Your Guide to London Gatwick Airport
Where is Gatwick Airport?
Touching down at Gatwick Airport? Then your flight will be landing in the world’s largest single runway airport and London’s 2nd largest airport, which currently handles around 35 million passengers a year. This 50 year old airport is situated in Crawley, West Sussex, and surrounded by places like Horley, Shipley Bridge and Charlwood. It’s only 28 miles south of central London, and as Gatwick Airport boasts its own train station you can catch the Gatwick Express and get to London Victoria in 30 minutes! You can even travel to places like the colourful seaside city of Brighton with ease from here.
History of Gatwick Airport
The name Gatwick can be traced as far back as 1241, to a manor that originally occupied the site where Gatwick Airport stands today. It wasn’t until 1930 that an aerodrome opened here and commercial flights started to take place in 1934. The design of the airports runway and subway (that connected the airport with the nearby train station) were so appalling that commercial airlines quickly moved out to different airports and Gatwick became nothing more than a flying school! It was requisitioned by the RAF in 1939 and mainly used for aircraft maintenance during and after the war. In the 1950’s the UK government decided to promote Gatwick as the alternative airport to Heathrow. It opened in 1958 after extensive refurbishment including the building of the South Terminal. By 1968 passenger numbers had already reached 2 million! When the Gatwick Express train service was launched in 1984, Gatwick gained popularity and the North Terminal was opened in 1988 to increase capacity.
Nowadays Gatwick Airport handles its 35 million passengers flying to 220 destinations using 80 airlines (including British Airways and EasyJet), with ease. It’s estimated that by 2015 almost 40 million passengers will use this airport every year, although that remains to be seen now that Gatwick Airport is currently up for sale. New consultation documents had been produced for the potential of a 2nd runway after 2019, but this is on hold until a buyer is found. None of this will affect your flight though, so come to Gatwick Airport, book a hotel and explore your surroundings!
The Positives of Gatwick Airport
Even though Gatwick is London’s 2nd largest airport, it’s much smaller in comparison to Heathrow. This means that you’ll find it easy to get around, you’ll be far less likely to get lost and there’s much less chance of suffering from flight delays! You’ll also find plenty of well-priced hotels in the area that you can get some rest in before or after your flight, so there’s no need to worry about getting to the airport on time. It’s really easy to get to London from here as Gatwick Airport has its own train station. You can catch the Gatwick Express and get to London Victoria in ½ an hour! You can also travel to other parts of the UK such as Brighton and Croydon with ease. As Gatwick Airport is directly linked to the M23 motorway you can drive straight onto the M25 London Orbital and into London.
Need to Know Gatwick Airport
Unfortunately, Gatwick Airport doesn’t have a tube station, but this is more than compensated for by the fact that it has its own railway station where you can catch a fast train to London Victoria and swap onto the tube network. You should also be aware that, due to local planning restrictions on the building of car parks for the airport, the car parks here get incredibly busy; book your space well in advance if you’re driving here. The future for Gatwick Airport does appear a little uncertain at present, thanks to the fact that it’s up for sale, but this won’t affect your flight at all and as soon as a buyer emerges, potential plans for a 2nd runway and further terminals may come into fruition.