Twenty five years ago this week Queen gave the royal seal of approval by officially opening British Airways’ home at Gatwick Airport’s North Terminal.
The vast £200m smoked-glass building heralded a new age in flying, which was the most modern and spacious terminal in the world when it was unveiled.
A futuristic rapid transfer shuttle whisked customers to sleek new check-in areas, with 84 check-in stations in six zones, able to handle nine million passengers a year.
Over 100 million British Airways customers have passed through the terminal, which now serves a number of airlines, flying to scores of destinations around the world.
The first operational flight to depart was the British Airways BA532 service to Naples, on March 22nd, 1988, which cost approximately £287 return on a promotional fare, compared to today’s fares of £101 with checked baggage, and £77 for hand baggage only, including all taxes, fees and charges.
Peter Simpson, British Airways’ director of Gatwick, said: “Gatwick North has been British Airways’ home for 25 years and we are very proud to be marking that fantastic anniversary.
“Since the earliest days of aviation we have had a strong presence at Gatwick and our customers have flown from the airport all over the world.
“Now, with a brand new check-in area, replacement aircraft, new routes and our new lower short-haul friendly baggage only fares, there are even more reason to fly with British Airways from Gatwick.”
In 2011 an ambitious £73m extension to the North Terminal opened and became home to all British Airways flights at Gatwick
Through advanced technology, the state-of-the-art building gives customers more control of their journey allowing them to check-in, choose seats and print their own bag tags.
British Airways now offers highly competitive hand baggage only fares to all of its 32 short-haul routes at Gatwick.
Those who still want to check in a bag simply pay the price without the hand baggage-only discount, and all British Airways’ short-haul customers continue to receive free seat allocation within 24 hours of departure, priority boarding for families, complimentary food and drink and Avios.
This year customers can also fly to a range of exciting new routes being launched, including destinations such as Colombo in Sri Lanka and the popular holiday hotspots of Tenerife and Lanzarote.
Last year the airline also introduced a three times a week high rolling service to Las Vegas.