Text & Pictures: Serge Van Heertum - Translation: Marc Arys
© sbap 2020
 
Gatwick Airport, also known as London Gatwick (IATA: LGW, ICAO: EGKK), is a major international airport near Crawley in West Sussex, Southeast England. The airport is located at 29.5 miles (47.5 km) south of Central London. After Heathrow Airport, it is the second-busiest airport by total passenger traffic in the U and the ninth-busiest airport in Europe. It has a total area of 674 hectares.

Short History
The land on which Gatwick Airport stands was first developed as an aerodrome in the late 1920's. The Air Ministry approved commercial flights from the site in 1933, and the first terminal, "The Beehive", was built in 1935. Scheduled air services from the new terminal began the following year.
Major development work at the airport took place during the 1950's. The airport buildings were designed by Yorke Rosenberg Mardall between 1955 and 1988. In the 1960's, British United Airways (BUA) and Dan-Air London, were two of the largest British independent airlines based at Gatwick, with the former establishing itself as the dominant scheduled operator at the airport as well as providing a significant number of the airport's non-scheduled services. The latter becoming its leading provider of inclusive tour charter services.
Further rapid growth of charter flights at Gatwick was encouraged by the Ministry of Aviation, which instructed airlines to fly regular charter flights from Heathrow. Following the takeover of BUA by Caledonian Airways at the beginning of the following decade, the resulting airline, British Caledonian (BCal), became Gatwick's dominant scheduled airline during the 1970's. While continuing to dominate scheduled operations at Gatwick for most of the 1980's, BCal was also one of the airport's major charter airlines until the end of the 1970's together with Dan-Air, Laker Airways and British Airtours.
As a result of conditions imposed by Britain's Monopolies and Mergers Commission on the takeover of BCal by the then newly privatized British Airways (BA) at the end of the 1980's, Dan-Air and Air Europe assumed BCal's former role as Gatwick's dominant scheduled short-haul operator while BA continued in BCal's role as the airport's most important scheduled long-haul operator.
Following the demise of Air Europe and Dan-Air in the early 1990's, British Airways began building up Gatwick into a secondary hub, complementing its main hub at Heathrow. These moves resulted in BA becoming Gatwick's dominant airline by the turn of the millennium. BA's subsequent decision to de-hub Gatwick provided the space for EasyJet to establish its biggest base at the airport and become the current dominant airline.
BAA Limited (now Heathrow Airport Holdings Limited) and its predecessors, BAA Plc and the British Airports Authority, owned and operated Gatwick from 1 April 1966 to 2 December 2009.
From 1978 to 2008, many flights to and from the United States used Gatwick because of restrictions on the use of Heathrow implemented in the Bermuda II agreement between the UK and the US. US Airways, Gatwick's last remaining US carrier, ended service from Gatwick on 30 March 2013.
This left Gatwick without a scheduled US airline for the first time in 35 years. Delta Air Lines will launch service between Gatwick and Logan International Airport in Boston on 22 May 2020, making this the first US airline to service Gatwick since the withdrawal of the US Airways service in 2013. On 17 September 2008, BAA announced it would sell Gatwick after the Competition Commission published a report about BAA's market dominance in London and the South East. On 21 October 2009 it was announced that an agreement had been reached to sell Gatwick to a consortium led by Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP), who also had a controlling interest in Edinburgh airport, for £1.51 billion.
The sale was completed on 3 December. In February 2010, GIP sold minority stakes in the airport of 12% and 15% to the South Korean National Pension Service and the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) for £100 million and £125 million, respectively. These sales were part of GIP's strategy to syndicate the equity portion of the original acquisition by issuing bonds to refinance bank debt. Although this entails bringing additional investors into the airport, GIP aims to retain management control.
The Californian state pension fund CalPERS acquired a 12.7% stake in Gatwick Airport for about $155 million (£104.8 million) in June 2010. On December 21st, 2010, the A$69 billion (£44 billion) Future Fund, a sovereign wealth fund established by the Australian government in 2006, agreed to purchase a 17.2% stake in Gatwick Airport from GIP for £145 million. This transaction completed GIP's syndication process for the airport, reducing its stake to 42% (although the firm's extra voting rights mean it still controls the airport's board).

 
(Google Earth view) 
 
Today operations
Gatwick operates as a single-runway airport although it has two runways; the northern runway (08L/26R) can only be used when the main runway (08R/26L) is out of use for any reason.
The UK Integrated Aeronautical Information Package gives the Takeoff Run Available (TORA) of its main runway (08R/26L) as 3,255 m when aircraft take off in a westerly direction (26) and 3,159 m when takeoffs occur in an easterly direction (08). The documentation lists the respective TORA for the northern runway (08L/26R) as 2,565 m in both directions. Nearly three-quarters of takeoffs are towards the west (74% over a 12-month period). Both runways are 148 ft (45 m) wide; they are 656 ft (200 m) apart, which is insufficient for the simultaneous use of both runways. During normal operations the northern runway is used as a taxiway, consistent with its original construction (although it was gradually widened).
In October 2018, the airport announced that it was "exploring how to make best use of its existing runways, including the possibility of bringing its existing standby runway into routine use". One scenario would see 08L/26R used for departing narrow-body aircraft only, while the longer 08R/26L would be used for wide-body take-offs and all landings. Widening 08L/26R would also increase the centerline separation slightly. New technology could also be used to increase capacity on the main runway, and in the longer term the airport remains interested in constructing a new runway to the south.
The main runway uses a Category III Instrument Landing System (ILS). The northern runway does not have an ILS. When in use, arriving aircraft use a combination of distance measuring equipment and assistance from the approach controller (using surveillance radar) or (when equipped and subject to operator approval) a RNAV (GNSS) approach (also available for the main runway).
On both runways, a continuous descent approach is used to minimize the environmental effects of incoming aircraft, particularly at night. Night flights are subject to restrictions. 
From 11 pm to 7 am, noisier aircraft (rated QC/8 and QC/16) may not operate.
From 11.30 pm to 6 am (the night quota period) there are three limits:
- Number of flights
- A Quota Count system, limiting total noise permitted
- No night QC/4 flights
 
British Airways Boeing 777-236(ER) G-YMME
(Serge Van Heertum©)
 
British Airways Boeing 777-236(ER) G-YMMR
(Serge Van Heertum©)
 
Virgin Atlantic Boeing 747-443 G-VROM
(Serge Van Heertum©)
 
Former Thomas Cook Airlines Airbus A321-211(WL) G-TCDM
(Serge Van Heertum©)
 
Former Thomas Cook Airlines Airbus A321-211 G-GHJH
(Serge Van Heertum©)
 
Former Thomas Cook Airlines Airbus A321-211(WL) G-TCDK
(Serge Van Heertum©)
 
Easy Jet Airbus A319-111 G-EZIM
(Serge Van Heertum©)
 
Easy Jet Airbus A319-111 G-EZEN
(Serge Van Heertum©)
 
TUI Boeing 757-28A(WL) G-OOBE
(Serge Van Heertum©)
 
Norwegian Air International Boeing B737-8JP (WL) EI-FJK
(Serge Van Heertum©)
 
Norwegian Air International Boeing B737-8JP (WL) EI-FVW - Richard Møller Nielsen Danish Football Coach
(Serge Van Heertum©)
 
Norwegian Air International Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner G-CKWE - Jane Austen British writer
(Serge Van Heertum©)
 
Norwegian Air International Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner G-CKWA - Joseph de Mongolfier French inventor
(Serge Van Heertum©)
 
Norwegian Air International Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner G-CKWP - Mark Twain American writer
(Serge Van Heertum©)
 
Cathay Pacific Airbus A350-941 B-LRT
(Serge Van Heertum©)
 
WestJet Boeing 767-338(ER)(WL) C-COGN
(Serge Van Heertum©)
 
WestJet Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner C-GUDO
(Serge Van Heertum©)
 
Air Transat Airbus A330-342 C-GKTS 30th Anniversary Livery
(Serge Van Heertum©)
 
Emirates Airbus A380-861 A6-EEB
(Serge Van Heertum©)
 
Rulers Flight Sharjah Airbus A320-232(CJ)(WL) A6-SHJ  Operating for Royal Family of Sharjah one of the Emirate of the United
(Serge Van Heertum©)
 
Air Malta Airbus A320-251N (NEO) 9H-NEO
(Serge Van Heertum©)
 
Ukraine International Airlines Boeing 737-86N(WL) UR-PSN
Our thoughts are with the families of the Teheran crash victims (08-01-2020)
(Serge Van Heertum©)
 

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