The story so far

How Gatwick has changed and we're continuing our transformation

Gatwick Airport is growing fast. Since 2009 when we changed ownership, our passenger numbers have grown from 31 million passengers to more than 45 million a year. We are currently half way through a £2.5 billion investment programme to improve our passengers' experience and the airport's efficiency, with investment to all areas of the airport.

Below we highlight our North Terminal re-development, Pier 1 and Pier 5 and our airline moves programme, which include some of the major projects that have been delivered to date:

North Terminal re-development

North Terminal securityFollowing the extension of the North Terminal in 2012, we started a complete re-development programme to increase capacity and make better use of existing space in the terminal. Utilising new technology and improved processes was at the heart of everything we did. The work concluded in 2016 following an intense 18-month construction programme, and at the end, we had:

  • Created a new check-in area with the world’s largest self-service North Terminal arrivalsbag drop zone. 
  • Delivered a newly built security facility which allows 5,000 passengers to be security screened every hour. 
  • Upgraded our arrivals area with more space and improved passenger flow. 
  • Upgraded border zone with new e-gate technology
  • Further investment was made into facilities such as lifts, escalators and the retail offering was a key component

North Terminal bag drop zoneAn investment of £36 million was made in creating the world’s largest self-service bag drop zone, allowing passengers who have checked-in online to print their luggage tag, load it straight onto the airport’s newly modernised baggage sorting system. The zone also allows  us to handle greater numbers of passengers by increasing peak check-in capacity from 3,000 to 4,350 passengers per hour. The North Terminal now has 60 self-service bag drop units, with others located in the South Terminal.

All of the the work above meant that we were able to achieve the full consolidation of easyJet into the North Terminal, as well as the whole airline moves pogramme.

Pier 1

In June 2016, we opened our newly re-built Pier 1 facility - the biggest single investment the airport has ever made at £186 million. The new Pier 1 replaced the airport's first pier, originally opened by the Queen in 1958.

The facility houses an entirely new baggage system for the South Terminal which can accommodate over 4,250 bags per hour.  In addition, the pier has the airport’s first early bag store which allows up to 2600 bags to be checked-in up to 18 hours before departure – providing more choice for our passengers and and also reducing queues by spreading out check-in times.

There are spacious passenger gate rooms with views right across the runway. Each gate has a family area and interactive spaces to keep children entertained and a business area. The gate rooms have a London square design theme.

Outside, four new taxiways provide nine extra holding points for aircraft – improving the efficiency of aircraft movements on and off the stands.  All stands have a choice of an airbridge or walk-in, walk-out with the option of using both to speed up the boarding/ disembarking. This helps to ensure more on time departures and also allows airlines to run their operation how they choose.

Pier 5

ThanksPier 5 London square to an investment of £80 million, with the re-design of Pier 5, we were able to create a two level pier with bigger gate rooms and better facilities for arriving and departing passengers. There are vertically separated arrival and departure routes smoothing passenger journeys and creating a more flexible and efficient operation for both our passengers and airlines. 

One of the key objectives of the build was the redesign and modernise the stands, allowing Gatwick the flexibility to handle new and changing types of aircraft. Pier 5 can now accommodate seven large aircraft and 12 smaller aircraft, or a combination of both.  Through this work, the airport can handle an additional 30 flights a day, delivering increased efficiency and supporting airport growth, while helping to improve the performance of our airlines.  

Airline moves

In January 2017, after two years of meticulous planning, three of our biggest airlines - easyJet, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic - moved terminals over a 72 hour period without a hitch.

easyJet consolidated all its operations in North Terminal, while British Airways moved to South Terminal and Virgin Atlantic to North Terminal.

This was a meticulously planned operation, involving over 80 construction projects, as well as numerous IT systems. The successful completion of the project is an essential part of Gatwick’s ongoing transformation to improve every aspect of the passenger experience and create vital new capacity for Gatwick and our airlines to grow sustainably. Having our biggest airlines positioned for growth will in turn help us to grow from our existing infrastructure.