Alongside Heathrow, Gatwick Airport helps to connect people to and from the UK via the air – and millions of people depend on the airline facilities here to make their holidays and business trips a reality! Based in London, specifically near the town of Crawley, it’s seen as one of the biggest gateways into the UK.
Even if you’ve been to Gatwick before and have boarded a plane or two here, there still might be one or two things you don’t know about the services. That’s why we’re here! Take a read of some of the most fascinating facts about Gatwick Airport below.
While Heathrow is seen as the main airport in London, Gatwick runs things at a very close second. Despite being second fiddle, it’s said to have helped more than 46 million people make international connections during 2018. That’s impressive for a runner-up!
The name of the airport actually dates back to the presence of a manor here based in Charlwood. Specifically, the old manor of ‘Gatwik’ is said to date all the way back to the 13th century, and the north terminal at the airport is roughly where the manor once stood.
Once again – despite being overshadowed by Heathrow in many ways – Gatwick is said to have supported more international destinations in 2019 than any other airport in the UK.
It’s thought that businesses within the airport, as well as the building itself, employ around 21,000 people or more. However, only around 2,500 of these people actually work directly for the airport!
It’s thought that train connections in and out of Gatwick Airport are going to scale up hugely by 2030. Figures suggest that there may be more than 50 trains an hour heading in and out of the terminal by the end of this decade.
Gatwick is often extremely busy. So much so, it is easily in the top ten of busiest and most-frequented airports in Europe.
It’s also likely to be bigger than many people imagine. The total area covered by Gatwick Airport covers around 1,670 acres!
Gatwick Airport tends to be a very popular business flight destination, not just a link for people to head to and from holiday via. This is because the airport is so close to London, and has clear links to the city and its surrounding areas.
Queen Elizabeth ‘officially’ opened Gatwick Airport back in 1958, however, it has been an aerodrome and a commercial flight centre since the 1930s.
Believe it or not, despite all of the traffic and passengers that the airport regularly oversees, it only has one runway in use. The main runway is around 3,316m in length – and while there is a second runway available, it is only ever used as a reserve in case of problems with the main run.
As such, it remains the busiest one-runway-operation in the world. Quite how it keeps everything running is nothing short of a modern miracle!
Gatwick Airport made history by becoming the very first airport to have its own train station and link back to the mainland. As mentioned, the station is due for further expansion in the years to come, meaning it’s likely this is something Gatwick planners are very proud of!
Gatwick’s first ever commercial flight set off from the main terminal towards Paris as of May 17th, 1936. The price of the ticket? £4 and five shillings. Don’t think this is too cheap, mind – as converted into modern money, you’d need to spend roughly £160. Not a bad price – but there are cheaper options nowadays!
Gatwick Airport is also one for following a few traditions. Perhaps the most famous is one where a plane that flies into the airport for the first time has to undergo a spraying of water from the fire service! Some traditions are perhaps best left to persist – who knows where this one came from?
Gatwick’s first terminal has a nickname – The Beehive. The Beehive was so-named – fairly obviously – as a result of its shape. It’s got a unique circular shape and structure and has interconnecting rings. The Beehive was set up as the maiden terminal at the airport in 1935.
Do you have any interesting or fun facts about Gatwick Airport that we’ve missed? Share them here in the comments section below!