Gatwick to open phase one of US$1.5bn investment project

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Above: A view of world’s largest self-service bag drop zone in the North Terminal

Gatwick Airport will open the first phase of its new departures level in the North Terminal on October 20, which forms part of an ongoing £1bn (US$1.5bn) investment program aimed at transforming the airport.

The £36m (US$54.5m) project will include the world’s largest self-service bag drop zone and the new check-in hall will increase peak check-in capacity from 3,000 to 4,350 passengers per hour. Operational testing of the bag drop zone will take place two weeks prior to the 20 October opening, while the check-in hall will be opened in two phases between October 2015 and April 2016.

This follows successful trials of a self-service bag drop in the South Terminal which proved queuing times can be significantly shortened by allowing passengers to take charge of their own journey through the airport.  

Self-service bag drop enables passengers who have checked in online to take their bags straight to a machine upon arrival at the airport, where they can print their luggage tag, apply it to their bag and load it straight onto Gatwick’s state-of-the-art baggage sorting system. Gatwick will have 60 check-in points with 48 of these being self-service bag drop units, 28 of these will be open for the October date. This means the check-in process can be completed in less than two minutes. 

Above: An artists impression of the new check-in hall

Gatwick CEO Stewart Wingate said, “Gatwick has added eight million passengers since we came into private ownership in 2009, and we are about to reach the 40 million mark. This is a decade ahead of industry predictions and we will continue to grow.   

“While we wait for a decision on building a new runway, we are investing billions to ensure we can grow from our existing infrastructure, but this will only take us so far. 

“Gatwick remains the best and most deliverable option for expansion – we can go from the world’s most efficient single runway airport to the world’s most efficient two-runway airport while limiting the impact on the environment.”

Above: A view of the entrance from the shuttle to the new check-in hall

Other aspects of the North Terminal development program will include:

• £30m (US$45m) to create a world-leading new security area opening in North Terminal in Summer 2016, halving passenger transit times and giving Gatwick the ability to process 5,000 passengers per hour

• £21m (US$32m) invested to create a world-class new departure lounge in North Terminal – more space will make room for future growth while more retail and restaurant space will offer more choice

• £10m (US$15m) is being invested to fully refurbish the North Terminal’s arrival area, and is due to open in time for the peak of Summer 2016

• £10m (US$15m) to upgrade the North Terminal border zone – more space, new technologies and 15 state-of-the-art new e-gates will help lead to shorter queues for passengers

• £250m (US$379m) to maintain and replace facilities including lifts, escalators and the technology infrastructure

• £80m (US$121m) to reconfigure the Pier 5 facility and £185m (US$280m) to construct a state-of-the-art new Pier 1, offering new aircraft stands, gate rooms, new lounge facilities, and storage for 2,600 bags

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Helen has worked for UKi Media & Events for nearly a decade. She joined the company as assistant editor on Passenger Terminal World and since progressed to become editor of five publications, covering everything from aviation, logistics and e-commerce to meteorology. She has a love for travel and property and has redeveloped three houses in three years. When she’s not editing magazines, she’s running around after her two boys and their partner in crime, Pete the pug.

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