London’s Gatwick Airport (LGW), UK, has officially opened its new look North Terminal after completing a £73 million (US$115m) project to extend the building. The development is part of a plan to increase the airport’s capacity to 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. There are 18 new check-in desks, bringing the total to 144, of which 70 are self-service. There are also three new international and one domestic reclaim belts.
The terminal, which has been extended by three acres (1.25ha), was opened by the UK’s former Prime Minister, The Rt Hon Sir John Major KG Ch. He 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 improving its efficiency, Gatwick is contributing to economic growth and wellbeing across the United Kingdom and that is vital to our national interest,” he added.
The extended North Terminal follows the completion of work earlier in 2011 to renovate and expand the forecourt while so constructing a new interchange to create a modern entrance to the airport. Arrivals and departures are now located on two separate levels within the terminal.
Arriving passengers have easy access to the airport’s taxi service or the recently-opened inter-terminal shuttle, which connects to rail services.
Gatwick Airport’s Chief Executive, Stewart Wingate, commented: “This is all part of our £1.2 billion [US$1.89bn] investment programme, which has a focus on improving the overall passenger experience of our airport.” He continued to say that there is “still much more to come.”
The next phase of the development will be the £32 million (US$50.5m) upgrade of the baggage system. LGW will replace its entire system and will go from six to two sorters. Early bag store facilities will also be put in place which, the airports says, will “make a huge difference to customer service.”