“New” Gatwick

By | Category: Travel rumblings

From today Gatwick is no longer run by BAA. Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP), the owners of London City Airport, take over the running of the airport so what might be expected? In the short term, probably only cosmetic changes like signage, uniforms and names will alter. But what should happen in the longer term?

A problem with the old owners was that, by owning so many airports around London, competition was stifled so the first thing I should like to see is a wider net of destinations. Bring back more North American and Asia Pacific flights so there will be a true alternative to Heathrow and don’t let Gatwick drift into just being an airport for charter holiday flights and no-frills airlines.

GIP has already announced that they will do something about the long security lines that can occur. For an international airport the current situation is an embarrassment when people in the south terminal are directed upstairs to an overspill entrance. And in the north terminal the queues to get through security can stretch to the check-in desks. In fairness GIP has recognised this issue as a problem and has pledged to do something.

For visiting passengers, more signs in different languages would be a good idea. How BAA could have been so insular in thinking every passenger had a wide command of English stretches the imagination. There are more signs in foreign languages in the coffee shops than in the main terminals. 

The day has begun inauspiciously. The Docklands Light Railway service, the main way of using public transport to get to London City Airport, is suspended due to engineering works today and over the weekend. And as I said earlier, London City is owned by GIP. Let’s hope this is just coincidence.

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