Gatwick Airport has officially opened its new £6.4 million pier-served A380 stand.
To celebrate the occasion, Emirates - the world’s largest A380 customer - will today operate a one-off A380 aircraft into Gatwick, giving stand 110 on pier six the final stamp of approval.
The new stand now enables Gatwick to accommodate A380s – the world’s largest commercial aircraft flying today – on scheduled services in the future.
As the airport continues to focus on making the most of its available capacity in the short and medium term, scheduled A380 services would provide more seats per plane and support growth in passenger numbers.
The Emirates A380 aircraft, which stands at over 24 metres high and has a wing span of nearly 80 metres, arrives as a scheduled passenger flight from Dubai.
Despite its size, the Emirates A380 is the quietest long range aircraft and is known for its fuel-efficient technology.
Gatwick, which currently welcomes 34 million passengers per year, has around 25 per cent spare capacity and is forecast to grow its passenger numbers to around 38 million by 2020.
As the world’s busiest single-use runway, increasing passenger numbers on board flights is a key element of the airport achieving its targets for growth going forward.
Scheduled A380 services would also support the progress Gatwick has made in attracting new direct long-haul routes, particularly to key emerging markets such as China, Vietnam and Indonesia.
With a range of around 15,700km, the A380 is ideal for long-distance travel.
The completion of the new stand therefore offers existing Gatwick airlines, as well as new airlines, the opportunity to serve more long-haul destinations going forward.
Guy Stephenson, Chief Commercial Officer, said: “Gatwick is delighted to officially open its A380 stand today, marking an important milestone in the development and growth of the airport as a world-class aviation facility.
“The new stand is a symbol of the major changes that have happened at Gatwick under new ownership.
“The fact we can now offer current and future airlines a pier-served facility for A380 aircraft demonstrates the scale of ambition we have for the future of Gatwick as we continue on our journey to compete and grow.”