Gatwick Airport has officially opened the new look North Terminal following the completion of the £73 million project to extend the building to accommodate 20 million passengers per year by 2020.
The eastern end of the terminal has been extended to provide additional check-in and baggage reclaim capacity, while there are 18 new check-in desks taking the total to 144, of which 70 are self-service options.
There are also four new reclaim belts, three for international and one domestic belt. The addition of new arrival reclaim belts will significantly cut time spent waiting for luggage, and make a substantial difference to passengers keen to get home.
The terminal, which has been extended by 1.25 hectares – almost equivalent in size to Lord’s Cricket Ground - was opened by former prime minister John Major.
Pictured: Gatwick’s chief executive Stewart Wingate with former prime minister John Major at the official opening this morning
Major said: “Airports are the front door of the UK.
“And, for visitors to Britain, their first impressions of our country are shaped by what they see and experience when they land.
“That is why the significant investment to improve arrivals infrastructure is so important.
“In recent months, Gatwick has established the first direct air link between Britain and Vietnam.
“New routes have been opened to Malaysia, Hong Kong, South Korea and China. More new routes will follow.
“All of this is good news – not just for Gatwick but for all of us in the UK.
“Gatwick will continue to compete with our European Union neighbours and the rising challenge from the new markets of Greater Asia.
“In improving its efficiency, Gatwick is contributing to economic growth and wellbeing across the United Kingdom. And that is vital to our national interest.”
The extended North Terminal follows the completion of work earlier in the year to revitalise and expand the forecourt and construct a new interchange to provide a modern new entrance into the terminal building.
Arrivals and departures are now located on different levels, improving passenger circulation and wayfinding.
Passengers being dropped off outside the new entrance can go up one of two moving walkways or lifts where they will meet passengers coming off the new inter-terminal shuttle.
Stewart Wingate, Gatwick Airport chief executive, said: “This is all part of our £1.2 billion investment programme, which has a focus on improving the overall passenger experience of our airport, from the moment they arrive at the front door, check-in, pass through security to when they board their flight.
“We want passengers to spend as little time in queues or waiting for luggage as is possible, and we want them to enjoy their surroundings before they jet off for their holidays
“That has been the focus of our work at the airport so far and there is still much more to come.”
The next phase of the development will involve the £32 million upgrade of the baggage system.