Gambia Bird Airline to Offer Services from London Gatwick Airport to Gambia

West African airline, Gambia Bird, is offering its services for the first time from London Gatwick Airport in the UK.

Gambia Bird airline is owned by German airline company, Germania, and is offering a twice a week direct service to the Gambia capital, Banjul, from London Heathrow airport. The flight will then continue on to Freetown in Sierra Leone.

Matt Wood, the head of airline relations at Gatwick Airport, said, ‘We are delighted to welcome Gambia Bird and its passengers to the airport today, offering passengers further choice to the west coast of Africa.

We continue to compete with other London airports and continue to win new airlines and new routes.

By attracting Gambia Bird, we are committed to offering our passengers the best possible choice of destinations they can fly to throughout the year.’

The airline, which has only recently been launched, will be offering its services using Airbus A319 aircraft. The aircraft will be branded with the national colours of The Gambia and will seat 138 passengers in Premium Economy Class.

Karsten Balke, the chief commercial Officer at Gambia Bird, said, ‘Our aim is to build a reputation for quality and reliability via our scheduled and punctual services.

Onward travel connections from Gatwick into Central London and beyond are excellent, so we felt this blended in perfectly with our business model.

And with today’s trend for people to book their own flights, especially if they are returning to a country they love, or to see friends and family, having a scheduled airline that flies into Banjul from Gatwick makes a lot of sense.’

Thomas Wazinski, the chief executive officer of Gambia Bird Airlines, said earlier, ‘Our vision is to change the aviation market in West Africa by providing a safe, reliable and scheduled service across all major cities in the region focusing on air travel for business people, tourists and domestic traffic, alongside local West African expertise, warmth and friendliness.’

September Sees Gatwick Airport Traffic Increase

London Gatwick Airport in the UK, has reported a 2.4 percent increase in passenger traffic in September 2012, underlining a solid summer season.

The airport has recorded an increase of around 80,300 more passengers during September 2012, compared to the same period last year. Traffic on services to European destinations from the airport increased from that in the same period of the preceding year, with a growth rate 7.1 percent in September. Charter traffic has reduced in the month, compared to same period in 2011, as did passenger traffic on domestic routes.

In September, the airport has registered 20 percent more traffic from passengers flying with Asian carriers to Beijing, Seoul and Vietnam.

Nick Dunn, the chief financial officer at Gatwick Airport, said, ‘As expected, the increase in late August bookings post the Games continued into September and this saw us return to the historic growth rate of 2.4 percent for this time of the year.

Furthermore, I am delighted to see our new long-haul customers serving Beijing, Seoul and Vietnam performing well. We remain committed to supporting those airlines to help them grow and prosper here at Gatwick and ensure London has the connectivity it needs today and in the future. Over 80,000 more passengers flew from Gatwick compared to the prior year.’

In September, the airport announced a new three times weekly service by British Airways to Colombo for the Winter of 2012; a twice weekly service to Tangiers and a three times weekly service to Casablanca from Air Arabia, a UAE based airline; and a twice daily Milan service from Monarch.

WOW Air Announces New Service to Reykjavik from Gatwick Airport

WOW Air, an Iceland-based low cost airline, is offering a new service connecting London Gatwick Airport in the UK with Reykjavik, in Iceland.

The new service is offering twice-weekly flights on the route, using A320 aircraft that can accommodate around 168 passengers per flight. The new airline service will be complimenting Icelandair and Iceland Express airlines in linking London to Reykjavic.

Matt Wood, the head of airline relations at London Gatwick Airport, said, ‘We are delighted to welcome WOW Air and its passengers to the airport today. Reykjavik saw a 12% increase in UK tourists between 2010 and 2011, and we feel that by adding this twice-weekly service we are catering for our passengers who want to visit phenomena’s such as the Northern Lights. It also means that in peak season Gatwick will have three carriers that cater for up to 15 flights leaving for Reykjavik every week.’

Gatwick airport is currently offering eight flights to Reykjavik every week for the summer season, which may be increased to 15 flights a week in the peak period.

The airport is also working towards bringing in changes to its infrastructure, with an estimated investment of around £1.2 billion, which will make it possible to handle many more international flights from the city. Some of the changes implemented recently include swifter check-in and security processes for passengers, and the revamping of transport links to central London.

bloc Gatwick Hotel to Open at London Gatwick Airport

London Gatwick Airport, in the UK, has announced that a new bloc Hotel property is to open at the airport in summer of 2013.

The airport has entered into a development contract with bloc hotels to open a new 244-room property within its perimeters at the South Terminal. This is the second bloc hotel to open in the UK, with the first having previously opened in Birmingham. The former Norfolk House office building has been selected for conversion into the hotel.

Emma Rees, the airport head of real estate, said, ‘Given passengers’ demand for greater hotel choice, this new development will be fantastic news for our business and leisure travellers when it opens next Summer. Revolutionising the under-utilised office space at Norfolk House to better serve the needs of our passengers, is just an example of how we are innovatively looking at ways to improve the passenger experience and investing in infrastructure to transform the South Terminal into a more modern and contemporary space.’

bloc hotels is seeking to expand its operations in the UK, primarily at the major transport hubs and city centres.

Rob Morgan, the founder of bloc hotels, said, ‘The opening of the bloc Gatwick will revolutionise the airport stay experience. We will provide high quality, intelligently-designed rooms with facilities that have traditionally been the preserve of five star hotels, but in the best possible airport location and at affordable prices.’

Each room at the bloc hotel will be equipped with Samsung technology, Italian Artemide ambient lighting, and Egyptian cotton linens.

London Gatwick Airport responds to Consultation for New Rail Project

London Gatwick Airport has responded to a consultation held by the Department for Transport with regards to the combination of the Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern rail franchise.

The combined franchise will be expected to operate from September 2013.

The head of surface access for Gatwick Airport, Julia Gregory, said, ‘High quality rail links are key to attracting airlines and passengers to an airport. Research shows that passengers consider the cost and convenience of rail before deciding which airport to fly from.1 Research also shows that airlines look for high quality rail links and services when deciding which airport to operate out of.

Gatwick is without doubt the best connected London airport by rail but if we are to remain competitive and continue to attract major airlines serving the UK’s key trading routes and encourage more people to travel by train then the quality and extent of those services has to improve.

We have called on Government to specify in the tender document what kind of service a successful bidder would be expected to provide. That must include an obligation for any new operator to return the Gatwick Express to a dedicated, non-stop premium service with new fit-for-purpose carriages and the re-introduction of an on-board ticketing service.’

Currently around 12 million passengers travel to and from Gatwick Airport every year by train, with the majority of them accessing the Gatwick Express, a rail-air service between Victoria station and Gatwick Airport.

The airport has reported that the number of people travelling between Gatwick and London by rail services is expected to increase by 30 percent in the next eight years, and hence there exists a demand for improved rail services connecting the airport.

British Airways Announces New Offers

British Airways, the UK-based airline company, has announced new offers to celebrate the launch of its London Gatwick to Las Vegas service.

The airline is offering a three times per week service to Las Vegas, from London Gatwick Airport, bringing its total to ten flights a week from the two main London airports to the US entertainment capital.

To celebrate the new service, the airline is offering special bargain deals on three night stays at some of the best hotels on the Las Vegas strip, on bookings for the new flights made by July 25, 2012, and which commence on October 29, 2012.

The hotel packages on offer include accommodation at a range of hotels in Las Vegas, including the three-star Riviera Hotel and Casino, The New Tropicana Las Vegas, the Wynn Resort Las Vegas, The Cosmopolitan, and The Venetian Resort Hotel Casino.

McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas has recently opened its stylish new Terminal 3, replacing the previous Terminal 2. The new international terminal has taken five years to complete at a cost of $2.4 billion. It has two million square feet of space and incorporates the latest technology for passengers once they have checked in, including a spa, numerous dining options, and slot machines for gaming.

British Airways is currently also offering cash back to its passengers as part of its patronage of Team Great Britain for the London 2012 Olympics Games. The airline is offering cash back on its all-inclusive Caribbean holidays if athlete Jessica Ennis wins a medal, the cash back will be increased dependent on whether the athlete wins a gold, silver or bronze medal for her country.

Afriqiyah Airways Recommences Service to Tripoli from Gatwick Airport

Afriqiyah Airways, an airline that operates out of Libya, and which is owned by the government of Libya, has resumed direct services from Libya’s capital city, Tripoli, to London Gatwick Airport in the UK.

The airline had previously cancelled its services out of Libya due to political unrest in the country, but it is now offering a three times a week, non-stop service from Tripoli to Gatwick Airport, which started on July 3, 2012. The airline will be operating the service using an Airbus A320 aircraft, which can seat up to 160 passengers.

Matthew Wood, the head of airline relations at Gatwick Airport, said, ‘We are delighted to welcome Afriqiyah Airways and its passengers back to Gatwick today and working together again to provide what we expect will be a popular route.’

Khaled Lazumi, the general manager for Afriqiyah Airways, in the UK, said, ‘I am very pleased that this day has finally come. It has been a very difficult year for us all but this day marks the dawn of a new relationship between the new Free Libya and the UK. I am very proud of my team who have worked hard to make this happen in this period of uncertainty.

We would like to thank Gatwick Airport and our business partners for their unwavering support. Similarly our travel agents and friends in the British travel industry have also supported us well and we look forward to renewing this relationship and we look forward to a prosperous future for both our countries.’

Jamie Oliver Opens New Dining Venue at Gatwick Airport

Today Jamie Oliver’s brand new restaurant opens its doors to passengers at North Terminal of London Gatwick Airport.

The new Jamie Oliver at Gatwick outlet has been exclusively designed for catering to passengers at airports, and includes a Jamie’s Italian, a Jamie’s Italian Bakery and a Union Jacks Bar serving English cuisine.

The restaurant occupies around 6,000 sq ft area, and has one of the largest kitchens, which occupies 40% more space than at any other Jamie’s Italian restaurants.

Spencer Sheen, the head of retail at Gatwick Airport, said, ‘We’re thrilled Jamie Oliver chose to open his first ever restaurant in an airport at Gatwick. Passengers have called for a greater variety of dining options1 in the departure lounges, and our partnership with Jamie Oliver sees Gatwick taking yet another step in significantly enhancing the passenger journey to, through and from the airport. This exclusive offering should offer something for everyone and we’re excited to be able to open the doors to passengers today.’

A recent survey done by YouGov, a research organisation, stated that around 24% of people surveyed in November 2011 voted in favour of more fine casual dining venues at the departure lounges of Gatwick Airport.

Jamie Oliver said, ‘Opening this restaurant in the airport is a new and exciting step to take. Whether you want to dine in the Italian, grab food for the flight from the bakery, or savour some good old Blighty grub before you jet off, this is something really special, just for Gatwick.’

London Gatwick Airport Reports Increase in Passenger Footfalls in 2012 Financial Year

London Gatwick Airport has registered increased passenger footfall and increased revenues, for the year ended March 31, 2012.

The airport has registered a turnover increase of 8.6 percent, to £517.4 million for the financial year ending in March 2012, with passenger traffic increasing by 6.9 percent, to 33.8 million over the year, compared to the same period a year earlier.

Stewart Wingate, the chief executive officer of Gatwick Airport, said, ‘This has been a successful year for Gatwick. Despite the difficult economic conditions, we have delivered a strong financial performance on the back of growing our passenger traffic by an underlying 3.0 percent. Our turnover has increased by 8.6 percent to £517.4 million, and EBITDA improved by 16.9 percent to £221.5 million.

Underpinning our performance is a transformation of the passenger experience and improvement in operational efficiency for our airlines and the airport. We have been competing with Heathrow, Stansted and Luton and other European airports, and this has seen us achieve passenger growth every single month over the course of the year. We have been winning new connections to high growth economies including South Korea, Turkey, Vietnam, Hong Kong and China.

Passengers and airlines are benefiting from new facilities and we are currently investing around £20 million per month. We expect to invest around a further £435 million over the next two years as we complete our six-year, £1.2 billion programme.’

The airport has reported a pre-tax loss of £48.6 million for the 2012 financial year, 22 percent less than last year’s loss of £62.5 million.

Gatwick Express Offers New Music Collection for Passengers

Gatwick Express, a UK-based company that provides a rail-air service between Victoria station and Gatwick Airport in the UK, has launched its complimentary range of music, Express Tracks.

Express Tracks music is currently available to the company’s online customers, providing entertainment for the journey.

Chris Burchell, the managing director for Gatwick Express and Southern, said, ‘Gatwick Express has a global reputation for customer innovation and Express Tracks offers a free journey soundtrack for every customer who books online. We are committed to enhancing our 30-minute journey and creating the best experience for our customers.

Express Tracks is a unique collection of music created to accompany a train journey and thanks to these artist collaborations, Gatwick Express is the most exciting way to travel to the airport.’

The company has commissioned three artists, celebrated cellist and music composer, Philip Sheppard, producer and Radio1 DJ, Benga, and UK based band, The Milk, to record their soundtracks for the rail journey.

Philip Sheppard said, ‘To be able to use the uniquely visual story of a train journey as inspiration for a 30 minute track really appealed to me as an artist. I have appreciated the romance of rail ever since I first saw the famous Night Mail documentary. Creating the inaugural track for the Express Tracks project also allowed me to explore how changing scenery can alter travellers’ emotions and I used the departure, the cityscape, the suburbs and the anticipation of arrival as focal points in the music.’