I was lucky enough to be able to join a ‘behind the scenes’ tour of Gatwick this week.
This began with several presentations , dealing first of all with the ‘Elephant in the Room’ which was the recent announcement that their bid for another runway has been rejected in favour of Heathrow.
They put on a brave face on it and said that it is business as usual at Gatwick. This includes the continuation of their improvements and expansion of both terminals. They plan to invest a further £1.3 Billion in the next 5 years.
Gatwick continues to grow and the last year saw 42 million passengers through its doors. Statistics abounded but the one that stuck with me is that during busy periods they are dealing with 55 aircraft movements per hour!
We saw something of how they achieve this when we were bussed around the airfield and saw the aircraft queuing up for their runway slot.
The ‘Airside’ tour included a look at the impressive ‘Snow Fleet’. The days of Gatwick grinding to a halt when it snows are over. Two hundred terminal staff; affectionately known as the Polar Bears, practise regularly to learn how to operate this fleet. So when the snow comes they are ready to work in formation to clear the runway pronto.
A big change taking place at Gatwick soon which may affect you, is the relocation of some carriers-
From 24/01/17 All Easy Jet flights will leave and return to North Terminal.
From 25/01/17 All British Airways flights will leave and return to South Terminal
From 25/01/17 All Virgin flights will leave and return to North Terminal.
If you fly out before 24/25 January 2017 but return after, affected airlines will return to a different terminal. Bear this in mind when you book your parking, or arrange a meeting point to be picked up from. Of course if you are staying at Springwood, I will make sure you are directed to and from the right terminal.
If you need to, travel between the two terminals using the free shuttle service, which is clearly signposted and takes just a couple of minutes.
The airport tour was very impressive and something tells me that we will be hearing a great deal more before the first shovel hits the ground on a new runway. ‘It’s not over until the fat lady sings’ as they say and I’m sure Gatwick are not about to give up.