Gatwick Airport is expecting to see a significant increase in passengers traveling over the Christmas period, with up to 200 flights a day forecast to operate to and from the London airport, with top destinations including Dublin, Geneva and Tenerife.
Although the airport would usually see more than 700 flights a day during this time, it believes the increase in demand following the second national lockdown is positive news for the aviation industry over the festive period.
The increase in flights coincides with the UK government’s new Test to Release system, which came into operation on December 15, reducing self-isolation restrictions for those arriving from non-exempt destinations, including the Canary Islands, if they have a negative result from a Covid-19 test after five days. This is in addition to the government announcement that overall quarantine time has been reduced from 14 to 10 days.
Stewart Wingate, CEO, Gatwick Airport, said, “We know the demand for international travel is strong, especially as we approach the festive period. It is vital for the recovery of the aviation industry that we make traveling during the pandemic as safe and easy as possible.
“With our airlines increasing flying schedules to meet this demand, we expect to see many more passengers traveling through Gatwick than over the past couple of months and we are doing all we can to offer passengers a greater level of reassurance.
“Passengers are able to book Covid-19 PCR screening at Gatwick or, of course, use other providers away from the airport if they want to get away this Christmas. In addition, expanding the provision of UV technology across more security lanes in the North Terminal is yet another innovative step we have taken in helping protect passengers at Gatwick Airport.”
Gatwick is expanding its successful UV light treatment of security trays, which was launched in September. Gatwick was the first UK airport to treat security trays with enough UV light energy to guarantee a 99.9% microbe disinfection rate and additional security lanes in Gatwick’s North Terminal have now been fitted with the technology.
The expansion of the system, provided by Smiths Detection, ensures all passengers can travel with the reassurance of Covid-free security trays (a high-touch surface area), with laboratory testing demonstrating the UV light energy reduces the spread of coronaviruses such as Covid-19 and SARS.
Samantha Williams, chair, Passenger Advisory Group, said, “The Passenger Advisory Group welcomes this positive use of innovation and technology, to both protect and reassure passengers as they travel through Gatwick and importantly to help in building back passenger confidence in travel.”