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Gatwick Airport is 2.7 nautical miles north of the centre of Crawley, West Sussex, and 29.5 miles south of Central London. Also known as London Gatwick, it is London's second-largest international airport and the second-busiest (by total passenger traffic) in the United Kingdom (after Heathrow). Gatwick is Europe's leading airport for point-to-point flights and has the world's busiest single-use runway, with a maximum of 55 aircraft movements per hour. Its two terminals (North and South) cover an area of 98,000 m2 and 160,000 m2, respectively. In 2015, 40.3 million passengers passed through the airport, a 5.6 per cent increase compared with 2014.
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. US Airways, Gatwick's last remaining US carrier, ended service from Gatwick on 30 March 2013. This leaves Gatwick without a scheduled US airline for the first time in nearly 40 years. The airport is a base for scheduled airlines British Airways (BA), EasyJet, Monarch Airlines, Norwegian Air Shuttleand 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. As of April 2015, these respectively accounted for 30 percent, 64 percent and 6 percent of Gatwick's seat capacity.
BAA Limited (now Heathrow Airport Holdings Limited) and its predecessors, BAA plc and the British Airports Authority, owned and operated Gatwick from 1 April 1966 to 2 December 2009. 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 Edinburgh airport, for £1.51 billion. The sale was completed on 3 December.
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For both The North Terminal and The South Terminal we recommend that passengers meet our drivers at the customs barrier or the nearby information desk.
The land on which Gatwick Airport stands was first developed as an aerodrome in the late 1920s. The Air Ministry approved commercial flights from the site in 1933, and the first terminal, "The Beehive" was built in 1935. Major development work at the airport took place during the 1950s. The airport buildings were designed by Yorke Rosenberg Mardall between 1955 and 1988.
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 as of March 2014:
|Global Infrastructure Partners||41.95%|
|Future Fund Board of Guardians||17.23%|
|Abu Dhabi Investment Authority||15.9%|
|The California Public Employees' Retirement System||12.78%|
|National Pension Service of Korea||12.14%|
In February 2010, GIP sold minority stakes of 12 percent 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. 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.
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).
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.
The Civil Aviation Authority Safety Regulation Group is in Aviation House. WesternGeco, a geophysical services company, has its head office and Europe-Africa-Russia offices in Schlumberger House, a 124,000 sq ft (11,500 m2) building on the airport grounds 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. Fastjet has its registered and head offices at Suite 2C in First Point at the airport.
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. 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.
In summer 2013, Gatwick introduced Gatwick Connect, a free flight connection service to assist passengers changing flights at Gatwick whose airlines do not provide a 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 mid-September 2015, the service is branded "GatwickConnects". It is available to passengers arriving on any airline who have an onward flight connection on Aer Lingus, EasyJet, Flybe, Monarch Airlines, Norwegian Air Shuttle, Thomas Cook Airlines, Virgin Atlantic or WOW air.
On 15 September 2015, the airport launched a service enabling passengers to book connecting flights involving a change of aircraft at Gatwick, where airlines do not provide a full flight connection service, in a single transaction at a lower cost (compared with the total cost when each flight is booked separately). It includes a guarantee to safeguard connections and make alternative arrangements for passengers who miss their connection in the event of their flight being delayed or cancelled. Gatwick claim this to be a world-first. This service is marketed under the "GatwickConnects" brand and is bookable through Dohop and Skyscanner. Initially, it is available to passengers flying with EasyJet, Norwegian Air Shuttle and WOW air.
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, which is insufficient for the simultaneous use of both runways. During normal operations the northern runway is used as a taxiway, consistent with its original construction (although it was gradually widened).
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). On both runways, a continuous descent approach is used to minimise the environmental effects of incoming aircraft, particularly at night.
Night flights are subject to restrictions; 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:
- Number of flights
- A Quota Count system, limiting total noise permitted
- No night QC/4 flights
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.
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 UK Visas and Immigration, was opened near the airport on 18 March 2009 by the then Home Secretary Jacqui Smith.
By late 2015, EasyJet flew over 100 routes from Gatwick with a fleet of more than 60 aircraft. The airport is the carrier's largest base, and its 16 million passengers per year accounted for 45 percent of Gatwick's 2013 total (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).
The airport is a hub for BA; 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) and the top 10 in 2015. In terms of total scheduled airline seats at Gatwick in 2014, EasyJet accounted for 18.36 million, more than two-and-a-half times as many as second-placed BA (seven million) and nearly five times the number offered by third-placed Norwegian (3.74 million). Using data sourced from the OAG Schedules Analyser, the following changes in the respective departure seat capacity shares of Gatwick's three biggest airlines occurred from 2010 to 2015: EasyJet's share increased from 26.1 percent in 2010 to 42.1 percent in 2015; BA's share dropped from 18.3 percent in 2010 to 15 percent in 2015; Norwegian's share rose almost three-fold from less than 3 percent in 2010 to 8.3 percent in 2015. The OAG Schedules Analyser data for 2015 also confirms EasyJet, BA, Norwegian, Thomson Airways, Monarch Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, Thomas Cook Airlines, Aer Lingus, Ryanair and Emirates as Gatwick's top 10 airlines in terms of departure seat capacity share.
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. By 2009, BA's share of Gatwick slots had fallen to 20 percent from its peak of 40 percent in 2001. By 2010, this had declined to 16 percent. By mid-2012, EasyJet had 45 percent of Gatwick's early-morning peak time slots (6 am to 8:55 am).
By 2008, Flybe was Gatwick's third-largest airline (accounting for nine percent of its slots) and its fastest-growing airline. 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. 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 at the airport to EasyJet for £20 million. 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. Following the sale of its Gatwick slots to EasyJet, Flybe continues to provide the scheduled service between Gatwick and Newquay, as a result of being awarded the contract to fly this route under a four-year Public Service Obligation (PSO).
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) to leave Gatwick after its decision to transfer the seasonal Cleveland service to Heathrow on 3 May 2009.
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 full-service airlines have established or resumed operations at the airport, including Cathay Pacific, Swiss International Air Lines and Turkish 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. On 16 June 2015, it was announced that Canadian low-cost carrier WestJet will begin flights to Gatwick in the spring of 2016. This was followed by an announcement on 25 June 2015 by Air Canada Rouge that it would begin a seasonal service from Gatwick to Toronto on 20 May 2016.
City Place Gatwick
Gatwick's original terminal, the Beehive, is included within the City Place Gatwick office complex together with 1, 2 and 3 City Place. The complex was developed by BAA Lynton.
A number of airlines have had offices at the Beehive, including BEA/British Airways Helicopters, Jersey Airlines, Caledonian Airways, Virgin Atlantic and GB Airways. 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, British United Airways, CityFlyer Express, Laker Airways and Tradewinds Airways.
Ridesmiths provide Executive Taxi and Minicabs services to and from Gatwick Airport from the areas listed below
Should you require a taxi or mini cab whilst in any of these areas please contact the team at Ridesmiths