More international airlines should concentrate more on Gatwick

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This topic contains 38 replies, has 13 voices, and was last updated by  BusinessTraveller 4 years, 7 months ago.

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    I believe since LHR is running at near 99% capacity, international airlines should consider moving some of their operations to LGW, being the second largest London airport and running at around 70% capacity.

    We have seen recent operations move and some which will be starting in the near future such as Korean Air offering direct flight to Seoul, Vietnam Airlines offering direct flights to Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh, Air Asia X to KL and finally the latest addition being Air Hong Kong.

    It would be a great opportunity for other airlines to have duplicate flights out of LGW. For e.g airlines such as Singapore Airlines, Cathay, Eva Air, Air China, Air India, Turkish Airlines, etc. This should be encouraged to give the customers a second option.

    Gatwick has the capacity to expand tremendously and it is so frustrating to see that the government is not allowing it to happen. A second runway at Gatwick will definitely get a yes vote from me.



    Sadly, a second runway at LGW didn’t get a yes from the Government. And room-to-expand at LGW comes at off peak, and off off peak hours – hardly what many carriers want for their schedules. True, a few have been lured to LGW, thanks to GIP’s 1.5B USD investment in the airport. I’m sure a few more will come in the future. A few years ago, MH announced additional services to LGW which never materialised.

    Some of the carriers you listed above used to be at LGW (Cathay, for example – which operated LGW-CDG-HKG). Sadly, they couldn’t make the money like they could at LHR, so off to LHR they went!

    KE has an odd schedule at LGW, if you look at their press release, the a/c overnights on the ground, not the best way of making money.

    You have some nice thoughts above, but sadly it’ll take quite a bit for them to add services to a second airport in London, mostly high yield customers!



    Another thing that amazes me is Iberia not having any operations in and out of LGW, which is supposedly BA’s second largest hub. BA only flies to Malaga – No Madrid or Barcelona flights!

    Is there any justification to this at all? Because I do not see any.



    Not really.

    While a move to the “hub without the hubbub” would be appreciated by many, there are issues with its location, the expense of getting there on public transport (a GEx rtn now costs nearly £30 in standard class), the scarcity of parking gates and lack of transfer facilities. Although the new owners are investing heavily to bring existing facilities up to standard, there is still a way to go to move beyond that with a master plan for the next quarter century.

    This is an extract from the current master Plan, released in 2006:

    At Heathrow, capacity can be increased by:

    – banning private jets
    – banning aircraft with capacity less than 120 passengers
    – introducing Mixed Mode flying to make better use of runway capacity (already being trialled)
    – improving European Air Traffic Control arrangements in other ways to reduce stacking
    – using larger aircraft (777-300ER and A380)
    – permitting super-silent aircraft to use the airport between midnight and 6am (e.g. 787)

    At Gatwick:

    The ban on a second “wide-spaced” runway (LGW already has a “close-parallel” second runway for alternate use only) at Gatwick is not government-related; it stems from a local agreement made with West Sussex County Council way back in 1979, and runs out in 2019.

    GIP (LGW’s owners) has already had plans approved to increase capacity by six million passengers between now and 2018; the new North Terminal BA Check-In annex is part of this investment.

    LGW is moving towards being able to accept an A380 in regular operations (i.e. not from a remote stand), which will further increase capacity, and there has already been significant construction (without fanfare) of significant additional apron capacity which could presage the construction of a new terminal in the next few years, all in advance of a new runway.




    Sri Lankan Airlines is looking to fly to Gatwick as well by the end of next year offering flights to Colombo via Male…



    The Hong Kong Airlines flights to/from Gatwick look perfect. They are at the exact premium times that business travellers want and as it is an all business class service, as long as they can get the City peeps to travel to Gatwick instead of LHR, this should be a winner.

    Does anyone remember the flight times of Oasis Hong Kong? I was wondering if someone had been keeping a hold of the slots until now.



    Here you go:

    The flight timings are admittedly similar to HK airlines, hopefully HK airlines will not go the same way!

    I think Garuda and maybe China Southern could be the next candidates for LGW service.

    Plus Comair (BA Franchisee, and EC affiliate company) is planning on operating a Durban/Johannesburg to LGW using a newly acquired 767, this should be a big boost, perhaps there may even be some mutual transfer traffic between BA/Comair.



    Norwegian has built up a nice business to and from Scandinavia and Finland from Gatwick in the past two to three years. It now operates to nine cities in the North from Gatwick, offering more direct routes to London than BA, SAS or Ryanair.

    I assume that business travellers instinctively go for Heathrow but Norwegian’s lower price and excellent product (new B737-800 with 787 interiors and wi-fi onboard) will get more travellers to test Gatwick. Additionally flights to and from Gatwick generally face less delays since the airport in less congested meaning less time spent circling London…

    I am happy to use LGW now having tested it quite a bit in the last few months.

    PS. Surprising to see Qatar drop Gatwick a few months ago.



    I used to fly Gatwick a lot when TWA and AA used it. Much fewer delays and ATC is much zippier than LHR. Biggest problme was if there is a cancellation, you have to gte to LHR for another flight whereas LHR all you need do is change terminals ( getting to T5 may feel it takes almost as long but best I ever did was 1 hour 30 including picking up and dropping off avis car.



    Obviously, most of these airlines don’t have interline booking agreements, but does anyone have experience in transiting at LGW?

    Transfer traffic is an important factor in new routes, yet with LGW dominated by loco carriers like Easyjet, it is surely impossible to bet on good transfer volumes.



    Transfer from international to domestic at Gatwick North with BA is not much fun. Passengers have to exit to landslide and then return through security to catch their onwards flight. Why this is, I do not know – probably the cost of providing transit security for relatively low volumes.



    I have always associated LGW as a bucket and spade airport. The facilities in the South Terminal 6 or 7 years ago were abysmal. i used to live in Jersey so used LGW a lot and hated it.

    As others have mentioned the cost of the train to Victoria (admittedly you can get slower trains a bit cheaper but try doing that in the rush hour either way with luggage!)

    Also with more low cost airlines using the facility through ticketing was not possible and you ended up booking your connecting flights like in a game of Russian roulette.

    A lot of airlines realise they can get more from Heathrow and more connecting passengers so its always going to be a poor mans alternative.



    Following the compulsory divesting of LGW the new team certainly appear to be turning things around.

    LGW used to have direct rail connections to Oxford, Birmingham, Manchester etc. as well as a premium express service into London. Over the past decade these have either deteriorated badly or have been withdrawn.

    Hopefully this report will be the precursor to a huge boost for much needed LGW connectivity

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