Gatwick Airport’s £1bn birthday present to passengers

Computer graphic showing Gatwick Airport's �36m new check in area proposed in the North Terminal as part of a �1bn investment programme - picture courtesy of Gatwick Airport

Computer graphic showing Gatwick Airport's �36m new check in area proposed in the North Terminal as part of a �1bn investment programme - picture courtesy of Gatwick Airport

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Gatwick Airport has announced a £1billion investment programme as it marked its fifth birthday under independent ownership this week.

The break-up of the BAA monopoly saw Gatwick enter private ownership in 2009 allowing it to compete head-on for the first time with Heathrow, Stansted and other major European airports for airlines and passengers.

Private ownership also kick-started huge investment to drive improvements throughout the airport.

Through greater competition and major investment Gatwick has attracted six million more passengers in the past five years, flying to more destinations than any other UK airport.

Stewart Wingate, London Gatwick CEO, said: “It’s been an incredible five years and this is just the start. Gatwick is changing for the better and the fresh £1bn investment outlined today is a clear signal that we intend to become London’s airport of choice.

“Gatwick’s success shows what can be achieved when competition is allowed to thrive, helping standards rise and fares fall.

“It is a timely reminder ahead of next year’s airport expansion decision, when the UK must choose whether to build on the success of greater competition and a more open industry, or take a backwards step towards the monopolies of the past.”

Improvements outlined this week include:

Refurbishment of the North Terminal following similar work in the South Terminal. There will be £36m spent on creating a new check-in area including the world’s largest self-service bag drop zone.

The area will open in two phases between late 2015 and early 2016.

Around £30m will go towards creating a world-leading new security area opening in North Terminal in 2016 and £21m on a new departure lounge there. That will provide more 30,000sqft of new retail space, the airport says.

Some £10m is earmarked for fully refurbishing the North Terminal arrival area due to open in summer 2015 and a further £10m to upgrade the terminal’s border zone.

Around £250m will maintain and replace facilities including lifts and escalators; £80m will help reconfigure the Pier 5 facility and £185m will go towards constructing a state-of-the-art new Pier 1, offering new aircraft stands, gate rooms, new lounge facilities and storage for 2,600 bags.