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Sir John Major officially opens Gatwick’s North Terminal extension

18 Nov 2011 by ScottCarey7
Former Prime Minister Sir John Major officially opened Gatwick’s new £73 million North Terminal extension yesterday (Thursday November 17), stating that the investment being made will help Britain “extend its reach far round the world and far into the future.” The terminal building has been extended by 1.25 hectares with 18 more check-in desks being installed, including self-service kiosks and new baggage reclaim facilities. The extension forms part of a wider £475 million investment in the whole of the North Terminal to help support an increase in passengers each year, from 16 million currently to a targeted 20 million by 2020. The new features include a multi-storey car park providing 1,177 new short-stay parking spaces, improvement to the inter-terminal monorail, a new interchange facility at the North Terminal and improvements to the security area, which now includes dedicated lanes for premium travellers, families and disabled passengers. Speaking at the opening Gatwick’s CEO Stewart Wingate said this is just another step towards making Gatwick “London’s airport of choice.” He added that the airport is committed to improving the passenger experience through delivering an improved service and investing in new facilities as well as standing by its three commitments which are: “We’ll treat you as our guest,” “We hate queues” and “We love to be on time.” Speaking to Business Traveller at the event airline business development manager Simon Edwards said that he is relishing the new lease of life he is experiencing in his role, now that the airport is attempting to compete under the new ownership of Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP). Edwards said that under former owners BAA Gatwick was seen as the “problem second child” but that the new owners are looking to unleash the potential of the airport. He sees the airport's affluent South East catchment area, direct rail links to central London and The City, as well as the new facilities and improved service, as key selling points when it comes to attracting new carriers to Gatwick. The airport has recently attracted Air Asia X (see online news October 25), Hong Kong Airlines (see online news November 11) and Vietnam airlines (see online news June 20) to base services there. Edwards sees the onward links that these carriers bring, especially into China, as fantastic news for the airport. Edwards also spoke of the improved service and facilities at Gatwick such as new security lanes which have brought the average transit time through security for passengers down to 1 minute 47 seconds. Finally, Fast Track security, which originated at Gatwick, has now been “taken on a level” according to Edwards and has been rebranded as Premium security, with an emphasis on luxury and comfort as well as speed. For more information visit gatwickairport.com. Report by Scott Carey
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