Gatwick airport is moving ahead with its Gatwick Connects service in 2017, adding more airline partners once its January terminal switch has taken place.

The switch will see British Airways, Easyjet and Virgin Atlantic swap terminals during a 72-hour period between January 23 and 26.

Once the switch has taken place, it will allow Gatwick to once again concentrate on attracting new airlines to the airport, and also to encourage them to regard Gatwick as a place they can gain feeder traffic and connecting passengers.

Looking into 2017, according to Gatwick’s commercial director Guy Stephenson,

“It is inevitable that the low-cost carriers will be providing feed traffic to long-haul in some form.”

There has been much debate about the likelihood of low-cost carriers moving to this business model.

Low-cost carriers: Meeting in the middle

Stephenson says that the conversation between low-cost carriers (LCCs) and full service airlines is around the LCCs “wanting to preserve as much of the simplicity of what they do”, while at the same time putting a value against the cost that would be incurred.

Stephenson said that he thought “they will overcome the problems”, and as far as Gatwick providing a place where it could happen, with IT upgrades and the sole location of Easyjet in the North Terminal, along with long-haul carriers such as Virgin Atlantic, the process would be much easier.

“There is no question that for our North Terminal airlines, having Easyjet consolidated in there, and quite a lot of our long-haul airlines [also] in the North Terminal, it provides an interesting opportunity for them.”

Stephenson also pointed out that whether airlines decide to fully interline (ie: check baggage right the way through) or simply want to use Gatwick as the airport where a connection occurs, allowing self-connection in various forms, the airport had invested both in the physical infrastructure, including four baggage desks with two each in the North and South terminals, as well as in new IT upgrades.

For the full interview with Guy Stephenson, click here.

The most popular connections at Gatwick are:
Reykjavik to Barcelona
Orlando to Dublin
Cancun to Belfast
Jersey to Dubai