Gatwick Airport is situated near the centre of Crawley in West Sussex and just over 45 kilometres from the city centre of London. This international airport, formally known as London Gatwick Airport, is the second largest and second busiest in all of the United Kingdom (which is made up of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland), preceded only by the massive London Heathrow Airport. In addition, it is the leading airport in Europe for point-to-point flights. In fact, charter flights prefer Gatwick to Heathrow when flying to and from London and South East England.
Several operators are based at Gatwick Airport, including:
There are three main airline business models. These are 1) full service, 2) low or no frills and 3) charter. Significantly, Gatwick Airport is the only airport in London that represents all three of these models in one or more of their main airlines.
Gatwick Airport belongs to Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP), who have sold stakes to several other major corporations (including National Pension Service and CalPERS).
The north terminal at Gatwick Airport, London.
The land on which this airport is now built once belonged to the De Gatwick family, who had their farming goats eating of its lush vegetation in the 13th century. This family held onto it until 1890, when it was sold to the Gatwick Race Course Company. After the First World War, the area across from the race course was made into an aerodrome. Eventually, this became known as the Gatwick Airport and, in 1933, commercial flights via this resource were approved. British Airways became Gatwick's principal operator shortly thereafter. Gatwick Airport was the home of the first circular airport terminal in the world. This terminal, aptly called The Beehive, was created in 1936.
After the Second World War, Gatwick was decommissioned, although still used for civil aviation. Then, in 1950, it was decided that Gatwick Airport would be used as an alternative to Heathrow. Two years later, the English government instructed that the airport be developed accordingly, taking some of the pressure off of Heathrow. Today, Gatwick continues to flourish under the ever-increasing development and demand.
From Gatwick, the busiest routes include Málaga Airport, Dublin Airport, Faro Airport, Alicante Airport and Orlando International Airport. The major airlines that contribute to Gatwick’s success include:
• Air Europa • Air Seychelles Mahé North • Air Southwest Newquay • British Airways • EasyJet • Emirates • Flybe • Monarch Airlines • Olympic Air • Qatar • Thomas Cook Airlines • Thomson Airways • US Airways • Virgin Atlantic Airways
Gatwick Airport provides excellent facilities to its passengers. Both the North and South terminals are equipped with a number of retail outlets, fashion stores, pharmacies, eateries (formal, family and take-away) and several chaplains of differing denominations. There is also a multi-faith prayer room and counselling room in each of the terminals for the comfort and convenience of the passengers.
Gatwick Airport is accessible via air, road and rail, making it easy for tourists and locals to use.