By Will Lee
London’s Gatwick Airport Reopens South Terminal
London Gatwick Airport’s South Terminal has resumed its services on Mar. 27 — after a 21-month hiatus. According to the airport, it handled 570 flights, which was an increase from 300 flights a day, after the reopening of the South Terminal.
The South Terminal has been closed since Jun 2020 as a result of weak travel demand due to the pandemic.
“Reopening our South Terminal and the increase in the choice of flights our airlines are offering is also great news for our local communities, particular people and their families who rely on the airport for their livelihood and also a large number of support and supply businesses that demand on a successful airport,” Stewart Wingate, CEO of Gatwick said.
In the wake of the South Terminal’s reopening, the airport has created 5,000 jobs across the airport and needed to hire 400 employees.
“This is an important moment, not only for Gatwick but for the whole aviation sector,” Robert Courts, Aviation Minister, said.
Following the U.K. government has scrapped the travel restriction on Mar. 18. The former second busiest airport is expecting a strong travel demand in summer. According to Gatwick, travelers can fly to over 30 long-haul destinations this summer.
After the pandemic, British Airways will resume its short-haul operations with 18 aircraft flying 35 routes under its brand-new Euroflyer at Gatwick. Meanwhile, EasyJet has leased British Airways’ slots — operating the greatest capacity at London’s Gatwick Airport with 120 routes and utilizing 79 aircraft.
Also, Air Transat is going to start operating in Montreal, Canada and Quebec, Canada in May. Gatwick will become the only airport in London to provide direct services to Quebec, Canada.
Earlier, Norse Atlantic Airways, a new Norwegian carrier, secured the slots at the airport, but the routes and date of launching remain uncertain due to the invasion of Ukraine. The new carrier has initially expected to start its first flights in June.
Gatwick has become the third busiest airport in the nation after the pandemic — following London’s Heathrow and Stansted. It handled 6.2 million passengers in 2021. Despite facing a significant drop in passenger capacity, the airport proposed a second runway. If the project is approved, the airport can handle 75 million passengers by 2038.
Nationwide Airtravel Rebound
Gatwick is not the only sector to experience recovery. London City Airport — one of Gatwick’s rivals — recorded its fourth consecutive busiest week. The airport has seen the return of business travelers after easing the travel restrictions.
Meanwhile, in response to the ease of travel restrictions, Manchester, U.K. Airport has announced the gradual reopening of Terminal Three on Mar. 27. and the aircraft will resume operating from both runways.
However, Manchester, U.K. Airport has been experiencing a shortage of staff during the demand surge for international travel. The travelers have been suffering from the long queue for passport control, check-in and baggage reclaim. Manchester airport has apologized to the travelers who were affected — anticipating that the current situation couldn’t be solved for several weeks.