Gatwick has revealed details of more than £1 billion fresh investment in the airport, which will see a new aircraft stand added allowing the hub to better accommodate A380s.
The airport on Wednesday (June 13) revealed details of a new five-year capital investment plan, outlining some £1.11 billion spending up to 2023 - including £266 million in 2018/19 alone.
Chief executive Stewart Wingate said the improvements would boost Gatwick’s long-haul capacity and allow overall passenger numbers to swell to 53 million by 2023.
He added the additional £1.11 billion took investment in Gatwick to £3.14 billion since Global Investment Partners bought a stake in the airport in 2009.
Key to Gatwick’s ambitions is the Pier 6 Western Extension, the first phase of which would see Pier 5 re-profiled to handle Airbus A380s and the taxiway widened to accommodate its 80-metre wingspan, allowing it to move between the pier and the runway. Pier 6 will then be extended, doubling it in size.
Other projects due to get under way this year include a new domestic arrivals facility and baggage reclaim at Gatwick’s south terminal, and a new mezzanine extension at the airport’s north terminal departure lounge to house new restaurants.
Elsewhere, the north terminal will trial biometric auto-boarding technology and gain a new reception centre for passengers with reduced mobility, while self-service bag drop will be extended across both terminals.
There will be new hotel capacity at the south terminal and an additional 1,200 parking spaces ready for summer 2018. The airport will support more electric vehicles.
Works will also begin to ready the airport’s mainline station for a Network Rail upgrade.
“Gatwick is a major piece of national infrastructure, and our continued growth and ability to attract long-haul airlines is vital for the health of the UK economy, particularly in a post-Brexit world,” said Wingate.
“We are exploring ways to grow our capacity, including developing new systems and processes to handle more passengers, and considering how we use all our existing infrastructure in the future.
“By committing to spend another £1.11 billion, Gatwick can continue to grow sustainably, attract new airlines and offer more global connections, while providing an excellent service to passengers.
“This year we will welcome new quieter aircraft with the introduction of A321s by easyJet and we are developing our infrastructure now, by reconfiguring airfield stands and planning for the construction of a major extension to our Pier 6 facility. These initiatives will support this next phase of growth.
“Looking beyond this capital investment programme, we welcome the government’s support for airports making best use of their existing runways and we will plan for our longer term future by developing a Masterplan later this year.”
Gatwick will also look at various innovative technologies to improve efficiency and service, such as robot car parking, a new integrated command and airport operations centre to boost communication between the airport, airlines and ground handles, and a smart taxiway lighting system making the airport easier for pilots to navigate.