London Gatwick, the UK’s second largest airport, has welcomed the government plan to contribute £50m of funding to kick-start the redevelopment of Gatwick’s rail station – The Gatwick Gateway.
The government investment, which is part of the revised National Infrastructure Plan, recognises Gatwick’s important role in UK aviation and the need to ensure a world-class railway station for both existing and future passengers.
Of the 35 million passengers using Gatwick airport each year, 14 million arrive or depart by rail; making it the busiest airport station in Britain. Besides providing the fastest routes into the City and West End, the airport also connects directly to over 120 stations throughout London and the South East.
The connectivity will be considerably improved upon completion of a £53m project to improve platform capacity in early 2014, and with the introduction of the Thameslink franchise later that year.
As passenger numbers continue to increase at Gatwick, with new airlines flying to more destinations, the redevelopment will be vital in ensuring a world-class passenger experience both now and in the future, the airport said in a release.
London Gatwick’s chief executive, Stewart Wingate, said: ‘This new funding is a welcome and positive first step toward delivering the new Gatwick Gateway rail station. We have worked well with Network Rail on our current rail improvement project and are looking forward to working with them, the Treasury and the Department for Transport to leverage this initial investment.
‘Gatwick currently has the highest percentage of passengers accessing the airport by rail of any UK airport and as we continue to grow the number of global routes served by legacy, charter and low cost airlines, the package of measures announced today will help us deliver a world-class passenger experience for Britons and visitors alike.’
According to an analysis carried out by the airport in association with Network Rail, the station will require a concourse that is at least double the size of the existing facilities, just to meet the current demand.