm their details or leave their bags for onward flights if already checked in online. As of August 2014, the service is available to EasyJet, Flybe, Norwegian Air Shuttle, Thomas Cook Airlines, Virgin Atlantic and WOW air passengers.
Gatwick operates as a single-runway airport although it has two runways; the northern runway (08L/26R) can only be used when the main runway (08R/26L) is out of use for any reason. Documentation published by the airport in April 2014 indicates that the usable length of its main runway (08R/26L) is 11,178 ft (3,407 m) when aircraft take off in a westerly direction (26) and 10,863 ft (3,311 m) when takeoffs occur in an easterly direction (08). The documentation lists the respective usable runway lengths for the northern runway (08L/26R) as 9,974 ft (3,040 m) (direction 08) and 8,858 ft (2,700 m) (direction 26), and states that nearly three-quarters of takeoffs are towards the west (74 percent, over a 12-month period). Both runways are 148 ft (45 m) wide; they are 656 ft (200 m) apart, which is insufficient for the simultaneous use of both runways. During normal operations the northern runway is used as a taxiway, consistent with its original construction (although it was gradually widened).
The main runway uses a Category III Instrument Landing System (ILS). The northern runway does not have an ILS; 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 (also available for the main runway). On both runways, a continuous descent approach is used to minimise the environmental effects of incoming aircraft, particularly at night.
Night flights are subject to restrictions; between 11 pm and 7 am, noisier aircraft (rated QC/8 and QC/16) may not operate. From 11.30 pm to 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 the entire 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 counters man-portable surface-to-air missiles (MANPADS) by patrolling in and around the airport, and a separate sub-unit has vehicle checks around the airport.
During the summer of 2014, EasyJet will fly 108 routes from Gatwick with a fleet of 57 aircraft. The airport is the carrier's largest base, and its 16 million passengers per year accounted for 45 percent of Gatwick's 2013 total (ahead of Gatwick's second-largest passenger airline: British Airways (BA), whose 4.5 million passengers comprised 14 percent of total passenger traffic in 2011–12).[nb 3]
The airport is a hub for British Airways; BA and EasyJet are Gatwick's dominant resident airlines. In terms of passengers carried, both airlines were among the five largest airlines operating at Gatwick in 2010 (which also included Thomson Airways, Monarch Airlines and Thomas Cook Airlines at the time). EasyJet's acquisition of BA franchise carrier GB Airways in March 2008 increased its share of airport slots to 24 percent (from 17 percent in late 2007); the airline became the largest short-haul operator at the airport, accounting for 29 percent of short-haul passengers. By 2009, BA's share of Gatwick slots had fallen to 20 percent from its peak of 40 percent in 2001. By 2010, this had declined to 16 percent. By mid-2012, EasyJet had 45 percent of Gatwick's early-morning peak time slots (6 am to 8:55 am).[nb 9]
By 2008, Flybe was Gatwick's third-largest airline (accounting for nine percent of its slots) and its fastest-growing airline. It became the airport's largest domestic operator, carrying 1.2 million passengers in its 2011–12 financial year on eight routes to destinations in the UK, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.[nb 3] In March 2013, the airline announced that it would end operations at Gatwick, citing unsustainably high airport charges and increases in UK Air Passenger Duty. Flybe sold its 25 pairs of daily slots[nb 10] at the airport to EasyJet for £20 million. The latter's share of Gatwick slots increased to 44 percent in summer 2014; second-placed BA has held about 16 percent of the airport's slots since 2010.
Gatwick has an office complex on the airport property: City Place Gatwick, developed by BAA Lynton. The complex includes four buildings: the Beehive (the former terminal) and 1, 2 and 3 City Place.BDO International occupy offices at 2 City Place. On 5 January 2012 Nestlé announced the relocation of its UK head office from Croydon to City Place Gatwick; it occupies 1 City Place.
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 regular charter flights.
As part of a recently agreed, seven-year strategic commercial partnership between Gatwick and EasyJet, the airport proposes a number of changes to individual airlines' terminal locations. If agreed by all parties, the proposed changes will see EasyJet consolidate all Gatwick operations in the North Terminal while British Airways and Virgin Atlantic will swap their current terminals. Gatwick believes that these terminal moves will improve the airport's operational efficiency and resilience as the use of different terminals by EasyJet and British Airways would reduce pressure on the North Terminal's check-in, security, boarding and ramp areas at peak times. In addition, a terminal swap by Virgin would free up lounge and gate space for BA long-haul passengers in the South Terminal and, unlike BA's current short-haul schedules, Virgin's long-haul schedules would not clash with EasyJet's busy schedule in the North Terminal due to the airlines' differing peak times.
Gatwick handled 186,172 passengers during its first seven months of operation after the 1956–58 reconstruction; the annual number of passengers passing through the airport was 368,000 in 1959 and 470,000 in 1960. Passenger numbers reached one million for the first time during the mid-1960s, with a record 1.4 million passing through the airport during the 1965–66 fiscal year.[nb 12] Gatwick accommodated two million passengers for the first time during the 1967–68 fiscal year[nb 13] and three million in the 1969–70 fiscal year,[nb 14] with British United Airways accounting for nearly half.
By the early 1970s, 5 million passengers used Gatwick each year, with a record 5.7 million during the 1973–74 fiscal year.[nb 15] During that period, British Caledonian accounted for approximately half of all charter passengers and three-fourths of scheduled passengers. Within a decade annual passenger numbers doubled, to 10 million; they doubled again, to over 20 million, by the late 1980s. By the turn of the millennium, Gatwick handled more than 30 million passengers annually.
35.4 million passengers passed through Gatwick in 2013, an increase of 3.5 percent over the previous year and exceeding the previous peak year of 2007. Long-haul[nb 18] and European scheduled passenger traffic recorded increases over the previous year of 8.9 and 6.1 percent to 5.07 and 19.65 million, respectively. North Atlantic, UK,[nb 19]Irish and European charter[nb 20] traffic saw decreases over the corresponding figures for 2012 of 10.7, 1.4, 1.4 and 1.2 percent to 1.65, 3.78, 1.27 and 4.03 million passengers, respectively.
Compared with a year earlier, September 2014 passenger numbers increased by 7.7 percent to 3.831 million (an increase of 274,000 over September 2013). This brought the moving annual passenger total to 37.5 million. Amongst individual passenger traffic categories, North Atlantic, other long-haul,[nb 18] European scheduled and Irish traffic recorded increases (12.6, 12.5, 11.6 and 1.1 percent to 167,700, 470,600, 2.248 million and 108,000 passengers, respectively) while UK[nb 19] and European charter[nb 20] traffic saw decreases (5.8 and 2.5 percent to 315,900 and 520,600 passengers, respectively). Air transport movements increased by 3.1 percent to 24,616 while cargo volume decreased by 8.9 percent to 7,170 metric tonnes. The increase in scheduled passenger traffic to and from destinations in Europe (by 234,400) was driven by additional passengers on popular business and leisure routes such as Paris, Amsterdam and Berlin. The increase in North Atlantic passenger traffic (by 18,700) resulted from the introduction of new transatlantic no-frills flights to New York, Los Angeles and Fort Lauderdale by Norwegian Air Shuttle. The increase in passenger traffic to and from other long-haul[nb 18] destinations (by 52,300) mainly resulted from continuing growth on routes serving Dubai, where the introduction of the A380 by Emirates on one of its three daily flights contributed to a 12.4% percent increase in passenger traffic, and other rapidly expanding markets such as such as Vietnam, where passenger traffic rose 5.6% percent.
Gatwick has set goals of 40-percent public-transport use by the time annual passenger traffic reaches 40 million (estimated in 2015) and 45 percent by the time it reaches 45 million.
The airport is accessible from a motorway spur road at junction 9A of the M23, which links to the main M23 motorway 1 mile (1.6 km) east at junction 9. The M23 connects with London's orbital motorway, the M25, 9 miles (14 km) north; this provides access to much of Greater London, the South East and beyond, and the M23 is the main route for traffic to the airport. Gatwick is also accessible from the A23, which serves Horley and Redhill to the north and Crawley and Brighton to the south. The A217 provides access northwards to the 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 restrictions limit parking at (and near) Gatwick.
Local buses connect North and South Terminals with Crawley, Horley, Redhill, Horsham and Caterham. Services are offered by Metrobus and Fastway, a guided bus rapid transit system which was the first of its kind to be built outside a major city. There are two sets of stairs for pedestrians to leave South Terminal at ground level (near the cycle route) from Zone L and the train-station area (labelled Exit Q and Exit P on the ground), which access local bus stops.
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 (labelled "Lift to Cycle Route"), near Zone L.
The airport's North and South Terminals are connected by a 0.75 miles (1.21 km), elevated, two-way automated people mover track. The shuttle normally consists of two automatic, three-car, driver-less trains. Although colloquially known as a "monorail", the shuttle runs on a dual, concrete track with rubber tyres and is not (technically) a monorail.
The Gatwick transit system opened in 1983 when the circular satellite pier was built (connecting the pier to the main terminal), and was the UK's first automated people-moving system. A second track was built in 1987, linking to the North Terminal. Although the original satellite transit line was replaced with a walkway-and-moving walkway link, the inter-terminal shuttle remains in operation.
Gatwick began upgrading its shuttle service in April 2008. The original Adtranz C-100 people-mover cars remained in operation until 2009, when they had travelled a total of 2.5 million miles (4 million km). In September 2009 the vehicles were withdrawn from service to allow the transit system to be upgraded, and the terminals were connected by bus. A new operating system and shuttle cars (six Bombardier CX-100 vehicles) was installed, and the guideway and transit stations were refurbished at a total cost of £45 million. The system opened on 1 July 2010, two months ahead of schedule; it featured live journey information and sensory technology to count the number of passengers at stations.
Gate area in the North Terminal, with flight-information screen
Gatwick has been included in a number of reviews of airport capacity in southeastern England. Expansion options have included a third terminal and a second runway, although a 40-year agreement not to build a second runway was made in 1979 with the West Sussex County Council. Expanded operations would allow Gatwick to handle more passengers than Heathrow does today, with a new terminal between two more-widely-spaced runways. This would complement or replace the South Terminal, depending on expected future traffic.
Airport management proposed a second runway (south of the existing runway and the airport boundary) was unveiled in July 2013. This was shortlisted for further consideration by the Airports Commission in December 2013, and the commission's final report is due to be published by summer 2015. Another proposal would extend the North Terminal south, with a passenger bridge in the area currently occupied by aircraft stands without jet bridges. Gatwick's draft master plan (released for consultation on 13 October 2011) apparently dropped the passenger-bridge plan in favour of a mid-field satellite (next to the control tower) linking to the North Terminal as part of an expanded 2030 single-runway, two-terminal airport.
In late 2011 the Department for Transport also began a feasibility study of a high-speed rail link between Gatwick and Heathrow as part of a plan combining the airports into a "collective" or "virtual hub", Heathwick. The scheme envisages a high-speed rail route parallel to the M25, covering 35 miles (56 km) in 15 minutes. Trains would reach speeds of 180 mph (290 km/h), and passengers would need to pass through immigration (or check in) only once.
2 September 1963 – An IberiaLockheed L-1049G Super Constellation (registration: EC-AMQ) leased by Aviaco on a charter flight from Barcelona, Spain, brushed trees on Russ Hill on its final approach to Gatwick. Although the aircraft sustained minor damage as a result of this incident (which occurred about 220 feet (67 m) above and 1.75 nautical miles (3.24 km; 2.01 mi) from the runway), it landed safely and none of the 75 passengers on board were injured.
28 January 1972 – A British CaledonianVickers VC10-1109 (registration: G-ARTA) with no passengers aboard sustained severe structural damage as a result of a hard landing at Gatwick at the end of a short ferry flight from Heathrow, where the aircraft had been diverted due to fog at Gatwick. A survey of the aircraft's damage revealed that its airframe was bent out of shape, requiring extensive repairs to be restored to airworthiness. Since the repairs were not cost-effective, the airline's management decided to scrap the aircraft at Gatwick in 1975.
20 July 1975 – A British Island Airways (BIA) Handley Page Dart Herald 201 (registration: G-APWF) was involved in a runway accident while departing on a scheduled flight to Guernsey. The aircraft lifted off from runway 26 after a ground run of 2,490 feet (760 m), and appeared airborne for 411 ft (125 m) (with its landing gear retracting), before the rear underside of the fuselage settled back onto the runway and brought the aircraft to a stop. An investigation concluded that the landing gear was retracted before the aircraft had become established in a climb and the flap setting and takeoff speed were incorrect. Although the aircraft incurred substantial damage, none of the 45 occupants were hurt.
^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
^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
^British Airways, 15%; Thomson Airways, 11%; Monarch Airlines, 7%; Flybe and Thomas Cook Airlines, 6% each