British Airways celebrates ten years at Gatwick`s North Terminal by unveiling today, (Friday, June 12), its blueprint for the next decade of growth at the airport. At its core are plans for more customers, more jobs and larger, quieter aircraft.
In a decade from now, British Airways expects to be carrying 60 per cent more customers at Gatwick, taking its total throughput from 7.6 million to 12 million people a year. To handle this, the airline is likely to create another 3,500 new front-line customer service jobs at the airport - on the ground and in the air.
Cargo volume is set nearly to double, climbing to 400,000 tonnes per year. The overall size of British Airways’ Gatwick-based fleet is expected to grow by just 10 aircraft during the next ten years, however, taking the total to just more than 80 by 2008. The passenger and cargo growth will largely be accounted for by using bigger, more modern aircraft - good news for the local community as they are also quieter.
Even with its single runway capability, Gatwick will represent the mainstay of British Airways’ growth at London well into the next century, in tandem with increases at Heathrow provided Terminal 5 is built. This will help keep Gatwick in the top ten of the world`s international airports.
The plans will be revealed by Sir Colin Marshall, Chairman of British Airways, after a meeting of the company`s Board held at Gatwick this morning, at a lunch for the community around the airport, attended by many of the region`s key opinion formers.
Bob Ayling, British Airways’ Chief Executive, said: “Gatwick used to be a graveyard for scheduled airlines. Today it is a soaring success, thanks to the whole-hearted efforts of our employees, the investment we have made during the past ten years and the support of Gatwick Airport and our partner airlines.
“Our growth at Gatwick has been phenomenal by any standards. Now we must look to the next decade. If we are to maintain our position as the world`s leading airline, standing still and doing nothing is not an option.
“With increasing numbers of passengers transferring between flights, it is imperative that Gatwick Airport Ltd itself also invests appropriately in high-quality, customer-friendly facilities, so that we can both compete successfully with the other hub airports on the continent. We will be working very closely together so that our mutual long-term plans can be met.”
Considerable investment in its Gatwick shorthaul and longhaul networks, along with the development of strong, interconnecting schedules operated by franchise partners, have helped British Airways deliver a 20 per cent capacity growth in each of the past three years.
Along with frequency increases on flights to Latin America and the Caribbean, this summer there are eight new Gatwick routes: Vilnius, Trieste, Ljubljana, Abidjan, Dhahran, Tobago and Cancun. Daily Denver flights are expected to start later this year.
Another three new longhaul leisure routes are planned in the next twelve months - to San Jose, in Costa Rica; Havana, in Cuba, and Port of Spain, in Trinidad - which will be operated by Airline Management Limited, flying in the colours of British Airways.