Transforming London Gatwick: What a difference four years makes
03 December 2013
Today, London Gatwick celebrates four years as a stand-alone airport, competing head-on with Heathrow, Stansted and other major European airports for airlines and passengers
With £1billion invested in the airport – from modernising the forecourt, check-in and security areas to overhauling the departure lounges, upgrading the departure gates, runway and immigration halls – the airport has gone through a monumental transformation. And airlines and passengers are voting with their feet.
Today, Gatwick serves half of the global growth markets, including China, Russia, Turkey and, from next year, Indonesia. Complimenting this, Gatwick offers the only direct link between the UK and Vietnam as well as strengthening routes to the Middle East and Africa. The airport also now serves 45 of the top 50 European business destinations and, despite the economic headwinds, the number of passengers choosing to fly from Gatwick has increased by over four million people.
Stewart Wingate, London Gatwick’s Chief Executive, said: “Turning round the decades of under-investment in Gatwick, transforming it into a friendly and efficient place to visit, as well as ensuring the airport remains a major international gateway for London and the South East has been my priority over these last four years.
“I would say we are making good headway. We now have the UK’s only direct link to Vietnam, routes to high growth markets such as China, Russia and Turkey and in 2014 we will fly direct to Indonesia – countries that some claim can only be connected via a hub airport. This coupled with growing our African and Middle Eastern routes helps make up over 200 destinations that Gatwick connects its passengers with.
“Looking ahead, and as we enter our fifth year as a competing force in the market, my priorities for the airport won’t change. We will remain focused on delivering high levels of service and affordable prices for our customers, and we will continue to compete for airlines that will help us connect the UK to established and strategic markets. That of course means competing for the UK’s next runway. On that issue, I believe that a second runway at Gatwick is the most deliverable option that will give the UK the economic benefits it needs, at a far lower environmental cost and will ensure affordable fares for the next generation.”
Closely following the launch of Gatwick’s redesigned and responsive website in August 2013, a new website (www.transforming-gatwick.com) with downloadable imagery has been created to depict the vast changes and improvements that have taken place at the airport in the last four years.
Ten ways London Gatwick has improved the airport for its passengers…
MULTI-MILLION POUND INVESTMENT– The scale and pace of investment in the airport has been monumental. Gatwick, under new ownership, has invested between £15-£20million a month since December 2009.
FLYING TO MORE DESTINATIONS – Gatwick serves 230 worldwide destinations – that’s more destinations than any other UK airport, flying to 45 of the top 50 European business destinations and half the world’s ‘growth’ markets.
BETTER CONNECTED BY FAR - Getting to and from Gatwick couldn’t be easier, with the quickest direct connections to London and the South East. You can get to London Bridge in 28 minutes, London Victoria in 30 minutes and Canary Wharf in 47 minutes.
SERVICE QUALITY PERFECTION – With a relentless focus on customer service, Gatwick has climbed six places to become sixth in the European sector of the international Airport Service Quality rankings and has passed 100% of its security service quality measures since 2012. Passenger compliments have shot up by 245% since 2009.
THE WORLD’S MOST EFFICIENT RUNWAY - Gatwick’s Airport Collaborative Decision Making (A-CDM 55) enables aircraft to board, depart and taxi with greater precision, allowing us to operate up to 55 aircraft movements an hour and 800 flights a day on a single runway.
A380 READY - The world’s largest passenger aircraft can now be commercially operated at Gatwick, following the opening of our brand new A380 stand, part of our £75 million North Terminal extension.
UP AND AWAY - Total passenger numbers have grown by over four million in four years. Today, 35 million people choose Gatwick, with almost one fifth (18%) travelling with us on business. I
NTERACTING VIA TECHNOLOGY - Gatwick was the first airport in the UK with Google Indoor Maps on Streetview, featuring 2000 images and we’ve introduced 320 information tablets across the airport - the biggest rollout of tablets for public use.
OUR ENVIRONMENTAL CREDENTIALS - Gatwick is the best rail-connected airport in the UK, we have met all our targets on air quality and have the only LED-lit runway and taxiways in the world, using 50% less energy.
GATWICK’S TRANSFORMATION SET TO CONTINUE - The scale of investment, change and improvement made since 2009 is immense. With another £1 billion to invest, the experience for passengers using Gatwick will only get better.
In the four years since Gatwick has been under new ownership the airport market has changed considerably.
Firstly, Stansted Airport was sold to new owners ensuring that the three largest London airports are now in direct competition with each other.
Secondly, the Civil Aviation Authority has proposed that Gatwick’s Commitments framework should be the preferred outcome over traditional forms of regulation from 2014. This will lead to a transformational change in the way Gatwick operates and how it co-operates commercially with its airline partners. More importantly, it will change the way Gatwick and its airline partners work together to deliver even higher levels of service and ensure that prices remain competitive and travel remains affordable across Gatwick’s unique mix of legacy, charter and low cost carriers.
Finally, the government set up an Airports Commission to review and make a recommendation for how the UK’s future aviation capacity crisis should be met. Later this month the Airports Commission will set out its shortlist on where it thinks the UK’s next new runway should be. Gatwick should be the front-runner in this debate as it would provide lower air fares, has minimal environmental impacts and can be delivered quicker than any other option on the table. This is an issue which the UK has grappled with since the end of the Second World War and is a critical decision which could fundamentally change the face of aviation further.