Gatwick Airport (IATA: LGW, ICAO: EGKK) is located 3.1 mi (5.0 km) north of the centre of Crawley, West Sussex, and 29.5 mi (47.5 km) south of Central London. Also known as London Gatwick, it is London's second largest international airport and second busiest by total passenger traffic in the United Kingdom after Heathrow. Furthermore, Gatwick is Europe's leading airport for point-to-point flights and has the world's busiest single-use runway averaging 52 aircraft movements per hour in mid-2011. Its two terminals – North and South – cover an area of 75,000 m2 (810,000 sq ft) and 180,000 m2 (1,900,000 sq ft) respectively.
In 2011, over 33.6 million passengers passed through Gatwick.
Charter airlines generally prefer Gatwick over Heathrow as a base for London and the South East of England. From 1978 to 2008, many flights to and from the United States used Gatwick because of restrictions on the use of Heathrow implemented in the Bermuda II agreement between the UK and the US. Cessation of 34 years' continuous operations at Gatwick by Delta Air Lines on 17 April 2012 left US Airways as the only US carrier still serving Gatwick. The airport is a base for scheduled operators Aer Lingus, British Airways (BA), EasyJet, Monarch Airlines and Virgin Atlantic, as well as charter airlines including Thomas Cook Airlines and Thomson Airways. Gatwick is unique amongst London's airports in having a significant airline presence representing each of the three main airline business models: full service, low/no frills and charter. In its 2011/12 financial year, these respectively accounted for 33, 55 and 11% of total passenger traffic.
BAA Limited and its predecessors, the British Airports Authority and BAA plc, owned and operated Gatwick continuously from 1 April 1966 until 2 December 2009. On 17 September 2008, BAA announced it would sell Gatwick following a report by the Competition Commission into BAA's market dominance in London and the South East. On 21 October 2009, it was announced that agreement had been reached to sell Gatwick to Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP), the owners of London City Airport, for £1.51 billion. Of this amount, £55 million will depend on the airport's future traffic development and its owners' future capital structure (£10 million and £45 million respectively). The sale was formally completed on 3 December 2009. On this day, Gatwick's ownership passed from BAA to GIP. In early-2010, GIP reportedly sold minority stakes in Gatwick to the National Pension Service of Korea and Abu Dhabi Investment Authority. On 18 June 2010, it was reported that CalPERS, California's and the US's biggest state pension fund, had bought a 12.7% equity stake in Gatwick Airport from GIP. An announcement made in the Financial Times on 21 December 2010 stated that the Future Fund, a sovereign wealth fund set up by the Australian government, planned to buy a 17.2% stake in Gatwick Airport from GIP.
Famous quotes containing the word airport:
“It was like taking a beloved person to the airport and returning to an empty house. I miss the people. I miss the world.”
—Susan Sontag (b. 1933)