Following the unprecedented weather and the subsequent flooding that caused disruption to passengers at London Gatwick on Christmas Eve, David McMillan, a Non-Executive Director of Gatwick Airport, was commissioned by the Gatwick Airport Board to review the airport community’s response on the day. He was also asked to recommend clear actions the airport, airlines, baggage handlers and wider community should implement to ensure the airport becomes more resilient and responds more effectively in times of disruption.
Immediately following the events of Christmas Eve, in addition to offering £100 of high street vouchers to every passenger whose flight had been cancelled, Gatwick made £5 million available to fund further improvements in flood resilience. Projects already underway include installing new water storage chambers at critical points at the airport; enhancing resilience in the North Terminal basement to offer better protection to critical assets; and improving systems used to monitor pumping stations and river levels.
The McMillan Report has now been published, and London Gatwick today has accepted its recommendations in their entirety. Although the flooding that occurred was assessed as a 1 in 100 year event, the airport fully endorses the report’s recommendations as to the need to increase resilience and is announcing the setting aside of a resilience fund of up to £30 million. This will be invested as necessary following detailed implementation planning of David McMillan’s recommendations.
The airport is committed to implementing all the short-term actions which have been recommended by October this year, and we will be working closely with the Environment Agency and other relevant agencies on long-term flood planning for the airport. Alongside projects to better protect the airport and its assets from flooding, significant focus will also be given to improving the airport, airline and wider airport community’s Control and Command processes and to the crucial area of passenger welfare.
Stewart Wingate, Chief Executive Officer, London Gatwick, said: “We fully accept the recommendations of the McMillan Report and we have already started to take actions in light of his findings. There are clearly lessons that we and the airport community can learn from the events of Christmas Eve. It is important we now look to the future and make the necessary improvements to ensure the airport is more resilient to flooding. In addition, we will work with the airport community to improve all aspects of contingency planning, with a particular focus on passenger welfare in times of disruption.”