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Gatwick Business Update – February 2023

Gatwick Airlines and Routes

Annual traffic results published by VINCI Airports show that London Gatwick Airport served 32.8 million passengers in 2022, which represents 71% of pre-pandemic (2019) numbers.  This follows the airport welcoming only 6.3 million passengers in 2021.

Gatwick’s busiest day for departures over the festive period was Friday 30 December, with 107k passengers passing through the airport on that day.

Gatwick Airport’s strong recovery is further evidenced by its increased long-haul connectivity, with the airport now serving 42 global routes – 68% of the number flown pre-pandemic.  New routes include:

  • Flights to Cape Town with British Airways returned on 13th December 2022
  • From March, Air India will operate direct flights to Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Goa and Kochi (Cochin)
  • From April, Lufthansa will operate twice daily between Gatwick and Frankfurt – one of the few unserved European cities from Gatwick, and as Lufthansa’s main hub, will also enable passengers to connect onwards to destinations across, Asia, Africa, the Americas, and Europe

Gatwick’s contribution to the Local Economy

The key event of 2022 was the inaugural Gatwick Airport Economic Summit, which brought together stakeholders to discuss long-term sustainable economic growth and future inward investment in the region.  Active engagement has continued with regional stakeholders, working collaboratively to drive and promote economic recovery and future growth:

  • Gatwick Airport has become an Industry Partner for the new Sussex and Surrey Institute of Technology
  • The airport is now the Strategic Partner for the Gatwick Diamond Initiative and their new inward investment website
  • Gatwick supported the “Celebrate Sussex: The Jewel in England’s Crown” Expedia campaign to promote Gatwick and the region to the US market, and also worked with the Airlines team and London & Partners to submit a bid for VisitBritain’s Gateway Innovation Fund

Gatwick’s contribution to the Local Community

  • The Gatwick Foundation Fund has relaunched with grants made available for local organisations in Kent, Surrey and Sussex that support young people, improve health and well-being, tackle social isolation and disadvantage or raise aspirations.  £300,000 is available each year, with £100,000 distributed in three rounds of funding.
  • Funding is also available from the Gatwick Airport Community Trust, an independent charity that awards grants annually for deserving projects that support the development of young people, the arts, sporting facilities, environmental improvement and conservation, improvements to community facilities, volunteering, the elderly and the disabled, with funds channelled to those areas where people are directly affected by airport operations.
  • Gatwick supported a number of community events and activities over the Autumn period, including activity with charity partner Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust to mark Restart a Heart Day, and sponsoring a Christmas event held by Crawley Town Community Foundation Extra Time Hubs.
  • The Airport continues to support local education and skills initiatives promoting careers and opportunities at the airport and in aviation, including the Learn Live programme.  The Learn Live broadcasts amassed over 86,000 student views in 2022.
  • Colleagues from Engineering, IT, Cyber Security and Innovation took part in an Airport Tech Virtual Insight Day giving students from The Brighton Clinic School and St Wilfrid’s in Crawley an opportunity to explore the wide range of technologies in use across the airport.
  • Six Gatwick colleagues are mentoring students with the Dare to Dream Love Local Jobs Foundation programme with new Crawley partner school, Thomas Bennett Community College.  Gatwick also hosted 11 autistic students from Manor Green College on a landside tour to support their wayfinding and life skills to enable students to navigate the airport and other transport hubs with confidence.
  • Gatwick Engineering and “Engineering Tomorrow” delivered a virtual transatlantic bridges lab to students and their teachers in the UK and USA (comprising 33 schools and 1,500 students) in their classrooms. Engineering professionals from both sides of the pond worked through a bridges workbook with students which highlighted the importance of bridges for our societies to function.
  • Gatwick is launching a new graduate programme and is recruiting graduates to work across various departments and build their careers at Gatwick.

Gatwick’s Northern Runway Project

Intensive work has continued on the preparation of the Environment Statement and other planning documentation in relation to the Northern Runway Project.  Local Authority Engagement continues with the Topic Working Groups and is ongoing with other statutory consultees.  It is anticipated that the Development Consent Order (DCO) will be submitted in the first quarter of 2023.

Gatwick’s Passenger Experience

  • Un-forecast snow in December led to a temporary closure of the runway.  The clearance teams were able to remove 94,000 tonnes of snow and the runway opened after just over 2 hours.
  • Despite industrial action by Border Force, flights from Gatwick arrived and departed as normal, with military personnel assigned to operate passport checks at the border.  Arriving passengers were advised to use e-gates where possible and Gatwick ensured extra staff were available to help arriving passengers.  The mitigations and contingencies ensured no disruption to passengers.
  • Ahead of rail industrial action, the airport worked with other transport providers to increase their services in response to the strikes including Metrobus, National Express, car rental operators and Gatwick Cars (Gatwick’s official taxi provider).  An alert on the Gatwick website has been in place since mid-December and the rail disruption page has been in the top 5 most trafficked on the website in the last few months.  Additionally, airlines were engaged to share the strike details with their passengers.
  • Rules around taking liquids and laptops through airport security will be eased from June 2024.  Travellers will no longer need to carry the containers in clear plastic bags or remove tablets and laptops from hand luggage as they go through security.  Not only will it mean greater convenience for travellers, it will also enhance passenger safety, as security staff will have more detailed images of what people are carrying.  The Government has set a June 2024 deadline for airports to install the necessary security technology.  As changes will be gradual over the next two years, current rules will continue to apply.

Gatwick’s Sustainability

Gatwick has continued to develop roadmaps for delivering across its 2030 Decade of Change goals.  These roadmaps will set out the actions Gatwick will take to achieve the goals, and how success will be measured.  Once finalised, these will be made publicly available on our website.

As part of the roadmap to reducing aircraft and surface access emissions, Gatwick has been reviewing how to effectively partner with our third parties to drive carbon reduction.  Initial engagement has taken place with airlines, both bilaterally and through the Airport Consultative Committee, to explore working together on carbon reduction.

Gatwick Investment and Growth

The Gatwick Rail Station project has seen significant visible progress since the summer and is still due to complete in 2023:

  • The new station staff accommodation building has now become operational and opened its doors to station staff.
  • The central gateline is the biggest entrance point to all platforms and supports a safe passenger flow between the station entrance and platforms.  The flooring has been replaced and all gates are wide access making them easier to use for those with luggage or those needing mobility support. They also all have a barcode reader meaning all ticket types are accepted (including Google and Apple Pay), which gives passengers complete freedom to choose how they want to pay for their journey.
  • On the new concourse, the first roof truss has been installed above the new escalator canopies on Platform 5 and 6.  This truss will support the new roof and provides exciting visibility of the final concourse structure outline.

The Gatwick Innovation team has trialled the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) for detecting prohibited items in cabin bags and concluded that AI can detect threats accurately. The trial was conducted on one X-ray lane in North Terminal, without any impact to normal operations. Two suppliers have been shortlisted to trial AI on further lanes in 2023.  The technology will be used to assist passenger screening, once the use of AI is approved by the DfT.

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