Gatwick airport has announced a £183.9 million project to redevelop its South Terminal Pier 1.

The existing pier, which opened in 1958, will be demolished in the New Year, with a two-storey replacement set to open in summer 2015.

The new facility will include a new baggage system allowing passengers to use automated fast-bag drops, and gate rooms for passengers, linked to five new aircraft stands by air bridges.

Airlines will also have the option to offer “day before” check-in, through a new automated bag store system.

Ahead of the opening of the new building, the South Terminal will benefit from a new checked luggage system which will allow bags to be checked in at any of the nine check-in zones and sent to any area of the baggage system.

Business Traveller asked the airport how passengers would be affected while the redevelopment work is taking place, and received the following response:

“Gatwick undertook in-depth and detailed planning before the project and looked at ways to prevent the passenger being affected. We have already refurbished pier 2 and segregated the arrivals and departures to allow for a quicker and smoother transition for all passengers as well as creating extra capacity in those areas due to the segregation which allows for greater capacity on its own.

“We have also worked and planned on how to create greater capacity on a whole by removing some stands and things like this – so we have catered for and looked after our passengers needs all the while this fantastic project is being undertaken.”

The project follows a series of upgrades at Gatwick airport, including the extension of the airport’s North Terminal (see online news November 18, 2011), and a revamped security area at the South Terminal (see online news October 11, 2011).

Gatwick also recently announced plans to “develop options for a second runway”, although a legal agreement prevents any such facility from being built until after 2019 (see online news October 17).

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Report by Mark Caswell