Airfield and piers

Airfield and piers

Gatwick is the world’s busiest single runway airport, and that means our airfield is vital to our success; critical to our day-to-day on-time performance, future growth, our operational resilience, our airline partners and our passengers.

Over the next five years we will be investing over £250 million in a diverse programme of works, with an additional £200 million in the five years that follow. Our priority is to ensure Gatwick can accommodate the significant increases in passenger numbers, changes to aircraft fleet mixes and continued growth in long-haul routes forecast over the next 10 years. 

We have a number of projects, including works on the runways, piers, stands and taxiways. While these complex projects are being completed, we need to make sure that we continue operating at full capacity which requires precision planning and implementation. Much of our work has to take place during the night. 

One of the bigger programmes of work is an extension to Pier 6, almost doubling its size. This is still in the design phase, but will provide more short-haul pier-served stands, ensuring more than 97% of North Terminal passengers can access their aircraft from a pier. This is a project that is particularly important to airlines such as easyJet for whom efficient infrastructure facilitating rapid turn-arounds is crucial. easyJet is our biggest airline, accounting for 40% of our operation, so their operational efficiency is important to the whole Gatwick community.  

Pier 6 is currently home to the A380 stand used by Emirates. With a wingspan of 80 metres, the A380 aircraft needs a lot of space around it and our first challenge has been to identify a new location for it. Pier 5 has been selected, and will be reconfigured to provide a new, bigger stand and a much larger gateroom to match. We will also need to widen a taxiway before the A380 can start to operate from there. Emirates see lots of benefits to the new location because it will be closer to the departure lounge and their premium lounge. 

As well as Pier 6, we are exploring how we might create additional long-haul capacity in the South Terminal which may include further pier redevelopment.