Gatwick Airport, which serves London, UK, is now prepared to welcome the world’s biggest commercial aircraft, the Airbus A380.
A £6.4 million investment at the airport has culminated in the opening of a new, pier-served A380 stand. Stand 110 on pier 6 is officially christened today when Emirates makes a one-off flight to the airport with one of its fleet of A380’s. Following the celebration, Gatwick will be looking to attract regular scheduled flights from other operators of the giant aircraft.
Gatwick’s chief commercial officer, Guy Stephenson, said, ‘Gatwick is delighted to officially open its A380 stand today, marking an important milestone in the development and growth of the airport as a world-class aviation facility. The new stand is a symbol of the major changes that have happened at Gatwick under new ownership. The fact we can now offer current and future airlines a pier-served facility for A380 aircraft demonstrates the scale of ambition we have for the future of Gatwick as we continue on our journey to compete and grow.’
While Emirates has the biggest fleet of A380’s currently in operation, many other airlines worldwide also have them at their disposal, and the Gatwick authorities are optimistic that the airport’s ability to accommodate the aircraft will help it grow its passenger numbers without impinging too much on its available runway capacity. Able to carry 525 passengers in standard three-class configuration, and as many as 853 in all-economy mode, the A380 certainly has the credentials to boost throughput at the airport from the current 34 million passengers per annum, towards the 38 million that it is forecast to achieve by 2020.
Laurie Berryman, Emirates Vice President UK, said, ‘As the largest A380 operator in the world, it is a historic moment to see one of our A380s use the new Gatwick stand for the first time at the official opening. It shows once again that Emirates is the go-to airline when it comes to the A380 aircraft.’