The new chairman of Gatwick Airport, Sir Roy McNulty, has criticised the Gatwick Express train service, saying that it “at times veers towards Third World conditions.”
Speaking to the London Evening Standard, the new chairman aired his concerns that the Gatwick Express service gives incoming passengers a bad first impression due to overcrowding and old rolling stock.
“In the short to medium term, our main priority is improvement in the road and rail infrastructure that serves the airport – and above all improvement in the Gatwick Express,” McNulty told The Standard.
A spokesperson for Southern, which operates the Gatwick Express, said, “In addition to providing a direct airport link Gatwick Express services now provide around 20,000 extra peak seats between Brighton and London every week to help meet the capacity challenge on that route.”
“Balancing the needs of the airport and the needs of Brighton line commuters is always going to be challenging particularly when operating over some of the most congested tracks in the country.”
Gatwick submitted its response to the Davies Commission last week, which is looking at how to expand airport capacity in the south-east (see online news May 16).
In the paper Gatwick argues that there needs to be better rail services to London’s airports, in order to attract more airlines.
“Although it already has excellent rail links, the airport – as well as some of its airlines – believe more dedicated, high quality and value for money services into London are fundamental to encouraging greater use of its capacity,” said Gatwick in a statement. “Key to this is for better, fit-for-purpose rolling stock to be introduced for the Gatwick Express,” the statement also suggested.
For more information visit gatwickairport.com.
Report by Scott Carey