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Gatwick Airport

Gatwick Airport
WMO: 03776
Airport type Public
Operator Gatwick Airport Limited
Serves London, United Kingdom
Location Crawley, West Sussex
Hub for British Airways
Elevation AMSL 203 ft / 62 m
LGW is located in West Sussex
Location in West Sussex, England
Direction Length Surface
m ft
08L/26R 2,565 8,415 Asphalt
08R/26L 3,316 10,879 Asphalt
Statistics (2014)
Passengers 38,103,667
Passenger change 13-14 7.5%
Aircraft Movements 259,962
Movements change 13-14 3.8%
Sources: UK AIP at NATS[1]
Statistics from the UK Civil Aviation Authority[2]

Gatwick Airport[nb 1] (ICAO: 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 2014, 38.1 million passengers passed through the airport, a 7.5 per cent increase compared with 2013.[2]

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.[9] US Airways, Gatwick's last remaining US carrier, ended service from Gatwick on 30 March 2013.[10] This leaves Gatwick without a scheduled US airline for the first time in over 35 years.[11] 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.[12] As of April 2015, these respectively accounted for 30 percent, 64 percent and 6 percent of Gatwick's seat capacity.[13]

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.[14][15] 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 3] airports, for £1.51 billion. The sale was completed on 3 December.[16]


  • History 1
  • Ownership 2
  • Operations 3
    • Facilities 3.1
    • Flight movements 3.2
    • Security 3.3
    • Major airlines 3.4
  • City Place Gatwick 4
  • Airlines and destinations 5
    • Passenger 5.1
    • Terminal moves 5.2
  • Statistics 6
    • Busiest routes 6.1
    • Traffic 6.2
      • 1958–2000 6.2.1
      • Since 2000 6.2.2
  • Ground transport 7
    • Road 7.1
    • Rail 7.2
    • Bus 7.3
    • Bicycle 7.4
    • Terminal transfer 7.5
  • Expansion proposals 8
  • Accidents and Incidents 9
  • See also 10
  • Notes 11
  • References 12
  • External links 13


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.


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:

Owner Shares [17]
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.[18][19] 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.[20]

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).[21]


Blue-and-grey terminal building and parking lot
Gatwick's North Terminal building and transit station


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.[22]

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.[23]

Passengers with luggage looking at arriving-flights board
South Terminal international arrivals concourse

The Civil Aviation Authority Safety Regulation Group is in Aviation House.[24] WesternGeco, a geophysical services company, has its head office and Europe-Africa-Russia offices in Schlumberger House,[25][26] a 124,000 sq ft (11,500 m2) building on the airport grounds[27] 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.[27] Fastjet has its registered and head offices at Suite 2C in First Point at the airport.[28]

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.[29] 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.[30]

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.[13][31][32]

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.[33][34]

Flight movements

The airport control tower opened in 1984.

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,[35] which is insufficient for the simultaneous use of both runways. During normal operations the northern runway is used as a taxiway,[36][37] consistent with its original construction (although it was gradually widened).[38]

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).[39] On both runways, a continuous descent approach is used to minimise the environmental effects of incoming aircraft, particularly at night.[40]

Night flights are subject to restrictions;[41] 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.[43]

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 Home Secretary Jacqui Smith.[44]

Major airlines

British Airways aircraft on stand at the North Terminal, with other aircraft in the background

By late 2014, EasyJet flew 109 routes from Gatwick with a fleet of 57 aircraft.[45][46] The airport is the carrier's largest base, and its 16 million passengers per year accounted for 45 percent of Gatwick's 2013 total[47] (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 4][48][49]

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) and the top 10 in 2015.[50][34] 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).[51] 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.[34]

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.[52] By 2009, BA's share of Gatwick slots had fallen to 20 percent from its peak of 40 percent in 2001.[53] By 2010, this had declined to 16 percent.[54][55] By mid-2012, EasyJet had 45 percent of Gatwick's early-morning peak time slots (6 am to 8:55 am).[nb 5][56]

Gatwick Airport ramp view from the Bloc Hotel
Ramp view of the airport, taken from the Bloc Hotel on the 7th Floor of the South Terminal (looking towards the North Terminal)

By 2008, Flybe was Gatwick's third-largest airline (accounting for nine percent of its slots) and its fastest-growing airline.[53][57] 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 4][58] 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 6] at the airport to EasyJet for £20 million.[59][60] 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.[54][55][61] 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).[62]

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)[63] to leave Gatwick after its decision to transfer the seasonal Cleveland service to Heathrow on 3 May 2009.[64][65]

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 Garuda Indonesia, 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.[66][67] On 16 June 2015, it was announced that Canadian low-cost carrier WestJet will begin flights to Gatwick in the spring of 2016.[68] 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.[69]

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.[70][71][72][73][74] The complex was developed by BAA Lynton.[75]

A number of airlines have had offices at the Beehive, including BEA/British Airways Helicopters,[76][77] Jersey Airlines, Caledonian Airways, Virgin Atlantic and GB Airways.[78][79][80][81] 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,[82][83] British United Airways,[84] CityFlyer Express,[85] Laker Airways[86] and Tradewinds Airways.[87][88]

Airlines and destinations


Airlines Destinations Terminal
Adria Airways Seasonal: Ljubljana North
Aegean Airlines Seasonal: Athens, Heraklion
Seasonal charter: Kalamata[89]
Aer Lingus Belfast-City, Dublin, Knock
Seasonal charter: Friedrichshafen,[90] Geneva,[91] Lyon[92]
Afriqiyah Airways Tripoli South
Air Arabia Maroc Casablanca, Tangier South
airBaltic Riga South
Air Canada Rouge Seasonal: Toronto-Pearson (begins 20 May 2016)[69] South
Air Europa Madrid South
Air Malta Malta South
Air Transat Calgary, Toronto-Pearson
Seasonal: Halifax, Montréal-Trudeau, Vancouver
AlbaStar Seasonal charter: Palma de Mallorca North
Aurigny Air Services Guernsey South
Belavia Minsk-National South
BH Air Seasonal: Burgas
Seasonal charter: Sofia, Varna
British Airways Lima (begins 4 May 2016),[94] Málaga, Malta, Marrakech, Mauritius, Naples, New York-JFK (resumes 1 May 2016),[95] Nice, Orlando-International, Port of Spain, Porto (begins 11 February 2016),[96] Providenciales, Punta Cana, Rome-Fiumicino, Saint Kitts, Saint Lucia, Salzburg, San José de Costa Rica (begins 4 May 2016),[97] Seville, Sharm el-Sheikh, Tampa, Tenerife-South, Tirana, Tobago, Turin, Venice, Verona, Vienna, Valencia (begins 6 November 2015)[98]
Seasonal: Bari, Bodrum, Cagliari, Catania, Dalaman, Friedrichshafen, Geneva, Grenoble, Heraklion, Ibiza, Innsbruck, Malé, Paphos, Pisa, Rhodes, Thessaloniki
Caribbean Airlines Port of Spain (ends 10 January 2016)[99] North
Croatia Airlines Seasonal: Split South
easyJet Aberdeen, Alicante, Amsterdam, Arrecife, Barcelona, Bari, Basel/Mulhouse, Belfast-International, Bologna, Brindisi, Brussels (ends 21 March 2016),[100] Budapest, Catania, Düsseldorf (ends 21 March 2016),[100] Edinburgh, Faro, Fuerteventura, Geneva, Gibraltar, Glasgow-International, Hurghada, Inverness, Isle of Man, Jersey, Kraków, Larnaca, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Lisbon, Lyon, Málaga, Malta, Marrakech, Moscow-Domodedovo (ends 21 March 2016),[100] Murcia, Nantes, Naples, Nice, Palma de Mallorca, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Porto, Reykjavík-Keflavík, Santiago de Compostela, Sharm el-Sheikh, Sofia, Strasbourg (ends 21 March 2016),[100] Stuttgart, Tallinn, Tel Aviv-Ben Gurion, Tenerife-South
Seasonal: Antalya, Bastia, Bodrum, Brest, Cephalonia, Chania, Corfu, Dalaman, Figari, Grenoble, Ibiza, Izmir, Kos, La Rochelle, Preveza, Pula, Rhodes, Salzburg, Split, Turin, Zakynthos
easyJet Agadir, Almería, Athens, Berlin-Schönefeld, Bordeaux, Cologne/Bonn (ends 21 March 2016),[100] Copenhagen, Funchal, Hamburg, Innsbruck, Luxembourg, Madrid, Marseille, Milan-Linate, Milan-Malpensa, Montpellier, Munich, Palermo, Paphos, Pisa, Prague, Rome-Fiumicino, Seville, Thessaloniki, Toulouse, Valencia, Venice, Verona, Vienna, Zürich
Seasonal: Ajaccio, Biarritz, Dubrovnik, Friedrichshafen (begins 12 December 2015),[101] Heraklion, Kalamata, Minorca, Mykonos, Olbia, Santorini
easyJet Switzerland Basel/Mulhouse, Geneva North
Emirates Dubai-International North
Flybe Newquay South
Garuda Indonesia Amsterdam, Jakarta-Soekarno Hatta North
Germania Pristina
Seasonal charter: Chambéry (begins 12 December 2015),[102] Corfu, Heraklion, Kos, Larnaca, Rhodes, Skiathos, Thessaloniki, Zakynthos
Iberia Express Madrid South
Icelandair Reykjavík-Keflavík North
Iraqi Airways Baghdad, Sulaimaniyah South
Meridiana Naples, Cagliari, Olbia North
Monarch Airlines Alicante, Arrecife, Barcelona, Faro, Funchal, Hurghada, Málaga, Minorca, Nice, Palma de Mallorca, Sharm el Sheikh, Tenerife-South
Seasonal: Antalya, Bodrum, Dalaman, Dubrovnik, Friedrichshafen, Geneva (begins 12 December 2015),[103] Grenoble, Ibiza, Innsbruck (begins 5 December 2015),[103] Larnaca, Paphos, Rhodes, Salzburg (begins 19 December 2015),[103] Venice, Verona
Norwegian Air Shuttle Alicante, Arrecife, Barcelona, Bergen, Berlin-Schönefeld, Budapest, Copenhagen, Faro, Fuerteventura, Funchal, Gothenburg-Landvetter, Helsinki, Larnaca, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Madrid, Málaga, Nice, Oslo-Gardermoen, Palma de Mallorca, Rome-Fiumicino, Stavanger, Stockholm-Arlanda, Tenerife-South, Tromsø, Trondheim, Warsaw-Chopin
Seasonal: Ålesund, Catania, Cephalonia, Corfu, Dubrovnik, Grenoble, Ibiza, Pula, Salzburg, Sandefjord, Split
Seasonal charter:[104] Grenoble, Lleida-Alguaire, Sofia
Norwegian Air Shuttle
operated by Norwegian Long Haul[nb 7]
Boston (begins 13 May 2016),[105] Fort Lauderdale, Los Angeles, New York-JFK, Orlando, San Juan (begins 1 November 2015) South
Nouvelair Seasonal charter: Djerba, Monastir South
Pegasus Airlines Istanbul-Sabiha Gökçen
Seasonal: Antalya, Bodrum, Dalaman
Royal Air Maroc Casablanca, Marrakech, Rabat North
Ryanair Cork, Dublin, Kaunas, Shannon, Seville South
Small Planet Airlines Seasonal charter: Athens, Banjul, Corfu, Chania, Kalamata, Larnaca, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Kefalonia, Kos, Malta, Preveza, Rhodes, Santorini, Skiathos, Tirana, Zakynthos South
Small Planet Airlines (Poland) Seasonal charter: Heraklion South
operated by Travel Service Airlines
Prague South
SunExpress İzmir South
Swiss International Air Lines Seasonal: Geneva South
Syphax Airlines Enfidha South
TAP Portugal Lisbon, Porto South
Thomas Cook Airlines Antalya, Arrecife, Bodrum, Cancún, Cayo Coco, Dalaman, Enfidha, Fuerteventura, Holguín, Hurghada, Izmir, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Montego Bay, Paphos, Puerto Plata, Punta Cana, Sharm el-Sheikh, Tenerife-South
Seasonal: Acapulco, Agadir, Almería, Banjul, Barbados, Brescia, Burgas, Corfu, Djerba, Fagernes, Faro, Geneva, Goa, Genoa, Grenoble, Heraklion, Ibiza, Innsbruck, Lleida-Alguaire, Kalamata, Kavala (begins 6 May 2016), Kefalonia, Kos, Larnaca, Lemnos, Luxor, Malta, Minorca, Naples, Olbia, Orlando, Palma de Mallorca, Preveza, Reus, Rhodes, Rovaniemi, Salzburg, Santorini, Skiathos, Sofia, Thessaloniki, Turin, Varadero, Zakynthos
Thomson Airways Agadir, Alicante, Antalya, Arrecife, Boa Vista, Cancún, Dalaman, Fuerteventura, Funchal, Girona, Heraklion, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Liberia (begins 2 November 2015), Luxor, Málaga, Malta, Marrakech, Marsa Alam, Mauritius, Montego Bay, Orlando-Sanford, Palma de Mallorca, Paphos, Puerto Plata, Puerto Vallarta, Punta Cana, Sal, Santa Cruz de la Palma, Sharm el-Sheikh, Tenerife-South, Varadero
Seasonal: Acapulco, Alghero, Araxos Patras, Aruba, Barbados, Bodrum, Burgas, Catania, Chambéry, Chania, Corfu, Dubrovnik, Fagernes, Faro, Geneva, Grenoble, Ibiza, Innsbruck, Ivalo, İzmir, Jerez, Kavala, Kefalonia, Kittilä, Kos, Kuusamo, Larnaca, Minorca, Mykonos, Naples, Plovdiv, Preveza, Pula, Reus, Rhodes, Salzburg, Samos, Santorini, Skiathos, Sofia, Split, Thessaloniki, Tivat, Toulouse, Turin, Venice, Verona, Zakynthos
Tunisair Tunis South
Turkish Airlines Istanbul-Atatürk, Istanbul-Sabiha Gökçen South
Ukraine International Airlines Kiev-Boryspil South
Virgin Atlantic Antigua, Barbados, Cancún, Grenada, Havana, Las Vegas, Montego Bay, Orlando-International, Saint Lucia, Tobago South
Vueling Barcelona, Bilbao, Florence, Rome-Fiumicino North
WestJet Seasonal: Calgary (begins 8 May 2016),[106] Edmonton (begins 7 May 2016),[106] St. John's (begins 8 May 2016),[106] Toronto-Pearson (begins 7 May 2016),[106] Vancouver (begins 8 May 2016),[106] Winnipeg (begins 7 May 2016)[106] TBA
WOW air Reykjavík-Keflavík South

Terminal moves

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.[47]

It was confirmed in January 2015 that British Airways will move all its flights to the South Terminal in November 2016 while all EasyJet flights will be consolidated in the North Terminal at the same time.[107][46]


Busiest routes

The busiest routes to and from London Gatwick during 2014 are listed in the following table.

Busiest routes to and from London Gatwick (2014)
Rank Airport Passengers handled % Change
2013 / 14
1 Barcelona 1,268,729 12.6
2 Málaga 1,055,257 4.8
3 Dublin 990,236 1.4
4 Amsterdam 848,996 13.2
5 Geneva 816,778 4.3
6 Dubai-International 775,362 8.2
7 Alicante 768,373 7.6
8 Copenhagen 734,328 23.9
9 Tenerife-South 732,873 16.8
10 Madrid 718,235 10.1
11 Faro 711,212 7.8
12 Orlando-International 705,046 6.6
13 Edinburgh 692,873 0.4
14 Palma de Mallorca 691,024 0.6
15 Nice-Côte d'Azur 673,586 11.9
16 Rome-Fiumicino 657,886 20.9
17 Glasgow-International 615,043 1.0
18 Jersey 605,987 12.8
19 Venice-Marco Polo 594,661 3.3
20 Milan-Malpensa 505,694 4.5
Source: UK Civil Aviation Authority[108]



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.[109][110] Passenger numbers reached one million for the first time during the 1962-63 fiscal year,[nb 8] with British United Airways (BUA) accounting for four-fifths.[111] The 1.5 million mark was exceeded for the first time during the 1966–67 fiscal year.[nb 9] This was also the first time more than half a million scheduled passengers used the airport.[112] Gatwick accommodated two million passengers for the first time during the 1967–68 fiscal year[nb 10] and three million in the 1969–70 fiscal year,[nb 11] with BUA accounting for nearly half.[113][114] By the early 1970s, 5 million passengers used Gatwick each year, with a record 5.7 million during the 1973–74 fiscal year.[nb 12] During that period, British Caledonian accounted for approximately half of all charter passengers and three-fourths of scheduled passengers.[115] Within a decade annual passenger numbers doubled, to 10 million; they doubled again, to over 20 million, by the late 1980s.[109][116][117][118] By the turn of the millennium, Gatwick handled more than 30 million passengers annually.[109]

Since 2000

Gatwick passenger totals, 2000–2014 (millions)
Updated: 26 March 2015.[2][119]
Number of passengers[nb 13] Percentage change Number of movements[nb 14] Freight (tonnes)
2000 32,068,540 260,859 318,905
2001 31,181,770 02.8% 252,543 280,098
2002 29,627,420 05.0% 242,379 242,519
2003 30,005,260 01.3% 242,731 222,916
2004 31,466,770 04.9% 251,195 218,204
2005 32,775,695 04.2% 261,292 222,778
2006 34,163,579 04.2% 263,363 211,857
2007 35,216,113 03.1% 266,550 171,078
2008 34,205,887 02.9% 263,653 107,702
2009 32,392,520 05.3% 251,879 74,680
2010 31,375,290 03.1% 240,500 104,032
2011 33,674,264 07.3% 251,067 88,085
2012 34,235,982 01.7% 246,987 97,567
2013 35,444,206 03.5% 250,520 96,724
2014 38,103,667 07.5% 259,692 88,508
Source: UK Civil Aviation Authority[2]

38.1 million passengers passed through Gatwick in 2014, an increase of 7.5 percent over the previous year.[2] Long-haul,[nb 15] European scheduled, North Atlantic and Irish passenger traffic recorded increases over the previous year of 12.1 percent, 12 percent, 2.8 percent and 1.3 percent to 5.69 million, 22 million, 1.69 million and 1.28 million, respectively. European charter[nb 16] and UK[nb 17] traffic saw decreases over the corresponding figures for 2013 of 5.6 percent and 3.2 percent to 3.8 million and 3.66 million passengers, respectively. Air transport movements increased by 4 percent to 256,350. Cargo volume decreased by 8.5 percent to 88,737 metric tonnes.[119]

Compared with a year earlier, September 2015 passenger numbers increased by 5.7 percent to 4.048 million (an increase of 216,956 over September 2014). The following changes were recorded amongst individual passenger traffic categories: North Atlantic traffic +11.3 percent (186,600 passengers); European scheduled traffic +7.8 percent (2.89 million passengers); Irish traffic +5.7 percent (114,100 passengers); UK[nb 17] traffic +1.6 percent (321,000 passengers); other long-haul[nb 15] traffic -0.4 percent (274,700 passengers); European charter[nb 16] traffic -7.2  percent (264,000 passengers). Air transport movements increased by 3.7 percent to 25,817. Cargo volume decreased by 21.5 percent to 5,627 metric tonnes. Key to the increase in overall passenger traffic was a 7.1 percent increase in North Atlantic traffic to and from Canada, which was driven by additional passengers travelling to and from Vancouver (+14 percent) and Toronto (+12 percent), in addition to the increase in passenger traffic to and from European destinations. Average monthly load factors stood at 87.5 percent.[120]

Ground transport

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.[121]


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
Gatwick Airport
Peak times only:
Haywards Heath
Wivelsfield (northbound only)
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 Thameslink and First Great Western) also use the station and Southern services Victoria and London Bridge under its own name. Thameslink provide direct trains to Luton Airport; First Great Western trains directly link Gatwick Airport with Guildford and Reading for onwards connections to Oxford, Bristol, Plymouth and South Wales. 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

Gatwick Airport Shuttle
North Terminal 
to London
South Terminal 
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",[122] 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.[122] 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)[123] 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;[124][125] it featured live journey information and sensory technology to count the number of passengers at stations.

Expansion proposals

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 West Sussex County Council.[36][37][126] Expanded operations would allow Gatwick to handle more passengers than Heathrow does today, with a new terminal between two wide-spaced runways. This would complement or replace the South Terminal, depending on expected future traffic.[127]

Airport management's proposal for a second runway (south of the existing runway and the airport boundary) were 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.[128][129] Another proposal would extend the North Terminal south, with a passenger bridge in the area currently occupied by aircraft stands without jet bridges.[127] 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.[130]

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.

On 1 July 2015, the Airports Commission submitted their final report, recommending the expansion of Heathrow Airport as opposed to Gatwick. Whilst the commission recognised Gatwick's benefits and relatively lesser environmental consequences than Heathrow, they felt the economic benefits of Gatwick vs. Heathrow were not as great, nor as broad-ranging.[131] Gatwick are currently disputing the findings.[132]

Accidents and Incidents

  • 15 September 1936 – A British Airways Ltd de Havilland DH 86 on a night mail flight to Germany crashed on takeoff, killing the airline's chief pilot and two crew members.[133][134]
  • November 1936 – A British Airways Ltd Fokker F 12 crashed in a wood 4.5 miles (7.2 km) south of Gatwick on its final approach to the airport under a low ceiling in poor visibility, killing both pilots and seriously injuring the flight engineer.[135]
  • 17 February 1959 – A Turkish Airlines Vickers Viscount 794D (registration: TC-SEV) on an international charter flight crashed in heavy fog at Newdigate, Surrey, on its approach to Gatwick after striking trees. Fourteen of the 24 on board died, and Turkish Prime Minister Adnan Menderes was amongst the survivors.[136][137][138]
  • 5 January 1969 – A Boeing 727-113C (registration: YA-FAR) operating flight 701 of Ariana Afghan Airlines arriving from Frankfurt Rhein-Main Airport, Germany, crashed into a house in Fernhill (near Horley, Surrey) in low visibility. The flaps were not extended to maintain flight at final-approach speed. Forty-eight of the 62 on board died, in addition to two on the ground.[137][139][140][141]
  • 28 January 1972 – A British Caledonian Vickers VC10-1109 (registration: G-ARTA) with no passengers aboard sustained severe structural damage as a result of a hard landing at Gatwick at the end of a short ferry flight from Heathrow, where the aircraft had been diverted due to fog at Gatwick. After touching down on runway 08 and applying spoilers and reverse thrust, the aircraft became airborne again, bounced twice and landed heavily. This resulted in a burst front wheel tyre, a separated wheel and a crumpled fuselage (immediately in front of and behind the wings).[142] A survey of the aircraft's damage revealed that its airframe was bent out of shape, requiring extensive repairs to be restored to airworthiness. Since the repairs were not cost-effective, the airline's management decided to cannibalise the aircraft for spare parts before scrapping it at Gatwick in 1975.[142][143][144]
  • 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 feet (760 m), and appeared airborne for 411 ft (125 m) (with its landing gear retracting), before the rear underside of the fuselage settled back onto the runway and brought the aircraft to a stop. An investigation concluded that the landing gear was retracted before the aircraft had become established in a climb and the flap setting and takeoff speed were incorrect. Although the aircraft incurred substantial damage, none of the 45 occupants were hurt.[145]

See also


  1. ^ Pronounced .[3]
  2. ^ accounting for 93 percent of all passenger traffic as of March 2012
  3. ^ as of May 2012
  4. ^ a b 1 April 2011 to 31 March 2012
  5. ^ British Airways, 15%; Thomson Airways, 11%; Monarch Airlines, 7%; Flybe and Thomas Cook Airlines, 6% each
  6. ^ including eight early-morning peak-time slot pairs
  7. ^ Temporarily operated by Norwegian Long Haul (pending approval of Norwegian Air International's US foreign air carrier permit application).
  8. ^ 1 April 1962 to 31 March 1963
  9. ^ 1 April 1966 to 31 March 1967
  10. ^ 1 April 1967 to 31 March 1968
  11. ^ 1 April 1969 to 31 March 1970
  12. ^ 1 April 1973 to 31 March 1974
  13. ^ number of passengers including both domestic and international
  14. ^ number of movements represents total aircraft takeoffs and landings during each year
  15. ^ a b excluding North Atlantic
  16. ^ a b including North Africa
  17. ^ a b including the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man


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  • King, John, with Tait, Geoff, (1980) Golden Gatwick – 50 Years of Aviation, British Airports Authority.
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  • Bain, Gordon, (1994), Gatwick Airport, Airlife Publishing Ltd. ISBN 1-85310-468-X
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  • Eglin, Roger, and Ritchie, Berry (1980). Fly me, I'm Freddie. London, UK: Weidenfeld and Nicolson.  
  • Thomson, Adam (1999). High Risk: The Politics of the Air. London, UK: Sidgwick and Jackson.  
  • Simons, Graham M. (1993). The Spirit of Dan-Air. Peterborough, UK: GMS Enterprises.  
  • Simons, Graham M. (1999). It was nice to fly with friends! The story of Air Europe. Peterborough, UK: GMS Enterprises.  
  • Branson, Richard (2006). Losing my Virginity – The Autobiography (2nd reprint ed.). London, UK: Virgin Books Ltd.  
  • Financial Times, 26 October 2007. London, UK: UK Edition. 
  • Skyport – Gatwick edition (Iyengar, K., "Bermuda Bloomers", "Golden Gatwick", p. 18). Hounslow, UK. 8 February 2008. 
  • Skyport – Gatwick edition (Iyengar, K., "The only way is up", "Golden Gatwick", p. 14). Hounslow, UK. 11 April 2008. 
  • Skyport – Gatwick edition (Iyengar, K., "Heading North", "Golden Gatwick", p. 16). Hounslow, UK. 9 May 2008. 
  • Skyport – Gatwick edition (Cooper, B., "Got your number", "Golden Gatwick", p. 12). Hounslow, UK. 6 June 2008. 
  • Skyport – Gatwick edition (Dixon, A., "Second runway plans to remain grounded", pp. 1, 3). Hounslow, UK. 26 February 2010. 
  • Financial Times, 10 February 2010. London, UK: UK Edition. 
  • Woodley, Charles (2014). Gatwick Airport: The first 50 years. Stroud, UK: The History Press. ) Google Books ( 

External links

  • Gatwick Airport Customer Service Number

Media related to at Wikimedia Commons

  • Official website
  • Google Maps: Gatwick Airport detail: remnant of old Brighton Road between the runways
  • Old images of Gatwick Airport and the old airfield
  • Airports Commission: interim report
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