Gatwick unveils new five-year investment plan

Gatwick is to invest further in automation and technology over the next five years to enable more sustainable growth.

Its new five-year capital investment programme (CIP), unveiled today, includes initiatives such as robotic parking and automated boarding technology to speed up the process.

Including measures outlined in this new five-year plan, Gatwick’s total investment since 2009 will be £3.21 billion.

“Gatwick now serves 46 million passengers a year, and the airport is committed to exploring how to continue growing sustainably, providing jobs and boosting the local economy,” it said.

“While setting out an exciting long-term future vision is part of Gatwick’s recently published master plan, at the same time the CIP provides a strong focus on improving facilities for passengers and airlines, as well as continuing to enhance operational performance.”

The single biggest project to be delivered within the next five years is the Pier 6 western extension, which will allow more than half a million extra North Terminal passengers the to embark and disembark aircraft via a jetty-served stand, as well as improved gate waiting areas.

The design incorporates automated boarding technology, which uses biometrics to process passengers through e-gates straight onto the aircraft.

The airport is also planning ongoing investment in self-service bag drop technology, a significant expansion of international departure lounges in both the North and South terminals, time-based flow management to increase the capacity of its main runway, a new taxiway to enable aircraft to vacate the runway at the best location, a new car park in the North Terminal providing an extra 3,250 spaces from summer 21, and a ‘robotic parking’ trial will begin this autumn in the South Terminal offering passengers the benefits of valet parking without the need to surrender their keys.

Other initiatives include baggage auto re-flighting so when luggage doesn’t make a flight connection it will be automatically re-routed without needing to be retrieved from the system and a new special assistance airside lounge for the South Terminal, similar to the one that opened in the North Terminal last year.

Gatwick will also invest £37 million to complement the £150 million that the Department for Transport has committed to upgrade the train station. Work starts in spring 2020 and is expected to take two years.

CEO Stewart Wingate said: “We always put passengers at the heart of our investment plans and it’s great to see how automation and technology can further enhance the passenger experience.

“The plans explore ways we can grow capacity sustainably, including providing more space in our departure lounges. This investment will support our existing airlines, help attract new airlines and provide an enhanced service for the millions of people who choose to fly from Gatwick.”

(Travel Mole)