Gatwick Airport

"Gatwick" redirects here. For the neighbourhood in Surrey, see Gatwick, Surrey.
"LGW" redirects here. For other uses, see LGW (disambiguation).
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
Coordinates 51°08′53″N 000°11′25″W / 51.14806°N 0.19028°W / 51.14806; -0.19028Coordinates: 51°08′53″N 000°11′25″W / 51.14806°N 0.19028°W / 51.14806; -0.19028

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 (2015)
Passengers 40,269,087
Passenger change 14–15 Increase5.7%
Aircraft Movements 267,760
Movements change 14–15 Increase3.0%
Sources: UK AIP at NATS[1]
Statistics from the UK Civil Aviation Authority[2]

Gatwick Airport[nb 1] (IATA: LGW, ICAO: EGKK) is a major international airport in south-east England, 29.5 miles (47.5 km) south of Central London and 2.7 nautical miles (5.0 km; 3.1 mi) north of Crawley.[1][4] Also known as London Gatwick,[1] it is the second-busiest airport by total passenger traffic in the United Kingdom after London Heathrow.[5] Gatwick is the ninth-busiest airport in Europe.

Gatwick opened as an aerodrome in the late 1920s, and has been in use for commercial flights since 1933. The airport has two terminals, the North Terminal and the South Terminal, which cover areas of 98,000 m2 (1,050,000 sq ft) and 160,000 m2 (1,700,000 sq ft) respectively.[6] It operates as a single-runway airport, using a main runway with a length of 3,316 m (10,879 ft). A secondary runway is available but, due to its proximity to the main runway, can only be used if that is out of use. In 2015, 40.3 million passengers passed through the airport, a 5.7% increase compared with 2014.[2]


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. Scheduled air services from the new terminal began the following year. Major development work at the airport took place during the 1950s. The airport buildings were designed by Yorke Rosenberg Mardall between 1955 and 1988.[7]

In the 1960s, British United Airways (BUA) and Dan-Air were two of the largest British independent[nb 2] airlines at Gatwick, with the former establishing itself as the dominant scheduled operator at the airport as well as providing a significant number of the airport's non-scheduled services and the latter becoming its leading provider of inclusive tour charter services. Further rapid growth of charter flights at Gatwick was encouraged by the Ministry of Aviation, which instructed airlines to move regular charter flights from Heathrow. Following the takeover of BUA by Caledonian Airways at the beginning of the following decade, the resulting airline, British Caledonian (BCal), became Gatwick's dominant scheduled airline during the 1970s. While continuing to dominate scheduled operations at Gatwick for most of the 1980s, BCal was also one of the airport's major charter airlines until the end of the 1970s (together with Dan-Air, Laker Airways and British Airtours). As a result of conditions imposed by Britain's Monopolies and Mergers Commission on the takeover of BCal by the then newly privatised British Airways (BA) at the end of the 1980s, Dan-Air and Air Europe assumed BCal's former role as Gatwick's dominant scheduled short-haul operator while BA continued in BCal's erstwhile role as the airport's most important scheduled long-haul operator. Following the demise of Air Europe and Dan-Air (both of which had continued to provide a significant number of charter flights in addition to a growing number of scheduled short-haul flights at Gatwick) in the early 1990s, BA began building up Gatwick into a secondary hub (complementing its main hub at Heathrow). These moves resulted in BA becoming Gatwick's dominant airline by the turn of the millennium. BA's subsequent decision to de-hub Gatwick provided the space for EasyJet to establish its biggest base at the airport and to become its dominant airline.

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.[8][9]

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.[10] US Airways, Gatwick's last remaining US carrier, ended service from Gatwick on 30 March 2013.[11] This leaves Gatwick without a scheduled US airline for the first time in nearly 40 years.[12]

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[nb 3] airport, for £1.51 billion. The sale was completed on 3 December.[13] In February 2010, GIP sold minority stakes in the airport of 12% and 15% to the South Korean National Pension Service and the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) for £100 million and £125 million, respectively. 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.[14][15] The Californian state pension fund CalPERS acquired a 12.7% stake in Gatwick Airport for about $155 million (£104.8 million) in June 2010.[16] 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% stake in Gatwick Airport from GIP for £145 million. This transaction completed GIP's syndication process for the airport, reducing its stake to 42% (although the firm's extra voting rights mean it still controls the airport's board).[17]


The airport is owned and operated by Gatwick Airport Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of Ivy Holdco Limited. Ivy Holdco is, in turn, owned by a consortium of companies, which has changed over time. As of March 2016, the airport ownership is:

Owner Shares[18]
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%



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.[19]

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.[20]

The Civil Aviation Authority Safety Regulation Group is in Aviation House.[21] WesternGeco, a geophysical services company, has its head office and Europe–Africa–Russia offices in Schlumberger House,[22][23] a 124,000 sq ft (11,500 m2) building on the airport grounds[24] 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.[24] Fastjet has its registered and head offices at Suite 2C in First Point at the airport.[25]

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.[26] 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.[27]

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, Air Europa, Aurigny, British Airways, EasyJet, Flybe, Meridiana, Monarch Airlines, Norwegian Air Shuttle, TAP Portugal, Thomas Cook Airlines, Thomson Airways, Virgin Atlantic, WestJet or WOW air.[28][29][30]

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 claims this to be a world-first. This service is marketed under the "GatwickConnect" brand and is bookable through Dohop and Skyscanner. Initially, it is available to passengers flying with EasyJet, Norwegian Air Shuttle and WOW air.[31][32]

Flight movements

Tall, white control tower
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% over a 12-month period). Both runways are 148 ft (45 m) wide; they are 656 ft (200 m) apart,[33] which is insufficient for the simultaneous use of both runways. During normal operations the northern runway is used as a taxiway,[34][35] consistent with its original construction (although it was gradually widened).[36]

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).[37] On both runways, a continuous descent approach is used to minimise the environmental effects of incoming aircraft, particularly at night.[38]

Night flights are subject to restrictions;[39] 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.[41]

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 Immigration Enforcement, was opened near the airport on 18 March 2009 by the then Home Secretary Jacqui Smith.[42]

Major airlines

Exterior of the North Terminal
Aircraft stands at the North Terminal
The bridge connecting the North Terminal to its apron pier

The airport is a base for scheduled airlines 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.[43] As of October 2016, these respectively accounted for 26.6%,[nb 4] 61.3%[nb 4] and 13.1%[nb 5] of Gatwick's seat capacity.[44]

By late 2015, EasyJet flew over 100 routes from Gatwick with a fleet of more than 60 aircraft.[45][46] The airport is the carrier's largest base, and its 16 million passengers per year accounted for 45% of Gatwick's 2013 total[47] (ahead of Gatwick's second-largest passenger airline: BA, whose 4.5 million passengers comprised 14% of total passenger traffic in 2011–12).[nb 6][48][49]

EasyJet, BA and Norwegian are Gatwick's three biggest resident airlines. In terms of passengers carried, EasyJet and BA 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][32] 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 Air Shuttle (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% in 2010 to 42.1% in 2015; BA's share dropped from 18.3% in 2010 to 15% in 2015; Norwegian's share rose almost three-fold from less than 3% in 2010 to 8.3% 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.[32]

EasyJet's acquisition of BA franchise carrier GB Airways in March 2008 increased its share of airport slots to 24% (from 17% in late 2007); the airline became the largest short-haul operator at the airport, accounting for 29% of short-haul passengers.[52] By 2009, BA's share of Gatwick slots had fallen to 20% from its peak of 40% in 2001.[53] By 2010, this had declined to 16%.[54][55] By mid-2012, EasyJet had 45% of Gatwick's early-morning peak time slots (6 am to 8:55 am).[nb 7][56]

By 2008, Flybe was Gatwick's third-largest airline (accounting for 9% 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 6][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 8] at the airport to EasyJet for £20 million.[59][60] The latter's share of Gatwick slots increased to 44% in summer 2014; second-placed BA has held about 16% 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 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.[66][67] On 16 June 2015, it was announced that Canadian low-cost carrier WestJet would 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

Main article: 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]

Gatwick Aviation Museum

Situated to the North-West of the airfield near the village of Charlwood, there is a Museum including original items and photographs from Gatwick's history, as well as a variety of military aircraft. It is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday all year round.[89]


The airport has two terminals, South and North. 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. The North and South Terminals are connected by a 0.75 miles (1.21 km), elevated, two-way automated people mover.

South Terminal

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

The official opening of the central and main pier of what is now the South Terminal, with 11 aircraft stands, was on 9 June 1958. Gatwick was one of the world's first airports with an enclosed pier-based terminal, which allowed passengers to walk under cover to waiting areas near the aircraft (with only a short walk outdoors).[90] Another feature of Gatwick's new air terminal was its modular design, permitting subsequent, phased expansion.[91]

As passenger numbers grew, a circular satellite pier was added to the terminal building. It was connected to the main terminal by the UK's first automated people mover system.[90] (This replaced the original North pier dating from 1962; and the people mover was subsequently replaced with a walkway and travelators).

North Terminal

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

Construction began on the North Terminal on land previously earmarked for a second runway in the draft plan of May 1970. This was the largest construction project south of London in the 1980s, costing £200 million.[34][35][92][93] In 1991 a second aircraft pier was added to the North Terminal.

On 16 May 2005 the new Pier 6 opened at a cost of £110 million, adding 11 pier-served aircraft stands. The pier is linked to the North Terminal's main building by the largest air passenger bridge in the world, spanning a taxiway and providing passengers with views of the airport and taxiing aircraft.[94]

Terminal assignments and rearrangements

As part of a recently agreed, seven-year strategic commercial partnership between Gatwick and EasyJet, the airport has proposed a number of changes to individual airlines' terminal locations. These will see EasyJet consolidate all its 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 would 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.[95][46] However it was decided in February 2016 to postpone the agreed relocation of airlines until 25 January 2017, to avoid operational disruptions over the 2016–17 Christmas season and to give all parties involved enough time to deal with any unforeseen issues ahead of the February 2017 half-term holidays.[96]

Airlines and destinations

The following airlines operate regular scheduled and charter flights to and from Gatwick Airport:[97]

Adria AirwaysSeasonal: Ljubljana North
Aegean AirlinesAthens
Seasonal: Heraklion
Seasonal charter: Kalamata
Aer LingusDublin, Knock
Seasonal charter: Friedrichshafen, Geneva, Grenoble (begins 18 December 2016),[98] Lyon
AeroflotMoscow-Sheremetyevo North
Air Arabia MarocCasablanca, Tangier South
airBalticRiga South
Air Canada RougeSeasonal: Toronto–Pearson, Vancouver (begins 8 June 2017)[99] North
Air EuropaMadrid South
Air MaltaMalta South
Air TransatToronto–Pearson
Seasonal: Calgary, Montréal–Trudeau, Vancouver
AlbaStarSeasonal charter: Palma de Mallorca North
AurignyGuernsey South
Austrian AirlinesSeasonal: Innsbruck (begins 7 January 2017)[100] South
BelaviaMinsk South
BH AirSeasonal: Burgas
Seasonal charter: Sofia, Varna
British AirwaysAlgiers, Alicante, Amsterdam, Antigua, Barbados, Barcelona, Bermuda, Bordeaux, Cancún, Dubrovnik, Edinburgh, Faro, Fort Lauderdale (begins 6 July 2017),[101] Fuerteventura, Funchal, Genoa, Glasgow, Grenada, Jersey, Kingston–Norman Manley, Lanzarote, Lima, Málaga, Malta, Marrakech, Mauritius, Naples, New York–JFK, Nice, Oakland (begins 28 March 2017),[102] Orlando–International, Port of Spain, Porto, Providenciales, Punta Cana, Rome–Fiumicino, Saint Kitts, St. Lucia, Salzburg, San José de Costa Rica, Seville, Tampa, Tenerife–South, Tirana, Tobago, Turin, Valencia, Venice, Verona, Vienna
Seasonal: Bari, Bodrum, Cagliari, Cape Town, Catania, Dalaman, Friedrichshafen, Geneva, Grenoble, Heraklion, Ibiza, Innsbruck, Larnaca, Limoges (begins 28 May 2017),[103] Malé, Paphos, Pisa, Rhodes, Thessaloniki
Cathay PacificHong Kong South
Croatia AirlinesSeasonal: Split South
easyJetAberdeen, Alicante, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Bari, Basel/Mulhouse, Belfast–International, Bologna, Brindisi, Budapest, Catania, Edinburgh, Faro, Fuerteventura, Geneva, Gibraltar, Glasgow, Gran Canaria, Granada (begins 4 February 2017),[104] Hurghada, Inverness, Isle of Man, Jersey, Kraków, Lanzarote, La Palma, Larnaca, Lisbon, Ljubljana (begins 5 December 2016),[105] Lyon, Málaga, Malta, Marrakech, Murcia, Nantes, Naples, Nice, Palma de Mallorca, Paris–Charles de Gaulle, Porto, Reykjavík–Keflavík, Sofia, Stuttgart, Tallinn, Tel Aviv–Ben Gurion, Tenerife–South, Verona
Seasonal: Antalya, Bastia, Bodrum, Brest, Cephalonia, Chania, Corfu, Dalaman, Figari, Grenoble, Ibiza, Izmir, Kos, La Rochelle, Östersund (begins 11 December 2016),[106][107] Preveza, Pula, Rhodes, Salzburg, Santiago de Compostela, Santorini, Split, Tivat, Turin, Zakynthos
easyJetAgadir, Almería, Athens, Berlin–Schönefeld, Bordeaux, Copenhagen, Funchal, Hamburg, Innsbruck, Luxembourg, Madrid, Marseille, Milan–Linate, Milan–Malpensa, Montpellier, Munich, Palermo, Paphos, Pisa, Prague, Rome–Fiumicino, Seville, Thessaloniki, Toulouse, Valencia, Venice, Vienna, Zürich
Seasonal: Ajaccio, Biarritz, Dubrovnik, Friedrichshafen, Heraklion, Kalamata, Minorca, Mykonos, Olbia
easyJet SwitzerlandBasel/Mulhouse, Geneva North
EmiratesDubai–International North
Enter AirSeasonal charter: Corfu, Heraklion, Kos, Rhodes, Skiathos, Thessaloniki, Zakynthos South
FlybeNewquay South
Seasonal charter: Chambéry, Corfu, Heraklion, Kos, Lyon, Rhodes, Samos, Skiathos, Thessaloniki, Zakynthos
Iberia ExpressMadrid South
IcelandairReykjavík–Keflavík North
Iraqi Airways
operated by AirExplore
Baghdad,3 Sulaimaniyah3 South
Med-View AirlineLagos South
MeridianaNaples, Cagliari, Olbia North
Monarch AirlinesAlicante, Almeria, Barcelona, Faro, Funchal, Gibraltar, Gran Canaria, Hurghada, Lanzarote, Lisbon, Málaga, Minorca, Nice, Palma de Mallorca, Tenerife–South, Venice, Zagreb (begins 28 April 2017)[108]
Seasonal: Antalya, Dalaman, Dubrovnik, Friedrichshafen, Geneva, Grenoble, Ibiza, Innsbruck, Kittilä (begins 2 December 2016),[109] Larnaca, Lyon, Paphos, Preveza, Rhodes, Salzburg, Turin (begins 7 January 2017),[109] Verona
Montenegro AirlinesSeasonal: Tivat South
Norwegian Air Shuttle
operated by Norwegian Air International
Aalborg, Alicante, Barcelona, Bergen, Berlin–Schönefeld, Budapest, Copenhagen, Faro, Fuerteventura, Funchal, Gothenburg, Helsinki, Larnaca, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, Madrid, Málaga, Nice, Oslo–Gardermoen, Palma de Mallorca, Reykjavík–Keflavík, Rome–Fiumicino, Rovaniemi (begins 19 December 2016),[110] Stavanger, Stockholm–Arlanda, Tenerife–South, Tromsø, Trondheim, Warsaw–Chopin
Seasonal: Ålesund, Almeria, Cephalonia, Chania, Corfu, Dubrovnik, Grenoble, Ibiza, Pula, Salzburg, Santorini, Split
Seasonal charter: Grenoble, Lleida–Alguaire, Sofia
Norwegian Air Shuttle
operated by Norwegian Long Haul[nb 9]
Boston, Fort Lauderdale, Los Angeles, New York–JFK, Oakland, Orlando–International
Seasonal: Las Vegas, San Juan
NouvelairSeasonal charter: Djerba, Monastir South
Pegasus AirlinesIstanbul–Sabiha Gökçen
Seasonal: Antalya, Bodrum, Dalaman
Royal Air MarocCasablanca, Marrakech, Rabat North
RwandairKigali (begins 24 January 2017) TBA
RyanairAlicante, Belfast–International, Cork, Dublin, Shannon, Seville South
Small Planet AirlinesSeasonal charter: Athens, Banjul, Corfu, Chania, Grenoble, Heraklion, Ivalo, Kalamata, Karmøy, Kefalonia, Kos, Larnaca, Gran Canaria, Malta, Preveza, Rhodes, Santorini, Skiathos, Tirana, Zakynthos South
operated by Travel Service
Prague South
SunExpressİzmir South
Swiss International Air LinesSeasonal: Geneva, Zurich (begins 24 December 2016) South
TAP PortugalLisbon, Porto South
Thomas Cook AirlinesAntalya, Burgas, Bodrum, Cancún, Dalaman, Enfidha, Fuerteventura, Holguín, Heraklion, Hurghada, Izmir, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, Malta, Paphos, Punta Cana, Sharm El Sheikh (resumes 11 April 2017),[111] Tenerife–South
Seasonal: Almería, Banjul, Barbados, Cape Town (begins 15 December 2016),[112] Cayo Coco, Corfu, Djerba, Faro, Geneva, Goa, Genoa, Grenoble, Heraklion, Ibiza, Innsbruck, Lleida–Alguaire, Kalamata, Kavala, Kefalonia, Kos, Larnaca, Lemnos, Menorca, Naples, Olbia, Orlando–International, Palma de Mallorca, Preveza, Reus, Rhodes, Rovaniemi, Sal, Salzburg, Santorini, Skiathos, Sofia (resumes 20 December 2016), Thessaloniki, Turin, Zakynthos
Thomson AirwaysAgadir, Alicante, Antalya, Boa Vista, Cancún, Dalaman, Dubai–Al Maktoum, Fuerteventura, Funchal, Girona, Heraklion, Gran Canaria, La Palma, Lanzarote, Liberia, Luxor, Málaga, Malta, Marrakech, Marsa Alam, Mauritius, Montego Bay, Orlando/Sanford, Palma de Mallorca, Paphos, Puerto Plata, Puerto Vallarta, Punta Cana, Sal, Sharm El Sheikh (resumes 30 March 2017),[113] St. Lucia (begins 4 May 2017), Tenerife–South, Varadero
Seasonal: Almeria, Acapulco, Alghero, Araxos Patras, Aruba, Barbados, Bodrum, Burgas, Catania, Chambéry, Chania, Colombo, Corfu, Dubrovnik, Fagernes, Faro, Geneva, Grenoble, Ibiza, Innsbruck, Ivalo, İzmir, Jerez, Kavala, Kefalonia, Kittilä, Kos, Kuusamo, Larnaca, Minorca, Mykonos, Naples, Phuket, Plovdiv, Preveza, Pula, Reus, Rhodes, Salzburg, Samos, Santorini, Skiathos, Sofia, Split, Thessaloniki, Tivat, Toulouse, Turin, Venice, Verona, Zakynthos
Tianjin AirlinesChongqing, Tianjin North
TunisairTunis South
Turkish AirlinesIstanbul–Atatürk, Istanbul–Sabiha Gökçen South
Ukraine International AirlinesKiev–Boryspil South
Virgin AtlanticAntigua, Barbados, Cancún, Grenada, Havana, Las Vegas, Montego Bay, Orlando–International, Saint Lucia, Tobago, Varadero (begins 2 April 2017)[114] South4
VuelingAsturias, Barcelona, Bilbao, Florence, Paris–Charles de Gaulle, Rome–Fiumicino, Santiago de Compostela, Rennes North
WestJetCalgary, Toronto–Pearson
Seasonal: Edmonton, Ottawa, St. John's, Vancouver, Winnipeg
Wizz AirBucharest South
WOW airReykjavík–Keflavík South

Traffic and statistics


In 2015, Gatwick became the first single runway airport to handle more than 40 million passengers annually.[116] By 2016, EasyJet accounted for approximately half of Gatwick's total passengers.[117] When ranked by global passenger traffic, Gatwick is 37th busiest internationally and the ninth busiest airport in Europe. Gatwick is Europe's leading airport for point-to-point flights[nb 10][118] and has the world's busiest single-use runway, with a maximum of 55 aircraft movements per hour.[119]

Busiest routes

The busiest routes to and from London Gatwick during 2015 are listed in the following table.

Busiest routes to and from London Gatwick (2015)
Rank Airport Passengers handled % Change
2014 / 15
1 Barcelona1,338,598Increase 6
2 Dublin1,083,542Increase 9
3 Málaga1,041,356Decrease 1
4 Amsterdam977,713Increase 15
5 Madrid906,550Increase 26
6 Dubai–International866,101Increase 12
7 Geneva844,939Increase 3
8 Alicante760,840Decrease 1
9 Faro749,514Increase 5
10 Tenerife–South739,089Increase 1
11 Orlando–International737,221Increase 5
12 Rome–Fiumicino726,151Increase 10
13 Copenhagen724,417Decrease 1
14 Palma de Mallorca710,848Increase 3
15 Edinburgh672,948Decrease 3
16 Venice–Marco Polo657,709Increase 11
17 Jersey649,377Increase 7
18 Nice–Côte d'Azur649,357Decrease 4
19 Glasgow612,497Steady 0
20 Milan–Malpensa528,232Increase 4
Source: UK Civil Aviation Authority[2]


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.[90][120] Passenger numbers reached one million for the first time during the 1962–63 fiscal year,[nb 11] with British United Airways (BUA) accounting for four-fifths.[121] The 1.5 million mark was exceeded for the first time during the 1966–67 fiscal year.[nb 12] This was also the first time more than half a million scheduled passengers used the airport.[122] Gatwick accommodated two million passengers for the first time during the 1967–68 fiscal year[nb 13] and three million in the 1969–70 fiscal year,[nb 14] with BUA accounting for nearly half.[123][124] By the early 1970s, 5 million passengers used Gatwick each year, with a record 5.7 million during the 1973–74 fiscal year.[nb 15] During that period, British Caledonian accounted for approximately half of all charter passengers and three-fourths of scheduled passengers.[125] Within a decade annual passenger numbers doubled, to 10 million; they doubled again, to over 20 million, by the late 1980s.[90][126][127][128] By the turn of the millennium, Gatwick handled more than 30 million passengers annually.[90]

Gatwick passenger totals, 2000–2015 (millions)
Updated: 3 April 2016.[2]
Number of passengers[nb 16] Percentage change Number of movements[nb 17] Freight (tonnes)
2000 32,068,540 260,859 318,905
2001 31,181,770 Decrease2.8% 252,543 280,098
2002 29,627,420 Decrease5.0% 242,379 242,519
2003 30,005,260 Increase1.3% 242,731 222,916
2004 31,466,770 Increase4.9% 251,195 218,204
2005 32,775,695 Increase4.2% 261,292 222,778
2006 34,163,579 Increase4.2% 263,363 211,857
2007 35,216,113 Increase3.1% 266,550 171,078
2008 34,205,887 Decrease2.9% 263,653 107,702
2009 32,392,520 Decrease5.3% 251,879 74,680
2010 31,375,290 Decrease3.1% 240,500 104,032
2011 33,674,264 Increase7.3% 251,067 88,085
2012 34,235,982 Increase1.7% 246,987 97,567
2013 35,444,206 Increase3.5% 250,520 96,724
2014 38,103,667 Increase7.5% 259,692 88,508
2015 40,269,087 Increase5.7% 267,760 73,371
Source: UK Civil Aviation Authority[2]

40.3 million passengers passed through Gatwick in 2015, an increase of 5.7% over the previous year.[2] North Atlantic, Irish, European scheduled and other long-haul[nb 18] passenger traffic recorded increases over the previous year of 11.6%, 8%, 7.2% and 4% to 1.89 million, 1.39 million, 26.7 million and 3.54 million, respectively. UK[nb 19] and European charter[nb 20] traffic saw decreases over the corresponding figures for 2014 of 1.6% and 1.1% to 3.6 million and 3.4 million passengers, respectively. Air transport movements increased by 3% to 267,767. Cargo volume decreased by 17.3% to 73,411 metric tonnes.[116]

Compared with a year earlier, October 2016 passenger numbers increased by 7.1% to 3.871 million (an increase of 255,600 over October 2015). The following changes were recorded amongst individual passenger traffic categories: North Atlantic traffic +44.4% (270,900 passengers); Irish traffic +8.1% (139,200 passengers); other long-haul[nb 18] traffic +6.8% (295,500 passengers); UK[nb 19] traffic +6.4% (348,100 passengers); European scheduled traffic +5% (2.515 million passengers); European charter[nb 20] traffic +0.9% (301,800 passengers). Air transport movements increased by 6.3% to 25,421. Cargo volume increased by 22.8% to 7,807 metric tonnes. Key to continuing growth in passenger traffic was a 22% increase in long-haul traffic. This was driven by additional passengers travelling to and from New York (+121%), Los Angeles (+56%) and Vancouver (+32%). The increase in UK traffic was driven by growth in passenger traffic to and from Belfast (+85%), Newquay (+31%) and Inverness (+13%).[129]

Ground transport

Grassy median, with billboard and road sign
North Terminal A23 roundabout

Gatwick has set goals of 40% public transport use by the time annual passenger traffic reaches 40 million (in 2015) and 45% by the time it reaches 45 million.[130]


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 London Underground
Gatwick Airport
Haywards Heath
Wivelsfield (northbound only)
Burgess Hill
Preston Park
Outdoor station with enclosed, overhead walkway
Airport railway station

The airport railway station, next to the South Terminal, provides connections along the Brighton Main Line to Victoria and London Bridge stations in London 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 provides 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 Cardiff. Pedestrians may reach Heathrow by a X26 Express Bus outside East Croydon station, an intermediate stop for rail service to London.

London Oyster Cards and contactless cards have been accepted on the Line since January 2016.[131]


National Express Coaches operates coaches to Heathrow Airport, Stansted Airport and cities and towns throughout the region and country. Oxford Bus Company operates direct services to Oxford, and EasyBus operates mini-coaches from both terminals to Earls Court and West Brompton.

Local buses connect the North and South Terminals with Crawley, Horley, Redhill, Horsham and Caterham. Services are offered by Metrobus and Fastway, a partly 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 

National Rail Gatwick Airport
to Brighton
Airport inter-terminal transit, showing the latest generation of rolling stock approaching the North Terminal

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 transit shuttle normally consists of two automatic, three-car, driver-less trains. Although colloquially known as a "monorail",[132] the shuttle runs on a dual, concrete track with rubber tyres and is not (technically) a monorail. The transit is ground-side, and besides linking the two terminals also serves to link the North terminal to the airport railway station.

The shuttle opened in 1987, along with the North Terminal, and initially used Adtranz C-100 people-mover cars which remained in operation until September 2009, by which time they had travelled a total of 2.5 million miles (4 million km). Gatwick began upgrading its shuttle service in April 2008, with a bus replacement service in place from September 2009. A new operating system and shuttle cars (six Bombardier CX-100 vehicles)[133] was installed, and the guideway and transit stations were refurbished at a total cost of £45 million. The system re-opened on 1 July 2010, two months ahead of schedule;[134][135] it featured live journey information and sensory technology to count the number of passengers at stations.

An earlier transit system, that opened in 1983 to link the main terminal (now the South Terminal) to the (then new) circular satellite pier, was the UK's first automated people-moving system. This system has since been replaced by a walkway-and-moving walkway link, although the remains of the elevated guideway are still visible.[132]

Expansion proposals

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.[34][35][136] 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.[137]

Airport management's proposal for a second runway (south of the existing runway and 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 was published in July 2015.[138][139] Another proposal would extend the North Terminal south, with a passenger bridge in the area currently occupied by aircraft stands without jet bridges.[137] 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.[140]

In late 2011, the Department for Transport also began a feasibility study for 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 less environmental consequences than Heathrow, they felt the economic benefits of Gatwick vs. Heathrow were not as great, nor as broad-ranging.[141] Gatwick are disputing the findings.[142]

Accidents and incidents

See also


  1. Pronounced /ˈɡætwk/.[3]
  2. independent from government-owned corporations
  3. as of May 2012
  4. 1 2 excluding scheduled regional air services
  5. including scheduled regional air services
  6. 1 2 1 April 2011 to 31 March 2012
  7. British Airways, 15%; Thomson Airways, 11%; Monarch Airlines, 7%; Flybe and Thomas Cook Airlines, 6% each
  8. including eight early-morning peak-time slot pairs
  9. Temporarily operated by Norwegian Long Haul (pending approval of Norwegian Air International's US foreign air carrier permit application).
  10. accounting for 93% of all passenger traffic as of March 2012
  11. 1 April 1962 to 31 March 1963
  12. 1 April 1966 to 31 March 1967
  13. 1 April 1967 to 31 March 1968
  14. 1 April 1969 to 31 March 1970
  15. 1 April 1973 to 31 March 1974
  16. number of passengers including both domestic and international
  17. number of movements represents total aircraft takeoffs and landings during each year
  18. 1 2 excluding North Atlantic
  19. 1 2 including the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man
  20. 1 2 including North Africa



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External links

Media related to London Gatwick Airport at Wikimedia Commons
Gatwick Airport travel guide from Wikivoyage

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