Women Suffer Disproportionately More Searches at Gatwick Airport

In a recently published inspection report by the independent chief inspector of Borders and Immigration, UK, it has been highlighted that passenger searches at Gatwick Airport North Terminal are unfavourable to certain groups of travellers, especially women.

John Vine CBE QPM, the independent chief inspector of borders and immigration, has reported that while immigration is working hard to only refuse entry to the UK based on sound logic, it is matter of concern that 71 percent of passenger searches are unjustified and disproportionate. The searches have also resulted in the arrest of some persons, even though the initial searches had not provided any justifiable reason.

The report also highlighted that certain officers often use negative stereotypes in deciding to stop passengers and search for illicit goods, and are often negatively prejudiced against certain segments of people, especially women of African-American origins.

John Vine, in his report, as independent chief inspector of borders and immigration, said, ‘Gatwick is the UK’s second largest airport dealing with over 30 million passenger journeys a year. At the time of inspection, a number of things were working well such as soundly based decisions to refuse entry to the UK, 100% passport swiping against the Home Office Warnings Index and good joint working with stakeholders.

I am, however, concerned about the use of search of person powers in detecting illicit goods. Searches were found to be neither justified nor proportionate in a high percentage of the cases sampled; in some instances passengers were also arrested even though searches hadn’t revealed any illicit goods and some searches were conducted without appropriate authorisation.

I was also very concerned to learn of discriminatory practice in the conduct of detection activity. The extent of any discriminatory practices should be investigated, and action taken, to ensure officers understand and comply with the Agency’s duties under the Equality Act 2010.’

Caribbean Airlines Offers Service to Trinidad and Tobago from Gatwick Airport

Caribbean Airlines, an airline based in Trinidad and Tobago, has introduced a non-stop service to Port of Spain in Trinidad and Tobago, from London Gatwick Airport in the UK.

The new non-stop twice-weekly services commenced from Gatwick on June 15, 2012, from the North Terminal. With launch of its new services to the UK, Caribbean Airlines becomes the fifth international air carrier to begin offering services from Gatwick Airport in 2012

Guy Stephenson, the airport chief commercial officer, said, ‘We are delighted to welcome Caribbean Airlines and its passengers to our airport today. This non-stop service will not only be welcomed by business travellers with links to the economic hub of Trinidad but also with holiday makers wanting to soak up the Caribbean sun and vibrant culture this destination offers.’

Gatwick Airport has invested around £20 million a month to offer improved services and facilities to its passengers, which include faster check-in, competent security procedures, and offering direct transportation to central London. The airport currently boasts that it serves 200 destinations in 90 countries across the world.

Caribbean Airlines chief executive officer, Robert Corbie, said, ‘We are extremely happy to announce the start-up of our service from Gatwick to Piarco International Airport as our flights will provide a vital link between London and the Caribbean. We are well positioned strategically to become the preferred airline for all customers flying between London and the Caribbean with seamless connections to South America.’

Gatwick Airport Launches Online Tourist Information Website for South East England

London Gatwick Airport in the UK, has launched a new online tourist information library, in a joint venture with local organisations.

The new resource, Aroundgatwick.com is providing visitors with information about the region and its premium attractions, along with travel information and route maps. The site is offering its users information on visiting almost everything in the south east of England, including gardens, castles, vineyards and museums, be it for short trips or for longer breaks to neighbouring Sussex and Surrey, Kent in the east, or the New Forest in the west.

Lindsay Baldwin, the head of airport communications at Gatwick, said, ‘This is the first time we have been able to offer a tourist information service to passengers and we are pleased to be able to have this in place in time for the London 2012 Olympic Games.

We are training over 300 Team London Ambassadors and hope they will be able to use this new site as we think this will add terrific value for passengers wanting to explore the region while they are here.’

Tourism South East, the authority in charge of managing the project, is of the opinion that the new website will benefit passengers at the airport and local businesses alike.

The managing director for Tourism South East, Peter Colling, said, ‘We are delighted to be working with Gatwick Airport on a range of initiatives to improve the welcome for visitors and encourage them to experience the fantastic range of cultural and heritage attractions that the region offers.’

New Gatwick Service For Caribbean Airlines

Caribbean Airlines, an airline company that has its base and hub at Piarco International Airport, Port of Spain, Trinidad, has commenced flights between Trinidad and Gatwick Airport in the UK.

The Gatwick service, which started on Saturday June 16, will be non-stop, twice weekly to Piarco International Airport.

Commenting on the inauguration of the new flights, Guy Stephenson, the chief commercial officer at Gatwick Airport, said, ‘We are delighted to welcome Caribbean Airlines and its passengers to our airport today. This non-stop service will not only be welcomed by business travellers with links to the economic hub of Trinidad but also with holiday makers wanting to soak up the Caribbean sun and vibrant culture this destination offers.’

While Caribbean Airlines chief executive officer, Mr Robert Corbie said: ‘We are extremely happy to announce the start-up of our service from Gatwick to Piarco International Airport as our flights will provide a vital link between London and the Caribbean. We are well positioned strategically to become the preferred airline for all customers flying between London and the Caribbean with seamless connections to South America. ‘Fly Caribbean’ to experience the warmth of the islands as soon as you step on board.’

Caribbean Airlines joins other international air carriers that have chosen to commence operations out of Gatwick Airport this year, including Air Nigeria, Korean Air, Hong Kong Airways and Air China. The airport’s increased popularity with overseas operators is considered to be partly due to improvements in its facilities, on which the airport’s management has recently been investing £20m per month.

Passenger Traffic Increases at Gatwick Airport

London Gatwick Airport has reported positive growth in passenger numbers in may 2012, compared to figures for the same month last year.

Around three million passengers flew through the airport in May 2012, a rise of 2 percent from May 2011, in spite of shift in school holidays due to the Jubilee celebrations in June 2012.

The airport is reporting better average load factors in May 2012 than in preceding years, with planes flying at 79.5 percent load capacity, which is 2.1 percent more than that in May 2011.

However, air transport movements at the airport have reduced by 1.2 percent year-on-year, through fewer charter flights, but this result has been offset by growth in low cost and new long-haul operators, including Korean Air, Hong Kong Airlines and Vietnam Airways.

Nick Dunn, the airport chief financial officer, said, ‘It is encouraging to report a 2 percent growth in passenger numbers during May despite the move of a busy school-half term and May Bank holiday to June. Despite the continuing economic headwinds, business and leisure passengers are taking advantage of low-cost travel to many destinations in Europe and the new long-haul services operating from Gatwick.

We have also seen competition amongst airports working with Atlantic Airways switching its London service to the Faroe Islands from Stansted to Gatwick during May. We continue to invest around £20 million a month in the airport to create a modern, welcoming airport with minimal queue-times and excellent customer service. This is now paying dividends with airlines and passenger choosing to fly from Gatwick.’

Tourism Sees Increase in Older Travellers

London Gatwick Airport has reported travel trends for the older generation of travellers.

A recent report released by the airport has highlighted that 61 percent of Overseas Adventure Travellers (OTA) over 85 years of age travel more frequently now than when they were younger.

Travel has become a major pastime for the older generation, as 56 percent of OTAs over 70 years of age admitted to travelling more often in recent times, compared to when they were in their youth, based on a survey of 1,000 respondents.

The study has revealed that 30 percent of older travellers expect to benefit from special assistance when travelling. In 2011, the airport assisted 381,000 passengers with reduced mobility, and in 2012, it is providing special assistance to around 30,000 passengers every month.

While 88 percent of older travellers take up to three holidays a year, around 82 percent of the respondents visit destinations in the UK, 41 percent visit Spain, 35 percent visit France, and 22 percent visit the US.

Around 53 percent of elderly travellers prefer city breaks, 51 percent prefer beach holidays, while 27 percent prefer a cruise vacation.

Head of terminal operations at Gatwick Airport, Paul Fitch, said, ‘The findings of our research show that older age travellers are more confident than ever before but often welcome a little extra help. At Gatwick we provide support and special assistance at every step of an airport journey, from the moment people enter our doors to the moment they leave. From customised transport and dedicated seating right through to specially trained staff, we’re dedicated to making the airport journey easier and more enjoyable for everyone.’

London Gatwick Airport Commences 2012 Summer Schedule with Increased Load Factors and New Flights

London Gatwick Airport has announced the commencement of its summer season with an increased load factor and new international flights.

In April 2012, the airport registered its total number of passengers as 2.7 million, a reduction of 1.3 percent from the total for April 2011, while the load factor has increased in April 2012 by 1.2 percent, compared to April 2011.

In April 2012, the airport registered a reduction in air traffic of 2.6 percent year-on-year, due to slow charter operations.

The airport has also reported a new service from Korean Air to Seoul, which commenced on April 28, 2012, while Air China commenced its flights to Beijing on May 2, 2012.

Air Nigeria will be commencing daily flights to Lagos from May 17, 2012, while Caribbean Airlines will be offering a six times weekly service to Port of Spain, Trinidad, from June 15, 2012.

Nick Dunn, the airport chief financial officer, said, ‘The year-on-year decrease in passenger traffic is largely accounted for by the timing of public holidays in April 2011, including the late Easter holiday weekend, the additional holiday to mark the royal wedding and the early May bank holiday. Despite this, planes were flying fuller with load factors up 1.2 percentage points.

This month we were given a vote of confidence by Korean Air and Air China as they launched operations to Seoul and Beijing respectively. With room to accommodate more flights, we are in a strong position to help London remain one of the best connected cities in the world.’

Gatwick Express Launches New Barcode Ticket Scanners

Gatwick Express, a UK-based company that provides a rail to air service between Victoria station and Gatwick Airport in the UK, has launched new barcode ticket scanners for its passengers.

The new barcode ticket scanners will assist customers in avoiding long queues and enable them to have their prints of e-tickets or mobile tickets scanned at the gates. The scanners are installed at the gates of London Victoria and Gatwick Airport stations, and the service is available to people that buy their tickets at the company website, www.gatwickexpress.com.

David Metherell, the company marketing manager, said, ‘The new barcode scanners ensure that customers, who book in advance and select the ‘print at home’ option or send their tickets to their UK mobile, can move more easily from their start point to their final destination. With our excellent online discounts, this means that web booking is both cheaper and more convenient.’

The company, which recently launched its mobile website, allowing passengers to buy a ticket from their smart phones, is also offering savings for travelling passengers. Customers purchasing a minimum of two return tickets from the website will pay a discounted rate of £43.10, providing a saving of 35 percent on full fare tickets. The train travel is in air-conditioned coaches, and drinks and light refreshments are served to passengers in their seats.

Trains travelling between Victoria station and Gatwick Airport depart every 15 minutes, and offer a journey time of 30 minutes. For more information, please visit www.gatwickexpress.com.

Emirates Airline Offers To Fly ‘Silent’ Airbus Fleet on Heathrow Night Flights

UAE-based airline company, Emirates Airline, has offered to operate nighttime flights to help increase the capacity of Heathrow Airport in the UK, by using the quieter Airbus A380s for overnight operations.

The airline’s Airbus A380 super-jumbo airplane fleet is capable of a steeper landing descent than other airplanes, which may lessen noise pollution close to the airport. However the airline is also proposing an increase in its operating hours out of the airport, by augmenting its daily flights to Dubai, UAE, to seven from Heathrow, instead of the current five.

Currently Heathrow Airport is only authorised to allow 15 flights per night for the summer season, which commences in April and runs until October, less than Gatwick Airport’s 50 flights per night and Stansted Airport’s 32 flights per night.

The UK government’s review of aviation policy will be commencing its preliminary consultations in the summer, and Emirates Airline is planning its aircraft schedules as part of its extended cooperation with the UK government. The noise regulations for Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted airports were all set to expire in October 2012, but have recently been extended to expire in October 2014.

Earlier, UK aviation minister, Theresa Villiers, said in a statement, ‘As a first step to replace the current regime in 2014, we will launch a first-stage consultation later this year which will seek detailed evidence of the effectiveness of the current regime including costs and benefits and airlines’ fleet replacement plans. This will be followed by a second consultation next year which will enable us to take account of adopted policy when developing our specific proposals.’

Queuing times slashed at Gatwick Airport

Queuing times are set to be cut thanks to Gatwick’s advanced new security zone as part of a £1.2bn investment into the airport.

 

The £45m security areas have promised passengers speedier passage through the airport, cutting process times to just under five minutes.

 

Nineteen new security lanes have been opened allowing 5,000 passengers to pass per hour to the departure lounge.

 

Passengers with reduced mobility and families with young children will have two dedicated lanes, and passengers travelling first class or business will have two ‘premium’ lanes.

 

Before passing through security passengers will be able to understand what they can and can’t take through with the use of large screens, which display five different languages. Another handy feature are the screens that inform passengers on the actual queuing times of each lane, a great stress reliever.

 

Passengers will be able to benefit from the new security area, by swiping their boarding card or smartphone displaying their boarding card at the security access gate.

 

Located in the South Terminal, Transport Minister Thersea Villers opened the new zone, underlining the importance of low-stress but high-security checkpoints.

 

She stated: “For many people, going through airport security can be their least favourite part of flying. The government is committed to reforming the way these necessary checks are regulated, enabling airports to come up with more passenger-friendly processes while maintaining the same high levels of security”.

 

This latest piece of technology aims to help improve passengers experience when flying from Gatwick airport.

 

Article by Charlotte Greenhalgh