By Stephanie Wear, VP Aviation Development at London Gatwick

Summer season is in full-swing at London Gatwick – even if, as I write this, the weather doesn’t appear to have received the memo!

The UK’s topsy-turvy climate is just one factor keeping the demand to jet off on holiday sky-high. Last year at London Gatwick, we welcomed more than 40 million passengers. And now our summer season has kicked-off, we will be offering passengers across London and the South East the choice of more than 220 destinations, from nearly 60 airlines.

London Gatwick Control Tower
London Gatwick Control Tower

And demand for slots at London Gatwick shows no signs of abating. In the last month alone, we have welcomed the return of WestJet, with four weekly flights to Halifax and three weekly flights to St John’s in Canada, while Norwegian has added to its fantastic short-haul offer with four services per week to Gothenburg. British Airways now also flies four times weekly to Jersey, and easyJet began its twice-weekly operation to Skiathos just a few days ago.

And we’re gearing up to welcome more new airlines and routes over coming weeks too. Alongside new carriers such as ITA Airways, Atlantic Airways and Azores Airlines, existing airlines will be adding new destinations, including Air China to Beijing, China Southern to Guangzhou and in September, Norse to Las Vegas.

First Norse Boeing 787 Dreamliner taking off from Gatwick to New York
First Norse Boeing 787 Dreamliner taking off from Gatwick to New York

Singapore Arrival Slings London Gatwick into the Big League

Towards the end of last year, we announced the very exciting news that Singapore Airlines will be coming to London Gatwick from 22 June, flying five times per week to Changi Airport. This is a huge coup and showcases the increasing demand for slots at the airport, from some of the world’s most recognised and respected carriers.

Singapore Airlines is a hugely important new partnership for us at London Gatwick – and for people and businesses across our catchment in London and the South East.

The nation’s flag carrier, with its hub located at Changi Airport, is among the world’s most renowned carriers – earning the title of World’s Best Airline at the 2023 Skytrax awards – and will be the first carrier flying east from London Gatwick offering a premium economy cabin.

But beyond that, the new route to Singapore opens up a wealth of connections, not only to the glorious destination itself, but more widely across southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand, alongside inbound tourists to the region.

The Increasing Pull of London Gatwick

The desire of such a big player in the long-haul industry to come to London Gatwick further demonstrates the increasing pull of the airport and what we have to offer.

Gatwick South Terminal Forecourt

We often talk about the recent upgrades to our rail station and the fantastic connections into central London in under 30 minutes, as well as our terminal refurbishment project to give our departure lounge a new look and feel, focusing on ease, efficiency and experience for passengers. Another huge advantage is the size and strength of our catchment area. There are more than 17 million people who live within 90 minutes of London Gatwick – producing over 34 million passenger journeys a year.

We also stress our exciting growth plans as we work to bring our Northern Runway into routine use. London Gatwick is the only airport in the constrained London market with credible growth plans, deliverable before the end of this decade. We are currently the single busiest runway in the world and with our Northern Runway project, could cater for 75 million passengers per year and accommodate a significant number of additional long-haul services.

The Work Behind the Scenes

Such partnerships, however, don’t come about overnight and take a lot of work behind the scenes for months – even years – before coming to fruition. We need to identify key carriers for our market, have initial conversations, understand cultural requirements and expectations, appreciate and work with the needs and capacity of the airport and our operations, have more conversations – and this is all before we’re even close to signing on the dotted line.

In the past 15 months alone, London Gatwick has welcomed new airlines including Air India, Air China, China Eastern, China Southern, Saudia, Delta, Ethiopian Airlines, Air Mauritius and Air Peace. That’s a lot of travelling, pitching, conversing and researching!

Air China
Air China

And We’re Not Done Yet…

A key part of our strategy is to continue our growth in markets across Asia and the USA in particular. As you can see, we are certainly not standing still, and we will continue in earnest to have exciting conversations with a range of new and existing airlines to see where the rest of 2024 and beyond can take us – and in turn, where we at London Gatwick can take you. Watch this space!

By Stephanie Wear, VP Aviation Development at London Gatwick
By Stephanie Wear, VP Aviation Development at London Gatwick

 

This article was first published in the Airport Industry-News magazine.

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