Gatwick Airport[nb 1] (IATA: LGW, ICAO: EGKK) is located 3.1 mi (5.0 km) north of the centre of Crawley,West Sussex, and 29.5 mi (47.5 km) south of Central London. Also known as London Gatwick, it is London's second largest international airport and second busiest by total passenger traffic in the United Kingdom after Heathrow. Furthermore, Gatwick is Europe's leading airport for point-to-point flights[nb 2] and has the world's busiest single-use runway with up to 53 aircraft movements per hour in late-2012 and a maximum capacity of 55 movements per hour. 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.
In 2012, 34.2 million passengers passed through Gatwick.
BAA Limited and its predecessors, the British Airports Authority and BAA plc, owned and operated Gatwick continuously from 1 April 1966 until 2 December 2009. On 17 September 2008, BAA announced it would sell Gatwick following a report by the Competition Commission into BAA's market dominance in London and the South East. On 21 October 2009, it was announced that an agreement had been reached to sell Gatwick to a consortium led by Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP), who also have a controlling interest in London City and Edinburgh[nb 4] airports, for £1.51 billion. The sale was formally completed on 3 December 2009. On this day, Gatwick's ownership passed from BAA to the GIP-led consortium.
1241: The name "Gatwick" is first recorded, as Gatwik, the name of a manor, on the site of today's airport (under the northmost edge of North Terminal's aircraft taxiing area). Until the 19th century, it was owned by the De Gatwick family. Its name is derived from the Anglo-Saxon words gāt, 'goat', and wīc, 'dairy farm', i.e. 'goat farm'. (On the adjacent map, Gatwick Manor is at the northwest end of the racecourse; its name is somewhat obscured by the map's paper being eroded over an old crease. The site of the modern runway runs roughly from the racecourse to the lane junction at Hydefield farm southeast of Charlwood.
1932: Redwing Aircraft Company bought the aerodrome and operated a flying school. The aerodrome was also used for pilots flying in to races.
1933: The Air Ministry approved commercial flights from Gatwick. The aerodrome was sold for £13,500 to Morris Jackaman, an investor.
1934: Morris Jackaman formed a new airport company named Airports Limited. Hillman's Airways became Gatwick's first commercial airline operator as a result of starting scheduled services from the airport to Belfast and Paris.
September and November 1936: Two fatal accidents questioned the airport's safety. Moreover, the area was prone to fog and waterlogging as a result of poor drainage due to heavy clay soils. This in turn caused the new subway to flood after rain.
1937: As a result and because longer landing strips were needed, the pre-warBritish Airways moved to Croydon Airport. Gatwick went back to private flying and was contracted as a Royal Air Force (RAF) flying school. The airport also attracted repair companies.
September 1939: The Air Ministry requisitioned Gatwick.
1946: Gatwick Airport was officially decommissioned, but the Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation continued to operate it as a civil airfield, initially for a six-month trial period. During that period, Airwork provided maintenance facilities at Gatwick and other contemporary charter companies flying war-surplus aircraft started to use the airport; however, persistent drainage issues affected the airport's usage. Most commercial air services were cargo flights. The original Gatwick railway station was renamed Gatwick Racecourse.
November 1948: The owners warned that the airport could be de-requisitioned by November 1949 and revert to private use. Stansted was favoured as London's second airport and Gatwick's future was in doubt.
1952: BEA established a base at Gatwick for its helicopter operations.
July 1952: The Government said that the airport was to be developed, primarily to cater to aircraft diverted from Heathrow in bad weather.
1956–1958: Temporary closure for a £7.8 million renovation. During that period, BEA continued using Gatwick for its helicopter operations. The redevelopment was carried out by Alfred McAlpine. It entailed diverting the A23 London–Brighton trunk road and the River Mole, and building the runway across the erstwhile racecourse site and rebuilding the former racecourse railway station alongside the new terminal. The main pier of what is now the South Terminal was built during this construction work.
27 May 1958: The original Gatwick railway station, which had been rebuilt, reopened as Gatwick Airport. The railway station at Tinsley Green shut and never reopened.
A PEOPLExpressBoeing 747 at the satellite pier of the South Terminal in June 1983. The North Terminal is under construction in the background
9 June 1958: Queen Elizabeth II flew into the new airport in a de Havilland Heron of the Queen's Flight to perform the opening. The first "official" flight to depart Gatwick following the reopening ceremony was a BEADC-3 operating a charter for Surrey County Council to Jersey and Guernsey. Gatwick was the world's first airport with a direct railway link and the first to combine mainline rail travel, trunk road facilities and an air terminal building in one unit. It was also one of the first to have an enclosed pier-based terminal, which allowed passengers to walk under cover to waiting areas close to aircraft with only a short walk outdoors. Another novel feature of Gatwick's new air terminal was its modular design. This permitted subsequent, phased expansion.
Late 1950s: From here on, a number of Britain's contemporary private airlines joined Airwork, Gatwick's only surviving pre-war private airline, at the airport. The first was Transair, which relocated to Gatwick from Croydon. It was followed by Morton Air Services and Hunting-Clan, which relocated from Croydon and Heathrow respectively. In July 1960, these merged with Airwork and Southend-based Air Charter to form British United Airways. Throughout the 1960s, BUA was Britain's largest independent airline. During that decade, it became Gatwick's largest resident airline. By the end of the decade, it also became 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. These were served with contemporary BAC One-Eleven and Vickers VC10jet aircraft.
Early 1960s: Despite rapid expansion of BUA's and other airlines' scheduled activities at Gatwick, the airport was dominated by non-scheduled services well into the 1980s. The bulk of these were inclusive tour (IT) passenger services provided by a growing number of British independent operators and their overseas counterparts. During the 1960s, IT services accounted for between two-thirds and three-quarters of Gatwick's annual passengers, earning the airport its bucket and spade tag.
1 April 1961: BEA began operating half its London–Paris flights from Gatwick. On that day, Gatwick's designation changed to London (Gatwick) to emphasise its status as a London airport vis-à-vis London Airport, which in turn was redesignated as London (Heathrow).
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 only.
Also in 1964: Gatwick's original, relatively short 7,000 ft (2,100 m) late-1950s paved runway was extended by 1,200 ft (370 m) to 8,200 ft (2,500 m) due to new noise rules governing the operation of jet aircraft at airports close to or surrounded by densely populated urban areas.
1965: By now, each of the three piers was nearly 1,000 ft (300 m) long and the entire terminal complex had a floor area of 100,000 sq ft (9,300 m2). Fully extendible jet bridges were added when the piers were rebuilt and extended in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
9 April 1965: A BUA One-Eleven operated the type's first revenue service from Gatwick to Genoa.
4 January 1966: BUA commenced Gatwick's first scheduled domestic jet services to Glasgow, Edinburgh and Belfast. The new services, branded as InterJet, made BUA the first UK domestic airline plying trunk routes exclusively with jet equipment.
September 1970: Cessation of the Westward Airways inter-airport air shuttle between Gatwick and Heathrow.
Late November 1970: BUA was acquired by the Scottish charter airline Caledonian Airways. The combined airline was known as Caledonian//BUA. BUA's takeover by Caledonian enabled the latter to transform itself into a scheduled airline. In addition to scheduled routes inherited from BUA, it launched scheduled services to Europe, North and West Africa, North America as well as the Middle and Far East during the 1970s and 80s.
March 1971: Green Line extended its Gatwick–Heathrow inter-airport express coach service to Luton Airport.
1973: Third extension of Gatwick's runway to 10,165 ft (3,098 m) to allow non-stop narrowbody operations to the US west coast with a full payload and commercially viable, long-range widebody operations.Wardair became the first airline to operate Boeing 747s at Gatwick.KLM complemented its existing Heathrow–Amsterdam service with a new Gatwick–Amsterdam route, making it the first non-UK airline to base its decision to split operations between Heathrow and Gatwick on its own commercial judgement rather than the implementation of government directives.
April 1973: BCal inaugurated the first transatlantic scheduled services by a private UK airline to New York and Los Angeles from Gatwick.
March and May 1977: BCal introduced its first two DC-10-30s at Gatwick.
Late 1970s: Several Government initiatives in support of Gatwick's development resulted in steady growth in passenger numbers in the late 1970s. Amongst these were new policies seeking the transfer of all scheduled services between London and the Iberian peninsula from Heathrow to Gatwick, banning whole-plane charters at Heathrow and compelling all airlines that were planning to operate a scheduled service to or from London for the first time to use Gatwick instead of Heathrow. The latter policy was officially known as the "London [Air] Traffic Distribution Rules". It came into effect on 1 April 1978 and was applied retroactively from 1 April 1977. These rules were designed to achieve a fairer distribution of traffic between London Heathrow and London Gatwick, the UK's two main international gateway airports. The policy was aimed at increasing Gatwick's utilisation to help the airport make a profit. Another pro-active measure the Government took to aid Gatwick's development at the time was to grant permission for a high-frequency helicopter shuttle service linking both of London's main airports.
1 April 1978: British Airways (BA) and Aer Lingus launched daily scheduled flights between Gatwick and Dublin. This event marked the first time Gatwick was used as a London terminal for scheduled services linking the British and Irish capitals. For British Airways it marked the first time the airline had operated scheduled services from Gatwick with an aircraft based at the airport.[nb 8] For Aer Lingus this was the first time it had operated a scheduled service from Gatwick.
9 June 1978: The 20th anniversary of Gatwick's reopening by Queen Elizabeth II coincided with the joint inauguration by BCal, British Airways Helicopters and the BAA of Airlink, a new helicopter shuttle service linking the airport with London Heathrow.
Year ending December 1978: Scheduled passengers outnumbered charter passengers for the first time in Gatwick's post-war history.
August 1980: BCal launched the UK's first private scheduled air service to Hong Kong (via Dubai) from Gatwick.
2 June 1982: At the end of his first visit to the British Isles, Pope John Paul II departed Gatwick on board a BCal Boeing 707 bound for Rome.
December 1982: The Gatwick Hilton, the first hotel in Britain to form part of an airport complex, opened.
1983: As passenger numbers grew, a circular satellite pier was added to the terminal building, connected to the main terminal by the UK's first automated people mover system (now replaced with a walkway and travelators). There was a need for more capacity and a second terminal was planned. As a result, construction began on the North Terminal, the largest construction project south of London in the 1980s. It cost £200 million.
End of the 1989/90 financial year: From here on, passengers on scheduled services consistently outnumbered those on non-scheduled services at Gatwick. The latter had accounted for more than half the airport's passengers during the 1970s and most of the 1980s.
1991: The North Terminal was expanded with a second aircraft pier.
The Bridge to Pier 6 in the North Terminal opened in 2005
2000 and 2001: Gatwick's two terminals were further expanded to add more seating, retail space and catering outlets, at a total cost of £60 million. This included an extension to the North Terminal departure lounge completed in 2001.
2002: EasyJet began stationing aircraft and crews at Gatwick.
2005: A £110 million additional aircraft pier (Pier 6) opened, adding an extra 11 pier-served aircraft stands. Linked by the world's largest air passenger bridge to the North Terminal's main building, it spans a taxiway, giving arriving and departing passengers views of the airport and taxiing aircraft. The same year, an extension and refurbishment to the South Terminal's baggage reclaim hall was completed, doubling it in size.
May 2008: Another extension was completed to the South Terminal departure lounge. In addition, a second-floor security search area opened. This terminal is now mainly used by low-cost airlines. Many former users have moved to the newer North Terminal.
Inside the world's largest air passenger bridge at the North Terminal's Pier 6
Following the sale of the airport to GIP, Gatwick's new owners announced their intention to proceed with a previously agreed £1 billion investment programme to upgrade and expand the airport's existing infrastructure to transform the passenger experience. It is hoped that this will firmly establish Gatwick as the airport of choice for air travellers whose journey begins and/or ends in London and other parts of South East England. According to Virgin Atlantic communications director Paul Charles, the prospect of offering much better facilities to Gatwick's airlines and passengers as a result of the change in ownership presents a long-term opportunity to leapfrog Heathrow in terms of airport infrastructure and passenger amenities. It is expected that GIP will use its relationships to persuade new and existing airlines to consider launching additional routes from Gatwick, reinstating services suspended as a result of the global recession in the wake of the financial crisis that began in 2007 and Open Skies and/or expanding their existing flying programme from the airport in the near future.
18 June 2010: It was announced that Californian state pension fund CalPERS had spent approximately US$155 million (£104.8 million) on acquiring a 12.7% stake in Gatwick Airport from GIP, marking the US$200 billion fund's first direct infrastructure investment.
22 June 2010: Gatwick Airport Limited (GAL) launched a new competitive brand featuring the tagline "YOUR LONDON AIRPORT – Gatwick" alongside a rebrand from "London Gatwick Airport" to the original "Gatwick Airport". Created by advertising agency Lewis Moberly, the new blue-and-white corporate identity is intended as a challenger brand to BAA and aims to differentiate Gatwick from rival Heathrow in support of majority owner GIP's corporate goal to establish Gatwick as London's airport of choice for passengers and airlines.
16 November 2010: GAL announced the appointment of Guy Stephenson as its new commercial director, with responsibility for the airport's airline route development and car parking strategies.
21 December 2010: The Financial Times reported that the A$69 billion (£44 billion) Future Fund, a sovereign wealth fund set up by the Australian government in 2006, intended to buy a 17.2% stake in Gatwick Airport from GIP for £145 million. This transaction will complete GIP's equity syndication process for Gatwick. Although this will reduce GIP's stake to 42%, the private equity firm's extra voting rights will enable it to retain control of the airport's board.
6 July 2012: An EmiratesAirbus A380 operated the type's first scheduled service from Gatwick to mark the airline's 25th anniversary at the airport, in the UK and Europe, as well as to test the aircraft's suitability for the airport.
Late February 2013: Completion of construction and testing by GAL of two A380-compatible stands enabling jet bridge access at the Western end of Pier 6 at Gatwick's North Terminal.
26 March 2013: Emirates operated a second, "one-off" scheduled A380 flight from Gatwick to test the airport's new three-bridge gate facility at Pier 6's stand 110. This event marked the official opening of Gatwick's first pier-served A380 stand, which cost £6.4 million to build.
31 May 2013: Start of demolition of Pier 1, Gatwick's second-oldest pier dating from 1962, to enable its replacement with a new £180 million, two-storey structure featuring five pier-served aircraft stands and an automated baggage storage facility. The new structure is due to become operational by summer 2015.
Gatwick handled 186,172 passengers during its first seven months of operation following the 1956–58 reconstruction. The number of passengers passing through the airport each year had grown to 368,000 by 1959 and 470,000 by 1960.
Passenger numbers at Gatwick reached 1 million for the first time in the mid-1960s, with a record 1.4 million passing through the airport in the 1965/66 financial year.[nb 9] Gatwick welcomed 2 million passengers for the first time in the 1967/68 financial year[nb 10] and 3 million in the 1969/70 financial year,[nb 11] by which time British United Airways accounted for almost half of all passengers.
By the early 1970s, 5 million passengers used Gatwick each year, with a record 5.7 million using the airport in the 1973/74 financial year.[nb 12] During that period, British Caledonian accounted for approximately half of all and three-quarters of scheduled passengers.
Within a decade, annual passenger numbers doubled to 10 million. They doubled again to over 20 million by the late 1980s.
By the turn of the millennium, Gatwick handled more than 30 million passengers annually.
34.2 million passengers passed through London Gatwick in 2012 representing an increase of 1.7% over the 33.7 million passengers using Gatwick in 2011. This figure was around 1 million short of the 35.2 million the airport handled in 2007, the peak year for annual passenger traffic.
Amongst individual passenger traffic components, European scheduled, other long-haul[nb 15] and UK[nb 16] traffic recorded increases of 5, 4.2 and 2.6% to 18.52, 4.66 and 3.83 million passengers respectively over the corresponding figures for 2011. On the other hand, European charter,[nb 17]North Atlantic and Irish traffic saw decreases of 10.8, 5.2 and 0.6% to 4.08, 1.85 and 1.28 million passengers respectively over the corresponding figures for 2011.
Compared with October 2012, October 2013 passenger numbers saw a 4.3% increase to over 3.1 million, representing 128,000 more passengers compared with the same year-earlier period. Amongst individual passenger traffic components, other long-haul[nb 15] European scheduled and Irish traffic recorded increases of 9, 8.1% and 2.2% to 430,400, 1.811 million and 112,600 passengers respectively. North Atlantic, European charter,[nb 17] and UK[nb 16] traffic saw decreases of 10.5, 7.1 and 2.2% to 147,000, 273,000 and 336,600 passengers respectively. Air transport movements increased by 4.3% to 22,003. Cargo volume decreased by 2.5% to 8,531 metric tonnes. Total Erupean passenger traffic included a 5.6% increase in traffic to European and North African destinations to over 2.3 million. This included an additional 100,000 passengers travelling on routes serving business destinations including Geneva, Luxembourg and Istanbul but 7,700 fewer passengers travelling on UK domestic routes[nb 16] as passengers lost as a result of the withdrawal of British Airways' Manchester route exceeded the additional 13,400 travelling on Aer Lingus's new Belfast route as well as the additional 3,200 travelling on EasyJet's new Isle of Man route. Leisure traffic to Sri Lanka and Africa as well as business traffic to Vietnam and the Middle and Far East, including connecting traffic via Dubai, accounted for the additional 35,500 passengers travelling to other long-haul[nb 15] destinations.. Average monthly load factors stood at to 81.7%.
South Terminal zone A check-in concourse
Gatwick Airport has two terminals, North and South. Both have shops and restaurants, landside and airside. Disabled passengers can travel through all areas. There are facilities for baby changing and feeding, and play areas and video games for children. Business travellers have lounges offering business facilities. On 31 May 2008, Virgin Holidays opened V Room, Gatwick's first dedicated lounge for leisure travellers. Use of this lounge is exclusive to Virgin Holidays customers flying from the airport to Orlando, Las Vegas and the Caribbean with sister airline Virgin Atlantic. On 9 April 2009, a new independent pay-for-access lounge called No.1 Traveller opened in the South Terminal. There is also a conference and business centre. Furthermore, the airport has several on- and off-site hotels. These range from executive to a capsule hotel. The airport has Anglican, Catholic and Free Church chaplains. In addition, there is a multi-faith prayer room and counselling room in each terminal. A daily service is led by one of the chaplains. The prayer room is open to all faiths.
South Terminal international arrivals concourse
The Civil Aviation Authority Safety Regulation Group is in Aviation House.WesternGeco, a geophysical services company, has its head office and its Europe/Africa offices in the Schlumberger House, a 124,000 sq ft (11,500 m2) building on the grounds of Gatwick Airport, near the south terminal. WesternGeco had a 15-year lease on the building which was scheduled to expire in June 2008. In 2007, WesternGeco reached an agreement with its landlord, BAA Lynton, and extended its lease at Schlumberger House until 2016. Its initial rent was £2.1 million.Fastjet Plc has its registered office and head office at Suite 2C in First Point at Gatwick Airport.
In 2010, EasyJet, British Airways (BA), Thomson Airways, Monarch Airlines and Thomas Cook Airlines were Gatwick's five biggest airlines, in terms of passengers carried. Amongst these, BA and EasyJet were its two dominant resident airlines. In late-2007, BA and EasyJet accounted for 25% and 17% of Gatwick's slots. The latter's share of slots subsequently rose to 24% as a result of its takeover of BA franchise carrier GB Airways, which accounted for 7% of slots (late-2007). The acquisition of GB Airways in March 2008 resulted in EasyJet becoming Gatwick's biggest short-haul operator accounting for 29% of short-haul passengers (ahead of BA's 23%) and Gatwick's largest airline overall, with flights to 62 domestic and European destinations (at April 2008). Following the launch of flights to Moscow Domodedovo on 18 March 2013, EasyJet will serve more than 100 routes from Gatwick, using a fleet of 54 aircraft. Gatwick is the airline's largest base, where its 14 million passengers per annum accounted for 38% of the airport's yearly total in 2012/13.[nb 18] This includes more than two million business travellers, putting EasyJet firmly ahead of Gatwick's next biggest passenger-carrying airline, British Airways, whose 4.5 million passengers accounted for 14% of total passenger traffic in 2011/12.[nb 3]
By late-2008, EasyJet's share of Gatwick slots had grown to about 26%, while Flybe had become Gatwick's third-largest slot-holder accounting for 9% of the airport's slots, as well as its fastest-growing airline. For the third consecutive year, the latter airline maintained its position as Gatwick's largest domestic operator, whose eight routes serving the airport from other destinations in the UK, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man carried 1.2 million passengers in its 2011/12 financial year.[nb 3] From a peak of 40% in 2001, BA's share of Gatwick slots declined by 50% to 20% by summer 2009. By summer 2013, this had further declined to 16%. By late-2011, EasyJet's share of Gatwick slots had further grown to 35%. As of summer 2012, EasyJet controlled 45% of Gatwick's early morning peak time slots from 6am to 8.55am, as many as the airport's next five biggest users combined.[nb 19] Following Flybe's decision to pull out of Gatwick at the end of March 2014 – citing unsustainably high airport charges and the negative impact of successive, large increases in UK Air Passenger Duty as reasons – and sell its 25 pairs of daily slots[nb 20] at the airport to EasyJet for £20 million, the latter's share of Gatwick slots is set to increase from 41% in summer 2013 to 47% by summer 2014, giving EasyJet almost three times as many slots as BA at Gatwick.
Changing character of airport
South Terminal zone K check-in concourse
According to the evidence Flybe submitted at a Competition Commission hearing into BAA Limited's market dominance at the beginning of 2008, Gatwick's dynamics were changing rapidly as a result of recent changes in its traffic pattern. These were likely to transform the airport from a secondary intercontinental airline hub into a predominantly European and domestic operation feeding London and specifically the south London market.
Snow ploughs lined up at Gatwick in April 2012, with the Air Traffic Control Tower visible in the background
Gatwick operates as a single runway airport. It has two runways; however, the northern runway (08L/26R) can only be used when the main runway (08R/26L) is out of use, for example because of maintenance or an accident. The runways cannot be used at the same time because there is not enough separation between them, and during normal operation the northern runway is used as a taxiway. The second runway was originally built as a taxiway and was gradually widened.
Various aircraft at the North Terminal's Pier 4
The main runway operates with a Category III Instrument Landing System (ILS). The northern runway does not have an ILS and, when it is in use, arriving aircraft use a combination of Distance Measuring Equipment and assistance from the approach controller using surveillance radar, or where equipped and subject to operator approval, an RNAV (GNSS) Approach, which is also available for the main runway. On all runways, considerable use is made of continuous descent approach to minimise environmental effects of incoming aircraft, particularly at night.
Night flights are subject to restrictions. Between 11 pm and 7 am the noisiest aircraft (rated QC/8 and QC/16) may not operate. In addition, between 11.30 pm and 6 am (the night quota period) there are three limits:
An overall limit on the number of flights;
A Quota Count system which limits the total of noise permitted, but allows operators to choose to operate fewer noisy or a greater number of quieter aircraft;
The airport is policed by the Gatwick District of Sussex Police. The district is responsible for policing the whole airport, including aircraft, and in certain circumstances, aircraft in flight. The 150 officers attached to this district include armed and unarmed officers, and community support officers for minor offences. The airport district counter man-portable surface-to-air missiles (MANPADS) by patrolling in and around the airport. A separate sub-unit has vehicle checks around the airport.
The airport is one of three UK airports to feature body scanners; initially, they are located in the main search areas of both the North and South terminals. Access to the airside areas of the airport (both internal and external areas) is controlled and maintained by the airports own team of security officers, regulated by the Department for Transport.
Airlines and destinations
Gatwick has two terminals: North and South. The South Terminal is Gatwick's older and busier terminal, and is also where the airport railway station is located. The following list includes all scheduled services to and from Gatwick Airport, as well as seasonal charter flights.
In 2012 there was a decline in passenger numbers for some of the busiest Spanish destinations, although there was an increase in numbers for Barcelona, as well as for Milan, Nice and the long-haul destination of Cancun in Mexico. The biggest increase in domestic passenger numbers in 2012 was for Aberdeen and other airports in Scotland and Northern Ireland, while there was a decline in traffic to short-haul destinations within England.
Busiest international routes to and from Gatwick Airport (2012)
Gatwick has set the objective that 40% of passengers should be using public transport by the time the annual throughput reaches 40 million (estimated in 2015), from the 2006 figure of 35.3%.
The airport is accessed by a motorway spur road at junction 9A of the M23, which links to the main M23 motorway 1 mi (1.6 km) east at junction 9. The M23 connects with London's orbital motorway, the M25, 9 mi (14 km) north. This gives access to much of Greater London, the South East and beyond. The M23 is the main route for traffic to the airport. Gatwick can also be accessed by the A23, which serves Horley and Redhill to the north and Crawley and Brighton to the south. The A217 provides access northwards to the local town of Reigate.
The airport has long and short-stay car parks – at the airport and off-site – although these are often full in summer. Local planning restrictions limit car parking at and around Gatwick.
Local buses connect North and South terminals with Crawley, Horley, Redhill, Horsham, Caterham and other destinations. Services are offered by Metrobus and Fastway, a guided bus rapid transit system which was the first of its kind to be constructed outside a major city.
There are at least two sets of stairs for foot-passengers to leave South Terminal to ground-level (near the cycle route) from Zone L and the train-station area (steps are labelled Exit Q and Exit P on the ground). These allow access to bus stops for local services.
Route 21 of the National Cycle Network passes under South Terminal, allowing virtually traffic-free cycling northwards to Horley and southwards to Three Bridges and Crawley. A goods-style lift runs between the terminal and ground level (signed "Lift to Cycle Route"), near Zone L.
Gatwick Airport's North and South terminals are connected by a 0.75 mi (1.21 km) elevated two-way automated people mover track. The shuttle system is normally operated by two automatic, three-car driverless train vehicles. Although colloquially referred to widely as a "monorail", the shuttle system runs on a dual concrete track with rubber tyres and is not technically a monorail.
The original Gatwick transit system opened in 1983 when the circular satellite pier was built, connecting the pier to the main terminal building, and was the UK's first automated people mover system. A second transit track was constructed in 1987 to link to the new North terminal. The original satellite transit line was later replaced with a walkway and travelator link, but the inter-terminal shuttle remains in operation.
The original Adtranz C-100 people mover cars remained in continuous operation until 2009, in which time they travelled a total of 2.5 million mi (4 million km). In September 2009 the vehicles were withdrawn from service to allow the transit system to be upgraded. Meanwhile, the two terminals were connected by a temporary free bus service. A new operating system and shuttle cars consisting of six Bombardier CX-100 vehicles was installed and the guideway and transit stations were refurbished at a cost of £45 million. The new system opened for use again on 1 July 2010, two months ahead of schedule.
In its original consultation document published on 23 July 2002 the Government decided to expand Stansted and Heathrow, but not Gatwick. However, Medway Council, Kent County Council and Essex County Council sought a judicial review of this decision. The judge reviewing the lawfulness of the Government's decision ruled that excluding Gatwick from the original consultation was irrational and/or unfair. Following the judge's ruling and the Secretary of State for Transport's decision not to appeal, BAA published new consultation documents. These included an option of a possible second runway at Gatwick to the south of the existing airport boundary, leaving the villages Charlwood and Hookwood to the north of the airport intact. This led to protests about increased noise and pollution, demolition of houses and destruction of villages.
Gate area inside the North Terminal, showing flight information screens
Prior to the change of ownership, BAA planned an £874 million investment at Gatwick over five years, including increased capacity for both terminals, improvements to the transport interchange and a new baggage system for the South Terminal.
In April 2008, Gatwick began work on a new inter-terminal shuttle which signalled the first major development in a £1 billion programme aimed at modernising the airport. The project included the installation of a completely new shuttle system, new shuttle cars, refurbishment of the rubber track and transformation of the terminal stations. The launch took place in July 2010 and attendees included James van Hofton, from the board of directors. The shuttle cost £43 million and features included live journey information and the use of sensory technology to count the number of passengers at stations.
On 2 December 2009, the House of CommonsTransport Select Committee published a report entitled The future of aviation. With regard to Gatwick, it calls on the Government to reconsider its decision to build a second runway at Stansted, in the light of growing evidence that the business case is unconvincing and that Gatwick is a better location.
Passengers passing through the airport are being made aware of the redevelopment programme in a number of ways, including through the use of giant mobile barcodes on top of construction hoardings. Scanning these results in content about the construction work being transferred to the user's smartphone.
In summer 2013, Gatwick began trialling Gatwick Connect, a free flight connections service provided by the airport to assist passengers whose itinerary involves changing flights at Gatwick and where the airlines do not provide a full flight connections service themselves. Gatwick Connect is a more developed version of Via Milano, a similar service pioneered by SEA Aeroporti di Milano at Milan Malpensa, and is the first of its kind in the UK. It features a dedicated Gatwick Connect desk in the baggage reclaim hall in each of the airport's terminals where passengers can confirm their details and/or[nb 23] drop their bags for their onward flights, thus obviating the need to check themselves and their baggage in again.
Since 2009, the airport has been owned and operated by Gatwick Airport Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of Ivy Holdco Limited. Ivy Holdco is owned by a consortium of companies that as of end-March 2013 included:
Several options to expand Gatwick have been considered, including a third terminal and a second runway to the south of the existing runway. This would allow Gatwick to handle more passengers than Heathrow does today. If a second, wide-spaced (as opposed to close parallel) runway is approved, a new terminal could be sited between the two runways. This could either complement or replace the current South Terminal, depending on expected future traffic developments.
A less ambitious alternative would extend the North Terminal further south, with another passenger bridge to an area currently occupied by aircraft stands without jet bridges (Pier 7). However, figure A.12 in Gatwick's new draft master plan released for consultation on 13 October 2011 seems to discard the earlier-mooted Pier 7 option in favour of a mid-field satellite adjacent to the control tower that would be linked to the North Terminal if built as part of an expanded single-runway, two-terminal airport scenario around 2030. There are also plans to extend Pier 6.
In October 2009, BAA submitted planning applications for Gatwick to handle an extra six million passengers a year by 2018 and for an extension to the North Terminal to provide new check-in facilities and additional baggage reclaim hall capacity, along with a 900 space short-stay car park.Crawley Borough Council's decision to approve these plans was upheld in November 2009 by the Government's refusal to hold a public inquiry despite objections from local environmental protesters.
Speaking at the first Gatwick Airport Consultative Committee (Gatcom) meeting since GIP's takeover of the airport (held on 28 January 2010 at Crawley's Arora Hotel), Gatwick's chairman Sir David Rowlands ruled out building a second runway for the foreseeable future, citing the high cost of the associated planning application – estimated to be between £100 million and £200 million – as the main reason for the new owners' lack of interest. At that meeting, Gatwick chief executive Stewart Wingate stressed GIP's preference for increasing the existing runway's capacity and confirmed GIP's plans to request an increase in the current limit on the permitted number of take-offs and landings. However, in 2012, Gatwick's new owners reversed their initial lack of interest in building a second runway at the airport for the foreseeable future. On 3 December 2012, chief executive Stewart Wingate argued in front of the House of Commons Transport Select Committee that allowing Gatwick to add a second runway to relieve the growing airport capacity shortage in the South East of England once the agreement with West Sussex County Council preventing it from doing so had expired in 2019 served the interests of the 12 million people living in its catchment area better than building a third runway at Heathrow or a new four-runway hub airport in the Thames Estuary. In support of his argument, Wingate stated that expanding Heathrow or building a new hub in the Thames Estuary was more environmentally damaging, more expensive, less practical and risked negating the benefits of ending common ownership of Gatwick, Heathrow and Stansted by the erstwhile BAA. Wingate contrasted this with the greater range of flights and improved connectivity including to hitherto un-/underserved emerging markets that would result from a second runway at Gatwick by the mid-2020s as this would enable it to compete with Heathrow on an equal footing to increase consumer choice and reduce fares. In this context, Wingate also accused his counterpart at Heathrow, Colin Matthews, of overstating the importance of transfer traffic by pointing to research by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).[nb 24] This counts the number of air travel bookings made by passengers passing through the IATA-designated London area airports[nb 25] and shows that only 7% of these passengers actually change flights there. Wingate believes this to be a more accurate measure of the share of passengers accounted for by transfer traffic at these airports than the more widely used alternative based on survey data collated by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). The CAA survey data relies on the number of passengers changing flights at these airports as reported by the airlines to the airport authorities and shows that fewer than 20% of all passengers actually change flights there.[nb 26]
In October 2010, Gatwick Airport Limited (GAL) received planning permission from Crawley Borough Council to adapt both terminals to handle the Airbus A380 on a regular, commercial basis. At the Gatcom meeting held on 26 January 2012 at Crawley's Arora Hotel, GAL announced that its board had approved construction of A380 pier infrastructure comprising new three-bridge gates at the North Terminal's Pier 6. The first of these became operational on 26 March 2013.
On 23 July 2013, Gatwick unveiled its proposals for a second runway to the south of the existing runway and airport boundary. If approved, the new runway could open by 2025 and cost between £5 billion and £9 billion, depending on the option chosen – i.e., a new runway 3,395 ft (1,035 m) south of the existing runway, a new runway less than 3,395 ft (1,035 m) but more than 2,493 ft (760 m) south of the existing runway or a new runway less than 2,493 ft (760 m) south of the existing runway. The first option would allow both runways to be simultaneously used for takeoffs and landings and increase total runway capacity by more than 80% to up to 100 aircraft movements per hour. It would also increase the airport's annual maximum passenger capacity from the present 45 to 87 million. The second option would allow both runways to be used simultaneously as well, with one handling takeoffs and the other landings. This would increase total runway capacity by ca. 36% to about 75 aircraft movements per hour and result in an increase in annual maximum passenger capacity to 82 million. The third option would allow only one runway to be used at a time but would still increase total runway capacity by over 20% to at least 67 aircraft movements per hour and annual maximum passenger capacity to 66 million. Regardless of the option chosen, the total projected cost includes the cost of a third terminal next to the existing railway line.
In late-2011 the Department for Transport began studying the feasibility of a high-speed rail link between Gatwick and Heathrow Airport. This rail link would form part of a plan to combine the UK's two biggest airports into a "collective" or "virtual hub" dubbed Heathwick. The scheme envisages a 35-mile high-speed rail route linking the two airports in 15 minutes, with trains travelling at a top speed of 180 mph parallel to the M25 and passengers passing through immigration or check-in only once.
2 September 1963 – an IberiaLockheed L-1049G Super Constellation (registration: EC-AMQ) leased by Aviaco and operating a charter flight from Barcelona, Spain, brushed trees on Russ Hill while on final approach to London Gatwick. Although the aircraft sustained minor damage as a result of this incident, which occurred during the descent, ca. 220 ft (67 m) above and 1.75 NM (3.24 km; 2.01 mi) from the runway threshold, it landed safely and none of the 75 passengers on board were injured.
28 January 1972 – a British CaledonianVickers VC10-1109 (registration: G-ARTA) sustained severe structural damage as a result of an exceptionally hard landing at Gatwick at the end of a short ferry flight from Heathrow, where the aircraft had been diverted due to Gatwick being fog-bound and where all passengers had disembarked. A survey of the aircraft's damage revealed that its airframe had been bent out of shape and that it required extensive repairs to be restored to an airworthy condition. The airline's senior management decided that these repairs were not cost-effective. The aircraft was written off and a decision taken to have it scrapped. It was eventually broken up at Gatwick in 1975.
20 July 1975 – a British Island Airways (BIA) Handley Page Dart Herald 201 (registration: G-APWF) was involved in a runway accident while departing on a scheduled flight to Guernsey. The aircraft lifted off from runway 26 after a ground run of 2,490 ft (760 m) and appeared airborne for 411 ft (125 m) with its landing gear retracting before the rear underside of the fuselage settled back on to the runway, bringing the aircraft to a stop. The investigation concluded that the landing gear was retracted before the aircraft had become established in a climb, contributed by use of an incorrect flap setting and incorrect takeoff speeds. Although the aircraft suffered substantial damage, none of the 45 occupants were hurt.
^holders of supplemental air carrier certificates authorised to operate non-scheduled passenger and cargo services to supplement the scheduled operations of certificated route air carriers; airlines holding supplemental air carrier certificates are also known as "nonskeds" in the US
^using a BAC One-Eleven 500 operating once a day each way from Gatwick to Düsseldorf and Frankfurt respectively and six-times-a-week each way from Gatwick to Zürich, in addition to the daily Gatwick–Dublin return flight
^Heathrow: 24 million transfer passengers (35%) of 69 million passengers in 2011; Gatwick: 2.4 million transfer passengers (7%) of 34 million passengers in 2011; Stansted: insignificant number of transfer passengers (0%) of 18 million passengers in 2011; Luton: insignificant number of transfer passengers (0%) of 9.5 million passengers in 2011; City: 0.06 million transfer passengers (2%) of 3 million passengers in 2011