Gatwick Airport

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Gatwick Airport
Gatwick Airport logo.svg
London Gatwick, 19 April 2011 - Flickr - PhillipC.jpg
WMO: 03776
Airport typePublic
OperatorGatwick Airport Limited
ServesLondon, United Kingdom
LocationCrawley, West Sussex
Hub forBritish Airways
Elevation AMSL203 ft / 62 m
Coordinates51°08′53″N 000°11′25″W / 51.14806°N 0.19028°W / 51.14806; -0.19028Coordinates: 51°08′53″N 000°11′25″W / 51.14806°N 0.19028°W / 51.14806; -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.svg
London Gatwick, 19 April 2011 - Flickr - PhillipC.jpg
WMO: 03776
Airport typePublic
OperatorGatwick Airport Limited
ServesLondon, United Kingdom
LocationCrawley, West Sussex
Hub forBritish Airways
Elevation AMSL203 ft / 62 m
Coordinates51°08′53″N 000°11′25″W / 51.14806°N 0.19028°W / 51.14806; -0.19028Coordinates: 51°08′53″N 000°11′25″W / 51.14806°N 0.19028°W / 51.14806; -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 2.7 nautical miles (5.0 km; 3.1 mi) 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,[1] it is London's second-largest international airport and the second-busiest (by total passenger traffic) in the United Kingdom (after Heathrow).[5] Gatwick is Europe's leading airport for point-to-point flights[nb 2][6] and has the world's busiest single-use runway, with a maximum of 55 aircraft movements per hour.[7] 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.[8] In 2013, 35.4 million passengers passed through the airport.[9]

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.[10] US Airways, Gatwick's last remaining US carrier, ended service from Gatwick on 30 March 2013.[11] This leaves Gatwick without a scheduled US airline for the first time in over 35 years.[12] 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.[13] During Gatwick's 2011–12 financial year,[nb 3] these accounted for 33, 55 and 11 percent of total passenger traffic respectively.[14]

BAA Limited and its predecessors, BAA plc and the British Airports Authority, owned and operated Gatwick from 1 April 1966 to 2 December 2009.[15][16] On 17 September 2008, BAA announced it would sell Gatwick after the Competition Commission published a report 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.[17]


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.









Historic images[edit]


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 [128]
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.[129][130] 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.[131]

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).[132]



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.[133]

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.[134]

The Civil Aviation Authority Safety Regulation Group is in Aviation House.[135] WesternGeco, a geophysical services company, has its head office and Europe-Africa-Russia offices in Schlumberger House,[136][137] a 124,000 sq ft (11,500 m2) building on the airport grounds[138] 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.[138] Fastjet has its registered and head offices at Suite 2C in First Point at the airport.[139]

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.[140] 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.[141]

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.[142][143]

Flight movements[edit]

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,[144] which is insufficient for the simultaneous use of both runways. During normal operations the northern runway is used as a taxiway,[19][95][96] consistent with its original construction (although it was gradually widened).[23]

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).[145] On both runways, a continuous descent approach is used to minimise the environmental effects of incoming aircraft, particularly at night.[146]

Night flights are subject to restrictions;[147] 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.[149]

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.[150]

Major airlines[edit]

During the summer of 2014, EasyJet will fly 108 routes from Gatwick with a fleet of 57 aircraft.[151] The airport is the carrier's largest base, and its 16 million passengers per year accounted for 45 percent of Gatwick's 2013 total[152] (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][153][154]

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).[155] 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.[156] By 2009, BA's share of Gatwick slots had fallen to 20 percent from its peak of 40 percent in 2001.[157] By 2010, this had declined to 16 percent.[158][159] By mid-2012, EasyJet had 45 percent of Gatwick's early-morning peak time slots (6 am to 8:55 am).[nb 9][160]

By 2008, Flybe was Gatwick's third-largest airline (accounting for nine percent of its slots) and its fastest-growing airline.[157][161] 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][162] 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.[163][164] 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.[158][159][165]

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)[166] to leave Gatwick after its decision to transfer the seasonal Cleveland service to Heathrow on 3 May 2009.[167][168]

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, 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.[169][170][171]

City Place Gatwick[edit]

Main article: City Place Gatwick

Gatwick has an office complex on the airport property: City Place Gatwick, developed by BAA Lynton.[172][173] The complex includes four buildings: the Beehive (the former terminal)[34][35][36] and 1, 2 and 3 City Place.[174] BDO International occupy offices at 2 City Place.[175] On 5 January 2012 Nestlé announced the relocation of its UK head office from Croydon to City Place Gatwick;[176] it occupies 1 City Place.

A number of airlines have had offices at the Beehive, including BEA/British Airways Helicopters,[45][177] Jersey Airlines, Caledonian Airways, Virgin Atlantic and GB Airways.[178][179][180][181] 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,[182][183] British United Airways,[184] CityFlyer Express,[185] Laker Airways[186] and Tradewinds Airways.[187][188]


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.[189]

Adria AirwaysSeasonal: LjubljanaNorth
Aegean AirlinesSeasonal: Athens, Heraklion (begins 21 June 2015)South
Aer LingusBelfast-City, Dublin, Knock
Seasonal charter: Friedrichshafen
Afriqiyah AirwaysTripoliSouth
Air Arabia MarocCasablanca, TangierSouth
Air ChinaSeasonal:[190] Beijing-CapitalNorth
Air EuropaMadridSouth
Air MaltaMaltaSouth
Air TransatCalgary, Toronto-Pearson
Seasonal: Halifax, Montreal-Trudeau, St. John's (begins 18 June 2015),[191] Vancouver
Aurigny Air ServicesGuernseySouth
BH AirSeasonal charter: Burgas, Sofia, VarnaSouth
British AirwaysAlgiers, Alicante, Amsterdam, Antigua, Barcelona, Barbados, Bermuda, Bordeaux, Cancún, Colombo (ends 28 March 2015), Dubrovnik, Edinburgh, Faro, Funchal (begins 11 May 2015),[192] Fuerteventura (begins 13 December 2014),[193] Genoa, Glasgow-International, Gran Canaria (begins 29 March 2015),[192] Grenada, Jersey, Kingston, Larnaca, Lanzarote, Las Vegas, Málaga, Malta, Marrakech, Mauritius, Naples, Nice, Orlando, Port of Spain, Providenciales (begins 29 March 2015),[194] Punta Cana, Rome-Fiumicino, St Kitts, St Lucia, Salzburg, Seville (begins 29 March 2015),[192] Sharm el-Sheikh (begins 14 September 2015), Tampa, Tenerife-South, Tirana, Tobago, Turin, Venice-Marco Polo, Verona
Seasonal: Bari, Bodrum (begins 26 April 2015), Dalaman (begins 26 April 2015), Cagliari (begins 26 April 2015), Catania, Friedrichshafen (begins 20 December 2014), Geneva, Grenoble (begins 20 December 2014), Heraklion (begins 26 April 2015), Ibiza, Innsbruck, Malé,[195] Paphos, Pisa, Rhodes (begins 29 April 2015),[196] Thessaloniki
Caribbean AirlinesPort of SpainNorth
Croatia AirlinesSeasonal: SplitSouth
EasyJetAberdeen, Alicante, Amsterdam, Antalya, Barcelona, Basel/Mulhouse, Belfast-International, Bologna, Brussels, Bucharest (ends March 27, 2015), 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 (ends 27 March 2015), Nice, Palma de Mallorca, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Porto, Santiago de Compostela, Sharm el-Sheikh, Strasbourg, Sofia, Tallinn, Tel Aviv-Ben Gurion, Tenerife-South
Seasonal: Bari, Bastia, Brest, Bodrum, Cephalonia, Chania, Corfu, Dalaman, Grenoble, Ibiza, Kos, La Rochelle, Nantes, Reykjavík-Keflavík (begins 27 October 2014),[197] Rhodes, Salzburg, Split, Turin, Zakynthos
EasyJetAgadir, Almería, Athens, 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, Zürich
Seasonal: Ajaccio, Biarritz, Dubrovnik, Heraklion, Kalamata, Menorca, Mykonos, Santorini-Thira
easyJet SwitzerlandBasel/Mulhouse, GenevaNorth
FlynasJeddah, RiyadhSouth
Gambia BirdBanjul, FreetownSouth
Garuda IndonesiaAmsterdam, Jakarta-Soekarno HattaNorth
Seasonal: Erfurt-Weimar
Hi FlySalSouth
Iraqi AirwaysBaghdad, Sulaimaniyah
Mahan AirTehran-Imam Khomeini (begins 12 December 2014)[198][199][200]TBA
MeridianaNaples, Cagliari, OlbiaNorth
Monarch AirlinesAgadir, Alicante, Barcelona, Enfidha, Faro, Hurghada Funchal, Lanzarote, Málaga, Menorca, Nice, Palma de Mallorca, Sharm el Sheikh, Tenerife-South, Tobago
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, Kittilä, Kos, Lamezia Terme, Luxor, Malé, Mombasa, Montreal-Trudeau, Mytilene, Orlando-Sanford, Preveza, Rhodes, Skiathos, Sofia, Volos, Zakynthos
Montenegro AirlinesTivat, PodgoricaSouth
Norwegian Air ShuttleAalborg, Ålesund, Alicante, Barcelona, Bergen, Berlin-Schönefeld, Budapest, Copenhagen, Faro, Fuerteventura, Funchal (begins 28 October 2014),[201] Gothenburg-Landvetter, Gran Canaria, Helsinki, Lanzarote, Larnaca, Madrid, Málaga, Nice, Oslo-Gardermoen, Oslo-Torp, Palma de Mallorca, Rome-Fiumicino, Santa Cruz de la Palma (begins 1 November 2014),[201] Stavanger, Stockholm-Arlanda, Tenerife-South, Tromsø, Trondheim, Warsaw-Chopin
Seasonal: Catania, Corfu, Dubrovnik, Grenoble (begins 13 December 2014),[201] Ibiza, Salzburg (begins 13 December 2014),[201] Santorini, Split
Norwegian Air Shuttle
operated by Norwegian Long Haul[nb 11]
Fort Lauderdale, Los Angeles, New York-JFK, Orlando (begins 4 April 2015)[202]South
NouvelairSeasonal charter: Djerba, MonastirSouth
Pegasus AirlinesSeasonal: Antalya, Bodrum, DalamanNorth
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, ZakynthosSouth
operated by Travel Service Airlines
Seasonal charter: Corfu, Heraklion, Larnaca, Rhodes, Skiathos, ZakynthosSouth
Snowbird AirlinesEnontekiö (begins 25 November 2014)[203]South
Swiss International Air LinesSeasonal: GenevaSouth
Syphax AirlinesEnfidhaSouth
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, Genoa, Grenoble, Heraklion, Ibiza, Innsbruck, Lleida-Alguaire, Kalamata, Kefalonia, Kos, Larnaca, Lemnos, Luxor, Malta, Menorca, Naples, Olbia, Orlando, Palma de Mallorca, Preveza, Reus, Rhodes, Rovaniemi, Salzburg, Santorini, Skiathos, Sofia, Thessaloniki, Turin, Varadero, Zakynthos
Thomson AirwaysAgadir, Alicante, Antalya, Aswan, Banjul, Boa Vista, Cancún, Dalaman, Fuerteventura, Funchal, Girona, Gran Canaria, Heraklion , Lanzarote, La Romana, Luxor, Málaga,Malta, Marrakech, Marsa Alam, Mersa Matruh, Mauritius, Mombasa (suspended until 31 October 2014), Montego Bay, Orlando-Sanford, Palma de Mallorca, Paphos, Puerto Plata, Puerto Vallarta, 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: Bilbao
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.[152]

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[204]
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[204]
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][51] 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][51][62] 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.[205][206]

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.[69] Within a decade annual passenger numbers doubled, to 10 million; they doubled again, to over 20 million, by the late 1980s.[19][74][207][208] 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.[9] 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.[9]

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.[209]

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.[210]


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",[211] 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.[211] 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)[212] 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;[213][214] 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.[95][96][215] 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.[216]

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.[217][218] Another proposal would extend the North Terminal south, with a passenger bridge in the area currently occupied by aircraft stands without jet bridges.[216] 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.[219]

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. ^ temporarily operated by Norwegian Long Haul (pending approval of Norwegian Air International's US foreign air carrier permit application)
  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 including North Africa
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