Gatwick Airport has announced the first phase of a new departures level is set to open this October in the North Terminal. It is part of the airport’s £1bn redevelopment programme.
Construction work on the new departures level started just one year ago. When complete it will have the world’s largest self-service bag drop zone. A phased opening will begin from October 20, with a two week period of operational testing taking place prior to this date, and a one-month trial coming to an end on November 18. The check-in hall will open in two phases between October 2015 and April 2016 – with a better layout and more space, increasing peak check-in capacity from 3,000 to 4,350 passengers per hour.
This move follows successful trials of a self-service bag drop in the South Terminal which proved queuing times can be significantly shortened by using the self-bag drop method.
Self-service bag drop enables passengers who have checked in on-line to take their bags straight to a machine upon arrival at the airport, where they can print their luggage tag, apply it to their bag and load it straight onto Gatwick’s state-of-the-art baggage sorting system. Gatwick will have 60 check-in points with 48 of these being self-service bag drop units, 28 of these will be open for the October date. This means the check-in process can be completed in less than two minutes.
Gatwick CEO, Stewart Wingate commented: “Gatwick has added eight million passengers since we came into private ownership in 2009, and we are about to reach the 40 million mark. This is a decade ahead of industry predictions and we will continue to grow.
“While we wait for a decision on building a new runway, we are investing billions to ensure we can grow from our existing infrastructure, but this will only take us so far.
“Gatwick remains the best and most deliverable option for expansion – we can go from the World’s most efficient single runway airport to the World’s most efficient two-runway airport while limiting the impact on the environment.”