|Gatwick proposed a second runway, |
only to be eclipsed by the Government
decision to back the Heathrow bid.
Saturday June 9th, marks a 60-year milestone for London Gatwick Airport since it was officially opened by Queen Elizabeth II on 9th June 1958, the first airport in the world to effectively combine air, road and train travel in one place.
The construction project bill in 1958 - some four years after the Coronation was for the post-war UK - an eyewatering £7.8 million, and transformed Gatwick into an efficient integrated global travel hub. The project completed in just over two-and-a-half years.
It was the first airport to have an integral direct railway link, allowing passengers to enjoy a seamless transfer from train to airport terminal.
The introduction of the Boeing 747-400 Jumbo, added three runway extensions in 1964, 1970 and 1973 - to facilitate non-stop flights from the US West Coast. Gatwick opened a new control tower in 1984. In the same year the Gatwick Express train service was launched.
In 1988, HM The Queen opened the £200m North Terminal, the main terminal renamed South Terminal. Ten years on, a fourth runway extension was completed, with easyJet’s residence at the airport starting the following year in 1999.
There were further extensions to both the North and South terminals, totalling £60million, followed by Gatwick building what was claimed at the time to be the biggest air passenger link bridge in the world, some194m in length.
In 2012, new owners Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP) announced a £2.5 billion investment programme, 2012 also saw Emirates start its scheduled A380 service at Gatwick – making it one of the very few airports at the time that could accommodate the next generation of passenger airplanes.
In 2017, in a massive logistical operation easyJet, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic all swapped terminals – all completed in just 72 hours.
Notable events in Gatwick’s history:
1958: Official opening by Queen Elizabeth II
Following a £7.8 million renovation, Gatwick is officially opened by the Queen.
1964: Runway extended
Gatwick extends its runway by 370m to 2500m. By the next year, the airport has 3 piers, all nearly 300m long, and a terminal area of 9,300m2.
1970: Runway extended further
A second 267m extension of Gatwick's runway is completed, bringing it to 2,766m.
1973: Runway extended even further
The third extension of Gatwick's runway is completed, bringing it to a length of 3,098m and allowing for non-stop flights to the US west coast.
1984: New control tower and Gatwick Express launched
Gatwick opens its new air traffic control tower, the tallest in the UK at the time. The Gatwick Express is launched, while Virgin Atlantic’s first commercial flight takes off from Gatwick.
1985: BA begins commercial Concorde flights from Gatwick
The inaugural flight takes off to JFK.
1988: North Terminal opens
The £200m North Terminal is opened by the Queen.
1998: Fourth runway extension
Due to Gatwick’s increasing global connections, the runway is extended to 3316m.
1999: easyJet move in
easyJet begins operating from Gatwick.
2000: Terminals extended
Both terminals are extended at a cost of £60m.
2005: Making connections
Gatwick’s Pier 6 is built and connected to the airport by the largest air passenger bridge in the world.
2009: New owners
New owners, Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP) announces a £2.5 billion investment programme.
Emirates begins its scheduled A380 service at Gatwick.
2016: Making check-in easy
Gatwick opens the newly built Pier 1 in the South Terminal and the airport’s first early bag store. It also opens the world’s largest self-service bag drop zone in the North Terminal.
2017: Airline Moves
Gatwick’s three largest airlines move terminals, with easyJet consolidating its operations in the North Terminal, British Airways moving its operation to the South Terminal and Virgin Atlantic shifting to the North Terminal.
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