21 November 2011

Gatwick Airport has officially opened the new look North Terminal following the completion of the £73 million project to extend the building to accommodate 20 million passengers per year by 2020.

• Gatwick completes £73 million extension of the North Terminal
• Four million extra passengers each year can travel through the extended terminal
• More self-service check-in, more space, more arrivals reclaim
Gatwick Airport has officially opened the new look North Terminal following the completion of the £73 million project to extend the building to accommodate 20 million passengers per year by 2020.
The eastern end of the terminal has been extended to provide additional check-in and baggage reclaim capacity. There are 18 new check-in desks taking the total to 144, of which 70 are self-service options. There are also four new reclaim belts, three for international and one domestic belt. The addition of new arrival reclaim belts will significantly cut time spent waiting for luggage, and make a substantial difference to passengers keen to get home.
The terminal, which has been extended by 1.25 hectares – almost equivalent in size to Lord’s Cricket Ground - was opened by the former Prime Minister, The Rt Hon Sir John Major KG CH. He said: “Airports are the "front door" of the UK. And, for visitors to Britain, their first impressions of our country are shaped by what they see and experience when they land. That is why the significant investment to improve arrivals infrastructure is so important.
“In recent months, Gatwick has established the first direct air link between Britain and Vietnam. New routes have been opened to Malaysia, Hong Kong, South Korea and China. More new routes will follow. All of this is good news – not just for Gatwick but for all of us in the UK.
“Gatwick will continue to compete with our European Union neighbours and the rising challenge from the new markets of Greater Asia. In improving its efficiency, Gatwick is contributing to economic growth and wellbeing across the United Kingdom. And that is vital to our national interest.”
The extended North Terminal follows the completion of work earlier in the year to revitalise and expand the forecourt and construct a new interchange to provide a modern new entrance into the terminal building.
Arrivals and departures are now located on different levels, improving passenger circulation and wayfinding.  Passengers being dropped off outside the new entrance can go up one of two moving walkways or lifts where they will meet passengers coming off the new inter-terminal shuttle. From here, passengers will all head in the same direction to the extended check-in area.
Passengers arriving home or tourists entering the UK will come through on the ground floor with a direct route into the car park and to car rental. They will also have easy access to the airport’s taxi service or inter-terminal shuttle in order to catch a train for their onward journey.
Stewart Wingate, Gatwick Airport Chief Executive said: “It’s fair to say that passengers flying out of the North Terminal used to be greeted with a dated 80s feel with little aesthetic appeal and confusing wayfinding. But that was the Gatwick of yesteryear. Today, the layout and design of the upgraded forecourt, interchange facilities and the expanded terminal building provide a much more positive first impression.
“This is all part of our £1.2 billion investment programme, which has a focus on improving the overall passenger experience of our airport, from the moment they arrive at the front door, check-in, pass through security to when they board their flight. We want passengers to spend as little time in queues or waiting for luggage as is possible, and we want them to enjoy their surroundings before they jet off for their holidays That has been the focus of our work at the airport so far and there is still much more to come.”

The next phase of the development will involve the £32 million upgrade of the baggage system. Gatwick will replace the whole system in the main baggage hall and will go from six to two sorters making the system more reliable, efficient and flexible. Early bag store facilities will be put in place to enable passengers to drop their luggage off as soon as they arrive at the airport which will make a huge difference to customer service.

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