by Hugh Morris, The Daily Telegraph, January 10, 2017
Passengers flying with British Airways from London Gatwick will now depart from the South Terminal for the first time in 30 years, instead of the North.
The move is part of a merry-go-round of airlines taking place at the West Sussex airport at the end of January that will see three of its biggest carriers - EasyJet, Virgin Atlantic and BA - swap terminals. It is expected to affect 10,000 workers at the airport - and many more passengers.
BA will switch with Virgin Atlantic, the former moving to the South Terminal, the latter moving to the North, while easyJet passengers will now only fly from the North, rather than from both as is currently the case. EasyJet is Gatwick’s biggest tenant, accounting for 42 per cent of its total traffic, with British Airways second with 15 per cent.
For passengers, it means those flying with Virgin and arriving at the airport by train will now have to catch the two-minute rail shuttle from the South to the North Terminal, while frequent fliers with BA will have to reacquaint themselves with the South Terminal. Gatwick has issued a statement urging passengers to check their terminal before travelling.
Gatwick is urging passengers to check their terminal before travellingCredit: Getty
The project is two years in the planning, with the three airlines agreeing to cut some of their scheduled flights over the three-day period to ease the transition.
The date of the move was left until after the busy festive period, and is mid-week, so that the airport has the luxury of a bit of breathing space. Still, Gatwick estimates some 50,000 passengers will depart on 277 flights during the move.
On January 24, easyJet will begin to pack up its belongings and begin the two-minute move north, then 24 hours later, BA and Virgin will begin their departure.
Gatwick has undertaken a series of tests to ensure that each airline’s operations will run smoothly from its new home, from check-in and issuing boarding cards to security and fuelling.
An aerial view of London GatwickCredit: Alamy
It was in 1988 that BA first moved from the South Terminal - then the sole terminal building - into the new, empty North. Its return to the South this month means that its long-haul passengers will have more lounge and gate space.
EasyJet and its passengers will benefit from all flights departing from the same terminal, removing confusion and simplifying travel plans.
All other airlines will continue to operate from their usual terminal.
“Relocating the airlines allows greater efficiency and positions all three carriers for growth, which in turn drives Gatwick’s growth,” explained chief operating officer Chris Woodroofe.
“For our passengers, investment at every step of their journey through the terminal will be hugely beneficial.
“The moves have been meticulously planned for more than two years, with close attention given to ensuring that the airport operation and the experience of our passengers is not affected during the transition.”
Gatwick handles more than 43million passengers a year, up from 31million in 2010, making it the UK's second busiest hub.
This article was written by Hugh Morris from The Daily Telegraph and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.