16 February, 2021

London Gatwick to keep just North Terminal open until June.

London Gatwck Airport will keep operations confined to just the North Termaninal until at least June this year the West Sussex airport has confirmed. 
Traffic over the 6-months to end June 2021 is expected to be materially impacted by restrictions to travel as a result of the Covid-19 virus, the airport revealed in its latest reports. Traffic forecasts have been set at around 4% of 2019 levels for Q1 2021, at which point passengers start to progressively build back as restrictions begin to lift. Overall, this traffic profile translates into a minimal cash contribution that is generated from the operations over this 6-month period.  

In response to this low level of traffic, Gatwick has continued to take significant steps to reduce its operating costs and protect the business. To minimise its operational footprint and therefore operating costs, Gatwick will continue to operate from just the North Terminal until at least June, and has concentrated operations from one pier whilst traffic remains at very low levels. The continuation of the government furlough/job support schemes until end of April ensures the preservation of jobs through this low demand environment, ahead of the anticipated rebound of demand and operational activity in the summer. 
Gatwick also continues to look at ways to further streamline its non-staff costs through procurement and prioritisation exercises and will benefit from the measures completed in November 2020 through a further redundancy programme as headcount is now c.1,850 compared to c.3,250 in March 2020. Monies associated with the recent release of the Government’s Covid-19 airport and ground operations support package (providing support of up to £8m to airports) have not been included in the next 6 months liquidity forecast, as Gatwick works through the detail of its claim. 
The airport is to also introduce charges for cars on its forecourts,  the airport origionally announced the plan
in October 2020, that on 8 March 2021 it will introduce a £5 charge for vehicles which drop off passengers directly outside its North Terminal. The airport said the charge would be extended to the South Terminal forecourt at a later date when it repoens for normal business. The initiative will help to reduce traffic congestion and emissions for the surrounding area as well as being a deterrent for a car-led recovery once more regular travel resumes post the COVID-19 national lockdown.  The charge will also create a vital new revenue stream for the airport, providing further protection for local jobs as the negative economic impacts of the pandemic continue.

Anyone who does not wish to pay the charge will be able to drop-off or pick-up passengers in the airport’s long-stay car parks with two hours free parking and a free shuttle bus to the terminal.  Alternatively, passengers can arrive by public transport, taking advantage of the significant improvements to train and bus services to the airport in recent years.

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