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 Topco Limited (Cayman)
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 in West Sussex, England
Statistics (2013)
Passenger change 12-13Increase3.5%
Aircraft Movements250,520
Movements change 12-13Increase1.4%
Sources: UK AIP at NATS[1]
Statistics from the UK Civil Aviation Authority[2]
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"Gatwick" redirects here. For the village in Surrey, see Gatwick, Surrey.
LGW redirects here. For other uses see LGW (disambiguation).
Gatwick Airport
Gatwick Airport logo.png
London Gatwick, 19 April 2011 - Flickr - PhillipC.jpg
WMO: 03776
Airport typePublic
OwnerIvy Topco Limited (Cayman)
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 in West Sussex, England
Statistics (2013)
Passenger change 12-13Increase3.5%
Aircraft Movements250,520
Movements change 12-13Increase1.4%
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 miles (5.0 km) north of the centre of Crawley,[1] West Sussex, and 29.5 miles (47.5 km) south of Central London.[4] Also known as London Gatwick,[5] it is London's second-largest international airport and the second-busiest (by total passenger traffic) in the United Kingdom (after Heathrow).[6] Gatwick is Europe's leading airport for point-to-point flights[nb 2][7] and has the world's busiest single-use runway, with a maximum of 55 aircraft movements per hour.[8] 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.[9] In 2013, 35.4 million passengers passed through the airport.[10]

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.[11] US Airways, Gatwick's last remaining US carrier, ended service from the airport on 30 March 2013.[12] This leaves Gatwick without a scheduled American airline for the first time in over 35 years.[13] The airport is a base for scheduled airlines Aer Lingus, British Airways (BA), EasyJet, Monarch Airlines, Norwegian Air Shuttle and Virgin Atlantic and charter operators such as Thomas Cook Airlines and Thomson Airways. Gatwick is unique amongst London's airports in its representation of the three main airline business models: full service, low-no frills and charter.[14] During Gatwick's 2011–12 financial year,[nb 3] these accounted for 33, 55 and 11 percent of total passenger traffic respectively.[15]

BAA Limited and its predecessors, BAA plc and the British Airports Authority, owned and operated Gatwick from 1 April 1966 to 2 December 2009.[16][17] On 17 September 2008, BAA announced it would sell Gatwick after the publication of a report by the Competition Commission about 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 completed on 3 December.[18]


Old map of Gatwick Airport area
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.

The name "Gatwick" was first recorded as "Gatwik" in 1241 (the name of a manor) on the site of today's airport, on the northern edge of the North Terminal's aircraft taxiing area; until the 19th century, it was owned by the De Gatwick family.[19] Its name derives from the Anglo-Saxon gāt (goat) and wīc (dairy farm); i.e. "goat farm".[20]

The London and Brighton Railway opened on 21 September 1841, and ran near Gatwick Manor. In 1890, the descendants of the original owners sold the area to the newly established Gatwick Race Course Company. The new owners opened a racecourse the following year adjacent to the London-Brighton railway, and a dedicated station included sidings for horse boxes.[19] The course hosted steeplechases and flat races, including the Grand National during the First World War in 1916, 1917 and 1918.[19]


During the late 1920s, land adjacent to the racecourse (at Hunts Green Farm, along Tinsley Green Lane) was used as an aerodrome; it was licensed in August 1930 as Gatwick Aerodrome after a change of owners.[21] Later that year the Surrey Aero Club was formed at the aerodrome by Ronald Waters, manager of Home Counties Aircraft Service (based at Penshurst Airfield in Kent). The club used the Hunts Green farmhouse as its clubhouse.[22][23][24]

The Redwing Aircraft Company bought the aerodrome in 1932, and operated a flying school; it was also used for pilots flying in for races. In 1933, the Air Ministry approved commercial flights from Gatwick, and the aerodrome was sold for £13,500 to investor Morris Jackaman. Jackaman formed a new airport company, Airports Limited, in 1934. Hillman's Airways became Gatwick's first commercial airline operator, beginning scheduled service from the airport to Belfast and Paris.

In 1935, a new airline, Allied British Airways, was formed with the merger of Hillman's Airways, United Airways and Spartan Airways. The new carrier, which shortened its name to British Airways, became Gatwick's principal operator.[19] The lack of adequate space at Heston Aerodrome resulted in Airwork Services' relocating to Gatwick.

Biplane at terminal at night, with people in background
British Airways Ltd. DH.86 at the Beehive terminal building in 1936

On 6 July 1935, the aerodrome closed temporarily for renovations, which included the construction of the "Beehive", the world's first circular terminal building. In September the Gatwick railway station opened, served by two trains per hour on the Victoria-Brighton line. On 30 September, the Tinsley Green station opened 0.85 mi (1.37 km) south of the present Gatwick station.

The first scheduled flight departed from the Beehive terminal on 17 May 1936, bound for Paris. The airfare was £4 5s, including a first-class rail ticket from London Victoria Station.[19] The airport was officially reopened on 6 June 1936 by the Secretary of State for Air, Lord Swinton. The opening ceremony of the Beehive, the airport's new terminal, was held 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, the 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.[25][26][27][28][29][30][31]

Two fatal accidents occurred (in September and November 1936), raising questions about the airport's safety.[32][33][34] The area was foggy, and its clay soil drained poorly; this caused the new subway to flood after rain. As a result, and because longer landing strips were needed, the pre-war British Airways moved to Croydon Airport in 1937. Gatwick returned to private flying, and was used as a Royal Air Force (RAF) flying school.[19] The airport was requisitioned by the Air Ministry in September 1939,[19] becoming a base for RAF night-fighters and an Army co-operation squadron during the Second World War (primarily for repairs and maintenance).[35] Racing at Gatwick ended in 1940.


Although the airport was officially decommissioned in 1946, the Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation continued operating it as a civil airfield (initially for a six-month trial period).[19] 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".

In 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. In 1950, despite local opposition, the Cabinet chose Gatwick as an alternative to Heathrow, and British European Airways (BEA) began flights to the Channel Islands.[36]

In May 1950, Gatwick's first charter flight left the airport's original grass runway for Calvi on the Mediterranean island of Corsica (with a refuelling stop in Nice). Jersey-based UK independent[nb 5] airline Air Transport Charter operated this flight under contract to UK package tour pioneer Vladimir Raitz's Horizon Holidays with a 32-seat Douglas DC-3 carrying 11 passengers.[37][38]

In July 1952, the British government confirmed that the airport would be renovated, primarily for aircraft diverted from Heathrow in bad weather. That year, BEA established a base at Gatwick for its helicopter operations.[39] The airport was closed from 1956 to 1958 for the £7.8 million renovation;[19][35][40] during that period, BEA continued using Gatwick for its helicopter operations.[40] The renovations were performed by Alfred McAlpine;[41] they entailed diverting the A23 LondonBrighton trunk road and the River Mole, building a runway across the former racecourse and rebuilding the former racecourse railway station next to the new terminal.[40] The main pier of what is now the South Terminal was laid at this time.


On 27 May 1958, the original Gatwick railway station (which had been rebuilt) reopened as the Gatwick Airport station, and the Tinsley Green station was closed. Before the official opening, Transair operated the first commercial air service from the new Gatwick on 30 May 1958;[19][42][43] a Jersey Airlines de Havilland Heron was the first aircraft scheduled to arrive at the rebuilt airport.[21][44]

Queen Elizabeth II flew into Gatwick on 9 June 1958 in a de Havilland Heron of the Queen's Flight for the opening. The first "official" flight after the reopening ceremony was a BEA DC-3 operating a charter for the Surrey County Council to Jersey and Guernsey.[40] 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.[35] 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).[19] Another feature of Gatwick's new air terminal was its modular design, permitting subsequent, phased expansion.[40]

Between 1958 and 1959, Sudan Airways and BWIA West Indies Airways were among Gatwick's first scheduled overseas airlines. The former's Blue Nile service was the first scheduled flight from Gatwick by a foreign airline.[nb 6] The service, between Khartoum and Gatwick via Cairo, Athens and Rome, initially used Airwork Vickers Viscount aircraft. US supplemental carriers[nb 7] Seven Seas Airlines, Capitol International, President Airlines and Transocean Airlines and several South European and Scandinavian charter airlines were among the airport's early overseas users.[45]

Beginning in the late 1950s, 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.[46] It was followed by Morton Air Services and Hunting-Clan Air Transport, relocating from Croydon and Heathrow respectively. In July 1960, they merged with Airwork and Southend-based Air Charter to form British United Airways (BUA). BUA assumed its predecessors' services, becoming Britain's biggest independent (and Gatwick's foremost resident) airline during the 1960s.[45][47] By the end of the decade it was the airport's leading scheduled operator, with a 44,100 mi (71,000 km) network of short-, medium- and long-haul routes across Europe, Africa and South America using contemporary BAC One-Eleven and Vickers VC10 jet aircraft.[48]

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 service accounted for two-thirds to three-quarters of Gatwick's annual passengers, earning the airport its "bucket and spade" nickname.[45]

Small planes parked next to a runway, with terminal building in background
Gatwick in 1961

On 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)".[49] The following year, two additional piers were added to the terminal.[21]

On 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 the former's use for non-scheduled operations to "occasional" charter flights.[50] On 26 May, 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.[45][51][52]

BEA Helicopters made Gatwick their administrative and engineering base on 1 January 1964.[53] That year, 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.[19][54] By 1965 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).[19][35] Fully extendible jet bridges were added when the piers were rebuilt and extended during the late 1970s and early 1980s.[19]

On 9 April 1965, a BUA One-Eleven operated the type's first commercial service from Gatwick to Genoa.[55] BUA began Gatwick's first scheduled domestic jet service to Glasgow, Edinburgh and Belfast on 4 January 1966. The new service, known as "InterJet", made BUA the first UK domestic airline using jet aircraft exclusively.[56][57] Canadian charter airline Wardair launched the first of a series of transatlantic charter flights from Gatwick to Canada with Boeing 727s that year.[56] In May 1967 Green Line Coaches launched an hourly inter-airport express coach service between Gatwick and Heathrow,[58] Westward Airways commenced the first inter-airport air shuttle between Gatwick and Heathrow using Britten-Norman Islanders in June 1969.[59][60]


A second 875-foot (267 m) extension of Gatwick's runway was completed in 1970, bringing it to 9,075 ft (2,766 m) and permitting non-stop jet flights to the US east coast with a full payload and full range and payload operations by British United Airways (BUA) and Caledonian Airways BAC One-Eleven 500s.[19][61] BEA Airtours made Gatwick their base.[62] In September 1970, Westward Airways discontinued its inter-airport air shuttle between Gatwick and Heathrow.[63]

Caledonian Airways purchased British United Airways in November 1970, and the combined airline was initially known as Caledonian/BUA. The acquisition enabled Caledonian to become a scheduled airline; in addition to the routes inherited from BUA, it began scheduled service to Europe, North and West Africa, North America and the Middle and Far East during the 1970s and 1980s. In September 1971, the airline was renamed British Caledonian (BCal). In November, BCal began the first scheduled service between London and Paris by a private UK airline since the 1930s, operating between Gatwick and Le Bourget.[64] In March 1971, Green Line extended its Gatwick–Heathrow inter-airport express coach service to Luton Airport.[65]

In November 1972, Laker Airways became the first operator of wide-body aircraft at Gatwick after the introduction of two McDonnell-Douglas DC-10-10 aircraft.[66] Laker's DC-10 fleet expanded during the 1970s and early 1980s; this included longer-range -30s, introduced in 1980.

The third extension to Gatwick's runway was completed in 1973, 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.[19] Wardair became the first airline to operate Boeing 747s at Gatwick.[67] 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.[63]

Plane on tarmac, with other planes in the background
Apron in 1973

British Caledonian began the first transatlantic scheduled service by a private UK airline to New York and Los Angeles from Gatwick in April 1973.[68][69] The airline introduced its first two DC-10-30s (its first wide-body aircraft) in March and May 1977 at the airport.[70] On 26 September 1977 Laker Airways launched Skytrain, Gatwick's first daily long-haul, no-frills flights to John F. Kennedy (JFK) Airport.[71]

By the late 1970s, government initiatives supporting Gatwick's development resulted in steady growth in passenger traffic. Among these were policies seeking to transfer all scheduled service between London and the Iberian peninsula from Heathrow to Gatwick,[72] banning whole-plane charters at Heathrow[73] and requiring all airlines planning scheduled service to London for the first time to use Gatwick instead of Heathrow. The latter policy, known as the London [Air] Traffic Distribution Rules, became effective on 1 April 1978 retroactive to 1 April 1977. The rules were designed to increase Gatwick's utilisation to help it become profitable.[74][75] The government also approved a a high-frequency helicopter shuttle service linking Gatwick with Heathrow.[76]

On 1 April 1978, British Airways (BA) and Aer Lingus began daily scheduled flights between Gatwick and Dublin,[76][77] the first use of Gatwick as a London terminal for scheduled service between the British and Irish capitals and the first BA scheduled service from Gatwick with aircraft based at the airport.[nb 8][76] For Aer Lingus, it was the first scheduled service from Gatwick.[76][77]

The 20th anniversary of Gatwick's reopening by Queen Elizabeth II on 9 June 1978 coincided with the introduction by BCal, British Airways Helicopters and the BAA of Airlink, a helicopter shuttle service operating 10 times daily to Heathrow.[78][79] By the end of 1978, scheduled passengers outnumbered charter passengers for the first time in Gatwick's post-war history.[80] In August 1980, BCal launched the UK's first private scheduled air service to Hong Kong (via Dubai) from the airport,[68][69] and the airline began operating a small fleet of Boeing 747-200s from Gatwick in 1982.[81]

Larger planes lined up at a terminal
Apron in 1981 (note the prominence of wide-bodied aircraft)

Pope John Paul II arrived at the airport on 28 May 1982 on an Alitalia Boeing 727-200 Advanced, beginning the first papal visit to the United Kingdom.[82][83] The Pope left Gatwick at the end of his visit (on 2 June) aboard a BCal Boeing 707.[84] In December, the Gatwick Hilton opened as the first hotel in Britain part of an airport complex.[85]

Planes on tarmac
Gatwick in 1984, with new control tower in background

In 1983, as passenger numbers grew, a round satellite pier was added to the terminal building connected to the main terminal by the UK's first automated people mover system.[19] The system has been 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).[86][87][88]

Tall, white control tower
The airport control tower opened in 1984.

Gatwick's new air-traffic control tower opened in 1984, the tallest in the UK at the time.[88] That year, the Gatwick Express was launched by British Rail, the world's first non-stop airport-to-city-centre rail service (between the airport and Victoria Station).[88][89] Virgin Atlantic's first commercial flight left Gatwick for Newark Liberty International Airport on 22 June that year. In 1985, work began on the conversion of the northern parallel taxiway into a second runway for emergency use,[21] and in June of that year British Airways operated the first commercial Concorde flight from Gatwick.[21] The last Airlink helicopter shuttle service from Gatwick to Heathrow flew on 6 February 1986.[90]

During the year ending in April 1987, Gatwick overtook New York JFK as the world's second-busiest international airport with 15.86 million international passengers.[91] In late 1987 and early 1988, British Airways took over British Caledonian; the takeover began on 21 December 1987 and was completed on 14 April 1988.

Blue-and-grey terminal building and parking lot
Gatwick's North Terminal building and transit station

The North Terminal was opened by Queen Elizabeth on 18 March 1988.[92] A second aircraft pier was added to the terminal in 1991, and the terminals were connected by an automated rapid transit system. By the end of the 1989–90 fiscal year, scheduled passengers consistently outnumbered non-scheduled passengers at the airport; the latter had accounted for more than half the airport's passengers during the 1970s and most of the 1980s.[93]

In 1991, Dan-Air replaced Air Europe as Gatwick's principal short-haul scheduled operator after the latter ceased trading early that year; both played important roles in the development of the airport's short-haul scheduled-route network.[94][95][96][97][98][99] In 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.[19] The main runway was extended for a fourth time in 1998, reaching 10,879 ft (3,316 m), to enable longer-range operations with wide-body aircraft.[19] EasyJet began operating from the airport in December 1999; its first route served Geneva with aircraft and crew from EasyJet Switzerland based at Geneva Airport.


Long, enclosed bridge
The bridge to Pier 6 in the North Terminal opened in 2005.

From 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.[19] EasyJet began stationing planes at the airport the following year.

In 2005, Pier 6 opened at a cost of £110 million, adding an additional 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. An extension of the South Terminal's departure lounge was completed in May 2008, 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.

On 12 October 2009, Qatar Airways's daily QR076 Gatwick–Doha scheduled service became the first commercial flight powered by fuel derived from natural gas. The Airbus A340-600HGW operating the six-hour flight ran on a 50–50 blend of synthetic gas-to-liquids (GTL) and conventional, oil-based kerosene developed by Shell instead of oil-based aviation fuel.[100][101] Following the agreement to sell the airport to Global Infrastructure Partners, ownership of the airport transferred from BAA Limited to the consortium of private equity funds (led by GIP) on 3 December 2009.[18]


Enclosed corridor with moving walkway
Inside the world's largest air-passenger bridge at the North Terminal's Pier 6

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.[102] GIP raised the improvement budget to £1.172 billion,[103] and an additional £1 billion from 2014 to 2019 was agreed in February 2013.[104] 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.[105][106] On 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.[107][108]

On 6 July 2012, an Emirates Airbus 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.[109][110] Two compatible stands for the aircraft were completed in late February the following year, enabling jet bridge access from the western end of the North Terminal's Pier 6.[111][112] Emirates operated a second, one-off scheduled A380 flight from Gatwick on 26 March 2013 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.[112][113] On 30 March 2014, Emirates became Gatwick's first airline to operate a scheduled service with the A380.[114]

The demolition of Pier 1, Gatwick's second-oldest pier (built in 1962) was begun on 31 May 2013 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.[115][116]

Thomson Airways operated the airport's first Boeing 787 Dreamliner flight on 21 June 2013, a charter to Menorca which was also the commercial debut of the type for the airline.[117][118]


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:

OwnerShares [119]
Global Infrastructure Partners41.95%
Future Fund Board of Guardians17.23%
Abu Dhabi Investment Authority15.9%
The California Public Employees' Retirement System12.78%
National Pension Service of Korea12.4%

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.[120][121] 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.[122]

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).[123]



Airport concourse with roped-off queuing area
South Terminal zone K check-in concourse

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 specialized 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.[124]

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.[125]

Passengers with luggage looking at arriving-flights board
South Terminal international arrivals concourse

The Civil Aviation Authority Safety Regulation Group is in Aviation House.[126] WesternGeco, a geophysical services company, has its head office and Europe-Africa-Russia offices in Schlumberger House,[127][128] a 124,000 sq ft (11,500 m2) building on the airport grounds[129] 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.[129] Fastjet has its registered and head offices at Suite 2C in First Point at the airport.[130]

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.[131] 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.[132]

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 March 2014, the service is available to EasyJet, Norwegian Air Shuttle and Virgin Atlantic passengers.[133]

Flight movements[edit]

Airport, photographed from a plane
Aerial view of the airport, looking towards the North Terminal

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,[134] which is insufficient for the simultaneous use of both runways. During normal operations the northern runway is used as a taxiway,[19][87][88] consistent with its original construction (although it was gradually widened).[21]

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).[135] On both runways, a continuous descent approach is used to minimise the environmental effects of incoming aircraft, particularly at night.[136]

Night flights are subject to restrictions;[137] 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.[139]

Gatwick is one of three UK airports with body scanners, located in the main search areas of both terminals. Access to airside portions of the airport is controlled and maintained by the airport's team of security officers, regulated by the Department for Transport. Brook House, an immigration-removal centre of the UK Border Agency, was opened near the airport on 18 March 2009 by Home Secretary Jacqui Smith.[140]

Major airlines[edit]

Plane being serviced, with other planes in background
EasyJet Airbus A320 on stand at Gatwick

During the summer of 2014, EasyJet will fly 108 routes from Gatwick with a fleet of 57 aircraft.[141] The airport is the carrier's largest base, and its 16 million passengers per year accounted for 45 percent of Gatwick's 2013 total[142] (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][143][144]

The airport is a hub for British Airways; BA and EasyJet are Gatwick's dominant resident airlines. In passengers carried, the airlines (with Thomson Airways, Monarch Airlines and Thomas Cook Airlines) were among the five largest airlines operating at Gatwick in 2010.[145] 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.[146] By 2009, BA's share of Gatwick slots had fallen to 20 percent from its peak of 40 percent in 2001.[147] By 2010, this had declined to 16 percent.[148][149] By mid-2012, EasyJet had 45 percent of Gatwick's early-morning peak time slots (6 am to 8:55 am).[nb 9][150]

British Airways aircraft on stand at the North Terminal, with other aircraft in the background

By 2008 Flybe was Gatwick's third-largest airline (accounting for nine percent of its slots) and its fastest-growing airline.[147][151] 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][152] In March 2013 the airline announced that it would end operations at Gatwick, citing unsustainably high airport charges and increases in the UK Air Passenger Duty. Flybe sold its 25 pairs of daily slots[nb 10] at the airport to EasyJet for £20 million.[153][154] 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.[148][149][155]

The EU–US Open Skies Agreement, which became effective on 30 March 2008, led a number of airlines to downsize their transatlantic operations at Gatwick in favour of Heathrow. Continental Airlines was the second transatlantic carrier (after American Airlines)[156] to leave Gatwick after its decision to transfer the seasonal Cleveland service to Heathrow on 3 May 2009.[157][158]

Slots left by the US carriers (and the collapse of Zoom, XL Airways UK and Sterling) were taken by EasyJet, Flybe, Norwegian Air Shuttle and Ryanair. A number of new, full-service airlines have established operations at the airport, including Air China, Caribbean Airlines, Garuda Indonesia,[nb 11] Swiss International Air Lines, Turkish Airlines and Vietnam Airlines. This is part of the airport's strategy to attract higher-spending business travellers (countering its dependence on European low-cost and charter markets), increasing year-round capacity utilisation by smoothing peaks and troughs in traffic. Gatwick's success in persuading these airlines to launch (or re-launch) routes to overseas destinations important for business and leisure travel was aided by a lack of comparable slots at Heathrow.[159][160][161]

City Place Gatwick[edit]

Main article: City Place Gatwick
Low, white, round building
The Beehive, the original airport terminal

Gatwick has an office complex on the airport property: City Place Gatwick, developed by BAA Lynton.[162][163] The complex includes four buildings: the Beehive (the former terminal)[29][30][31] and 1, 2 and 3 City Place.[164] BDO International occupy offices at 2 City Place.[165] On 5 January 2012 Nestlé announced the relocation of its UK head office from Croydon to City Place Gatwick;[166] it occupies 1 City Place.

A number of airlines have had offices at the Beehive, including BEA/British Airways Helicopters,[39][167] Jersey Airlines, Caledonian Airways, Virgin Atlantic and GB Airways.[168][169][170][171] Other airlines which had headquarters on airport property (including office buildings on the site of, or adjacent to, the original 1930s airport) include British Caledonian,[172][173] British United Airways,[174] CityFlyer Express,[175] Laker Airways[176] and Tradewinds Airways.[177][178]

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 regular charter flights.[179]

Adria AirwaysSeasonal: Ljubljana (begins 17 May 2014)North
Aegean AirlinesSeasonal: AthensSouth
Aer LingusBelfast-City, Dublin, Knock
Seasonal charter: Friedrichshafen
Afriqiyah AirwaysTripoliSouth
Air AlgerieAlgiersSouth
Air Arabia MarocCasablanca, TangierSouth
Air ChinaSeasonal:[180] Beijing-CapitalNorth
Air EuropaMadridSouth
Air MaltaMaltaSouth
Air OneCatania, PalermoSouth
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, 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
Seasonal: Bari, Catania, Friedrichshafen (begins 20 December 2014), Geneva, Grenoble (begins 20 December 2014), Ibiza, Innsbruck, Paphos, Pisa, Thessaloniki
Bulgaria AirSeasonal: VarnaSouth
Caribbean AirlinesPort of SpainNorth
Croatia AirlinesSeasonal: SplitSouth
easyJetAberdeen, Alicante, Amsterdam, Antalya, Barcelona, Basel/Mulhouse, Belfast-International, Bologna, Brussels, Bucharest, Budapest, Catania, Düsseldorf, Edinburgh, Faro, Fuerteventura, Geneva, Gibraltar, Glasgow, Gran Canaria, Hurghada, Inverness, Isle of Man, Izmir, Jersey, Kraków, Lanzarote, Larnaca, Lisbon, Lyon, Málaga, Malta, Marrakech, Moscow-Domodedovo, Murcia, Naples, Newcastle upon Tyne, Nice, Palma de Mallorca, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Porto, Santiago de Compostela, Sharm el-Sheikh, Strasbourg, Sofia, Tallinn, Tel Aviv-Ben Gurion,[181] Tenerife-South
Seasonal: Bari, Bastia(begins 12 July 2014), Bodrum, Cephalonia, Chania, Corfu, Dalaman, Grenoble, Ibiza, Kos, La Rochelle, Nantes, Rhodes, Salzburg, Split, Turin, Zakynthos
easyJetAgadir, Almería, Athens, Bergen (ends 1 June 2014), Berlin-Schönefeld, Bordeaux, Cologne/Bonn, Copenhagen, Funchal, Hamburg, Innsbruck, Luxembourg, Madrid, Marseille, Milan-Linate, Milan-Malpensa, Montpellier, Munich, Olbia, Palermo, Paphos, Pisa, Prague, Rome-Fiumicino, Seville, Thessaloniki, Toulouse, Valencia, Venice-Marco Polo, Verona, Vienna, Zagreb (ends 24 October 2014), Zürich
Seasonal: Ajaccio, Biarritz, Dubrovnik, Heraklion, Kalamata, Menorca, Mykonos, Santorini-Thira
easyJet SwitzerlandBasel/Mulhouse, GenevaNorth
Gambia BirdBanjul, FreetownSouth
Garuda IndonesiaJakarta-Soekarno Hatta (begins 8 September 2014)[182]North
GermaniaSeasonal: Erfurt-Weimar, Pristina[183]South
Hi FlySal, Ascension Island, Mount PleasantSouth
MeridianaNaples, Cagliari, OlbiaNorth
Monarch AirlinesAgadir, Alicante, Barcelona, Enfidha (begins 4 May 2014),[184] Faro, Hurghada Funchal, Lanzarote, Málaga, Menorca, Nice, Palma de Mallorca, Sharm el Sheikh, Tenerife-South [185]
Seasonal: Antalya, Bodrum, Dalaman, Dubrovnik, Friedrichshafen, Grenoble, Heraklion, Ibiza, Larnaca, Paphos, Venice-Marco Polo, Verona
Seasonal charter: Banjul, Cephalonia, Chania, Corfu, Goa, Gran Canaria, Grenada, Hassi Messaoud, Heraklion, Huesca, Innsbruck, Kavala (begins 27 May 2014), 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, Alicante, Barcelona, Bergen, Budapest,[186] Copenhagen, Faro, Fuerteventura,[187] Gothenburg-Landvetter, Gran Canaria, Helsinki, Lanzarote, Larnaca,[186] Madrid (begins 2 June 2014),[188] Málaga, Nice, Oslo-Gardermoen, Oslo-Torp, Palma de Mallorca, Rome-Fiumicino, Stavanger, Stockholm-Arlanda, Tenerife-South, Tromsø, Trondheim
Seasonal: Ålesund, Catania,[186] Corfu (begins 19 July 2014),[186] Dubrovnik, Ibiza, Santorini,[186] Split
Norwegian Air Shuttle
operated by Norwegian Long Haul
Fort Lauderdale (begins 4 July 2014),[186] Los Angeles (begins 2 July 2014),[186] New York-JFK (begins 3 July 2014)[186]South
NouvelairSeasonal charter: Djerba, MonastirSouth
Royal Air MarocCasablanca, MarrakechNorth
RyanairCork, Dublin, Shannon
Seasonal: Kaunas, Seville
SATA InternationalPonta Delgada-João PauloSouth
Small Planet AirlinesSeasonal charter: Athens, Corfu, Chania, Gran Canaria, Kalamata, Larnaca, Kefalonia, Kos, Malta, Preveza, Rhodes, Santorini, Skiathos, Tirana (begins 17 July 2014), ZakynthosSouth
Swiss International Air LinesSeasonal: Geneva[190]South
Syphax AirlinesEnfidha [191]South
TAP PortugalLisbon, Porto
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, Fagernes, 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),[192] Mombasa, Montego Bay, Orlando-Sanford, Palma de Mallorca, Paphos, Phuket, Puerto Plata, Puerto Vallarta (begins 3 May 2014),[193] Punta Cana, Sal, Santa Cruz de la Palma, Sharm el-Sheikh, Taba, Tenerife-South, Varadero
Seasonal charter: Acapulco, Alghero, Araxos Patras, 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, Naples, Plovdiv, Preveza, Pula, Reus, Rhodes, Salzburg, Samos, Santorini, Skiathos, Sofia, Thessaloniki, Tivat, Toulouse, Venice-Marco Polo, 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 LuciaSouth
VuelingBarcelona, Florence, Seasonal: BilbaoNorth
WOW airReykjavík-KeflavíkSouth

Terminal moves[edit]

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.[142]

Busiest routes[edit]

In 2012 passenger numbers declined for some busy Spanish destinations, although there was an increase in for Barcelona, Milan, Nice and the long-haul destination Cancun, Mexico. The greatest 2012 increase in domestic passengers was for Aberdeen and other airports in Scotland and Northern Ireland, while short-haul traffic within England declined.

Busiest international routes, 2012[194]
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, 2012[194]
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



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.[19][45] Passenger numbers reached 1 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][45][56] 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.[195][196]

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.[63] Within a decade annual passenger numbers doubled, to 10 million; they doubled again, to over 20 million, by the late 1980s.[19][67][197][198] By the turn of the millennium, Gatwick handled more than 30 million passengers annually.[19]

Since 2000[edit]

Gatwick passenger totals, 2000–2013 (millions)
Updated: 31 March 2014.[2]
Number of passengers[nb 16]Percentage changeNumber of movements[nb 17]Freight (tonnes)
Source: UK Civil Aviation Authority[2]

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.[10] Long-haul[nb 18] and European scheduled passenger traffic recorded increases of 8.9 and 6.1 percent (to 5.07 and 19.65 million, respectively) over the previous year. North Atlantic, UK,[nb 19] Irish and European charter[nb 20] traffic saw decreases of 10.7, 1.4, 1.4 and 1.2 percent (to 1.65, 3.78, 1.27 and 4.03 million passengers respectively) over the corresponding figures for 2012.[10]

Compared with a year earlier, March 2014 passenger numbers increased by 5.1 percent to over 2.7 million (an increase of 131,500 over March 2013). Other long-haul,[nb 18] European scheduled and Irish traffic recorded increases of 13.1, 11.4 and 0.1 percent (to 505,200, 1.488 million and 105,100 passengers, respectively). North Atlantic, European charter[nb 20] and UK[nb 19] traffic recorded decreases of 21.7, 19.5 and 1 percent (to 100,500, 201,800 and 307,900 passengers, respectively). Air transport movements increased by 5.4 percent (to 18,891), and cargo volume decreased by 11.9 percent (to 7,525 metric tonnes). The 6.1-percent increase in total passenger traffic to and from destinations in Europe (to over 1.8 million) included additional passengers on scheduled service to and from business destinations such as Moscow, Istanbul, Stockholm and Copenhagen and leisure destinations in Spain and Portugal. The temporary frequency increase on Flybe's route to Newquay and additional growth on other UK domestic routes proved insufficient to fully compensate for the loss of passengers on account of the withdrawal of Gatwick–Manchester services by British Airways. Double-digit declines in North Atlantic and European charter[nb 20] traffic reflected cessation of flights by US Airways and an ongoing shift towards the scheduled market by low-cost leisure airlines such as Monarch. Leisure traffic to the Caribbean and, to a lesser extent, business and leisure traffic connecting with Emirates via Dubai accounted for the additional 58,700 passengers travelling to other long-haul[nb 18] destinations. Average monthly load factors were 83.1 percent.[199]

Ground transport[edit]

Grassy median, with billboard and road sign
North Terminal A23 roundabout

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.[200]


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.


Gatwick Express Route Map
London Victoria London Underground
East Croydon Tramlink
Gatwick Airport
Haywards Heath
Burgess Hill
Preston Park
Outdoor station with enclosed, overhead walkway
Airport railway station

The airport railway station, next to South Terminal, provides connections along the Brighton Main Line to Victoria Station and London Bridge and Brighton, Worthing, Eastbourne, Portsmouth and Bognor Regis to the south. Although the Gatwick Express to Victoria (operated by Southern) is the best-known service from the station, other companies (including First Capital Connect and First Great Western) also use the station and Southern services Victoria and London Bridge under its own name. First Capital Connect provide direct trains to Luton Airport; First Great Western trains directly link Reading and connect to Oxford and the west. Pedestrians may reach Heathrow by a X26 Express Bus outside East Croydon station, an intermediate stop for rail service to London.


National Express Coaches operates coaches to Heathrow Airport, Stansted Airport and cities and towns throughout the region and country. Oxford Bus Company operate direct services to Oxford, and EasyBus operates mini-coaches from both terminals to Earls Court and West Brompton.

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.

Terminal transfer[edit]

Gatwick Airport Shuttle
North Terminal 
to London
South Terminal 
National Rail Gatwick Airport
to Brighton
Blue, three-car train approaching a station
Airport inter-terminal transit

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",[201] 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.[201] 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)[202] 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;[203][204] it featured live journey information and sensory technology to count the number of passengers at stations.

Expansion proposals[edit]

Three doorways, with gate numbers and large flight screen
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.[87][88][205] 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.[206]

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.[207][208] Another proposal would extend the North Terminal south, with a passenger bridge in the area currently occupied by aircraft stands without jet bridges.[206] 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.[209]

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.

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. ^ British Airways, 15%; Thomson Airways, 11%; Monarch Airlines, 7%; Flybe and Thomas Cook Airlines, 6% each
  10. ^ including eight early-morning peak-time slot pairs
  11. ^ due to begin operations in September 2014
  12. ^ 1 April 1965 to 31 March 1966
  13. ^ 1 April 1967 to 31 March 1968
  14. ^ 1 April 1969 to 31 March 1970
  15. ^ 1 April 1973 to 31 March 1974
  16. ^ number of passengers including both domestic and international
  17. ^ number of movements represents total aircraft takeoffs and landings during that year
  18. ^ a b c excluding North Atlantic
  19. ^ a b including the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man
  20. ^ a b c including North Africa
  1. ^ a b "London Gatwick – EGKK". Retrieved 15 August 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c "CAA: Annual UK Airport Statistics". UK Civil Aviation Authority. Retrieved 31 March 2014. 
  3. ^ Oxford Dictionaries (retrieved 5 September 2012)
  4. ^ "Just where are our airports?". Channel 4 News. 18 August 2009. Retrieved 15 August 2010. 
  5. ^ The UK Integrated Aeronautical Information Package (AIRAC 1/2012) Civil Aviation Authority and National Air Traffic Control Services, 12 January 2012
  6. ^ "At a glance". Gatwick Airport. 2014. Retrieved 11 February 2014. 
  7. ^ "Low-cost carriers to play bigger long-haul role, says Gatwick boss". routesnews (> News). 3 December 2012. Retrieved 4 December 2012. 
  8. ^ Anderson, Steve (16 September 2013). "How Gatwick broke its own world record". NATS. Retrieved 11 February 2014. 
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External links[edit]