Wizz Air announces launch of 18 new routes ahead of summer season at Gatwick Airport

Wizz Air has announced the launch of 18 new routes from its base at Gatwick Airport.

The announcement comes as all COVID-19 travel measures, including the Passenger Locator Form and tests for all arrivals, have been terminated and is well timed for the Easter holidays. Tickets are now available on wizzair.com and on the airline’s mobile app, with fares starting from £8.99.

The launch coincides with the reopening of Gatwick’s South Terminal. With a mix of year-round and seasonal routes to Bari, Bourgas, Faro, Milan, Naples, Palermo, Rome, Palma de Mallorca, Larnaca, Varna, Venice, Vienna, Catania, Podgorica, Tel Aviv, Chania, Mykonos and Funchal, the expansion will see Wizz Air operate a total of 25 routes from Gatwick Airport.

Marion Geoffroy, Managing Director of Wizz Air UK, said: ‘Today’s route launches signify the start of an exciting new chapter for Wizz Air UK at Gatwick Airport as we embark on the summer travel season. Through this significant expansion we are reaffirming our commitment to providing low-fare connectivity to our customers in London and the South of England – and we want them to know that WIZZ is here to stay.

‘The lifting of all Covid-19 travel restrictions is an extremely positive development for the travel industry and passengers alike, with customers once again being able to travel hassle-free to their favourite destinations. We look forward to welcoming customers old and new onboard our young, efficient and green aircraft to enjoy the excellent service WIZZ is known for, as they head off on their well-deserved trips abroad.’

Jonathan Pollard, Chief Commercial Officer, Gatwick Airport said: ‘We are delighted that Wizz is adding 18 new routes to its Gatwick offer, meaning passengers can now fly from Gatwick with Wizz to a total of 25 popular European destinations. Wizz’s expansion and commitment to Gatwick marks the start of an exciting time for the airport as well as the airline, coinciding with the reopening of Gatwick’s South Terminal.

‘Wizz’s growing range of destinations is excellent news for passengers across London and the South East, providing more choice and competition to in-demand destinations. Importantly, it’s also fantastic news for the local economy, with more than 200 jobs created as a direct result of the new services.’

Wizz Air passengers can now book tickets with the airline’s travel insurance package which includes Covid-19 cover and WIZZ Flex. With WIZZ Flex, passengers can cancel their flight up to three hours before departure without any fee and receive 100 percent of the fare reimbursed in airline credit.

Qatar Airways to resume flights to London Gatwick

Qatar Airways has recently announced that it will resume flights to London Gatwick Airport from June 5, 2022.

The airline will operate a daily service from Gatwick to Doha using the Boeing 787 Dreamliner featuring 22 seats in Business Class and 232 seats in Economy Class. An environmentally advanced aircraft, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner consumes 20 per cent less fuel and its carbon dioxide emissions are 20 per cent lower than other similar aircraft.

Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, said: ‘Our commitment to the UK market has been unwavering and we operated continuously and reliably throughout the pandemic, so I am pleased we can resume our popular service to London Gatwick. We offer excellent connectivity to and from the UK, providing travellers with more choice and convenience.

‘This year is very special for us, not least as it is the 25th anniversary of the start of our flights to London Heathrow in March 1997.’

With the addition of daily flights to London Gatwick, passengers can now enjoy connectivity to almost 150 destinations across the airline’s extensive global network via Hamad International Airport, connecting with popular destinations across the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Australasia.

The resumption of the London Gatwick service comes after the recently launched flights to Doha from Gatwick by Qatar Airways’ Joint Business partner British Airways, meaning the airlines can now jointly offer more options between London and Doha and beyond.

In addition, UK customers will now have access to four gateways including five-times daily services from London Heathrow, 18-times weekly from Manchester and four-times weekly from Edinburgh, increasing to daily from June 2.

Gatwick to reopen South Terminal as travel picks up

Gatwick Airport has said that it will reopen its South Terminal in March – after nearly two years of closure – to serve the increased demand this summer and beyond as international travel returns.

The announcement comes after the government eased testing requirements for those arriving into the UK significantly, with fully vaccinated passengers (two doses) and those under the age of 18 no longer needing to take pre-departure and post-arrival tests. Flights have been operating solely from the airport’s North Terminal since June 15, 2020 to save on costs, but activity will return to the South Terminal from Sunday March 27, as Gatwick expects a busy summer season.

British Airways has already announced that it will restart its short-haul services from Gatwick from March 29, with 35 new European routes added. BA’s low-cost sister airline, Vueling, will also be expanding its operations, adding five new short-haul routes and basing three aircraft at Gatwick. Wizz Air will also significantly increase its operations from the airport with 18 new routes, while easyJet has also taken up more slots and expanded its flying schedule at the airport.

Stewart Wingate, Chief Executive Officer, Gatwick Airport said: ‘After an incredibly challenging two years for the airport, our partners, local communities and the entire aviation industry, we are delighted to be reopening our South Terminal next month.

‘Following some major announcements from our airlines about significantly increased flying schedules, and from Government on removing travel restrictions and airport slot regulations, we can now look forward to once again operating a busy Gatwick this summer and beyond.’

‘It may however take time for consumer confidence to fully recover, so I urge Government to make 2022 the year when all travel restrictions are removed, including the unpopular passenger locator form and other remaining barriers to free travel,’ Wingate added.

From March 27, a number of Gatwick’s airlines will begin returning to the South Terminal. Tickets for over 30 exciting long-haul routes from Gatwick are also on sale, including New York, Tampa, Bangkok, Phuket, Mauritius, Dubai, Doha, Islamabad – and a range of cities across Canada, the Caribbean and Mexico, including Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Cancun, Antigua and Montego Bay.

Airlines who will be operating from the South Terminal include: British Airways, Vueling, Wizz, Ryanair, Norwegian, Turkish Airlines, TAP, Eastern Airways, Aurigny, Aer Lingus, Air Baltic, Airmaltia, Air Europa and Enter Air, while easyJet will operate across both South and North Terminals.

easyJet celebrates 20-year anniversary of London Gatwick base

easyJet, a UK-based budget airline, announced on February 1 that it is celebrating the 20-year anniversary of its base at London Gatwick airport.

The start of easyJet’s operation with a single Gatwick-based aircraft and locally employed crew began with just a handful of routes – the first being Barcelona on 1st February 2002, which was later joined by new routes to Edinburgh, Zurich, Malaga and Palma throughout the same month. Previously, flying had only been inbound from its bases in Geneva, Nice and Amsterdam.

Since then, the airline has grown to become Gatwick’s largest and also easyJet’s largest base on its entire network. The airline will operate 79 aircraft from the airport next summer and now serves over 120 routes across Europe, North Africa and the Middle East.

EZY813 from London Gatwick to Barcelona was the very first flight operated by London Gatwick-based crew on a Boeing 737 aircraft which departed at 11:15 on 1st February 2002 with 137 passengers onboard. Since then, the airline has flown over 200 million passengers to and from the airport. easyJet now has an all Airbus A320 family fleet including the more efficient neo type which is both more fuel efficient and quieter, and introduced its first ever A321 neo into the fleet in 2018 which was also based at Gatwick.

easyJet flew around 19 million passengers to and from the airport in 2019 and continues to grow. The airline has just added over 1.1 million additional seats on sale from the airport next for summer meaning passengers have an even greater choice of low fared flights when choosing where to take their next trip.

easyJet will also be introducing a new route for customers next summer from Gatwick. On sale later this week, Krk, the largest Island in the Adriatic Sea, nestled off the coast of Croatia, is a brand-new destination in easyJet’s network and will provide a unique summer holiday hotspot for customers looking to explore beyond the mainstream Mediterranean destinations. The new route will operate on Tuesdays and Saturdays, starting 3rd May.

Ali Gayward, easyJet’s UK country manager said: ‘easyJet is delighted to be celebrating 20 years at our London Gatwick base, our largest base in the network. Over the last two decades we have remained committed to providing even more choice for our customers travelling to and from the airport, growing our operation to become Gatwick’s largest airline.

‘And we remain focussed on growth at Gatwick; we recently added over a million extra seats from the airport for next summer and new routes such as our new flights to Krk off the coast of Croatia, continuing to provide passengers with an ever-greater range of destinations all with a convenient schedule, low fares and great service for both leisure and business travellers.’

The airline was named as Britain’s Most Admired Company of 2020 in the transport sector, retaining the leading position for a second year running. Britain’s Most Admired Companies study is the longest-running annual survey of corporate reputation in the UK.

easyJet opens first airport lounge at London Gatwick Airport

easyJet has recently announced the opening of its first airport lounge in collaboration with No1 Lounges at the North Terminal at London Gatwick Airport.

The new lounge was open for use on October 21, and can be booked in advance through easyJet’s exclusive partnership with Holiday Extras, online, on the day of travel. A range of one, two and three hour packages are available with prices starting from £18.50.

With space to eat, drink, work and play, The Gateway will offer customers a choice of complementary menus with a selection of dishes with table service, alongside a range of self-serve side dishes and hot and cold drinks.

The Gateway provides free Wifi and areas to work with convenient charging points, dining and lounge soft-seating. It also offers areas where families can enjoy exploring including the TV den and games room.

Rachael Smith, Commercial Proposition & Innovation Director for easyJet, commented: ‘We are delighted to be launching our very first airport lounge in partnership with No1 Lounges to serve passengers at London Gatwick, where we’re proud to be the largest airline. We’re always looking for opportunities to offer travellers more choice and great value, so we’re proud that The Gateway will be able to offer something for everyone whether it’s all the essentials for a workspace, somewhere comfortable to relax before jetting off or to entertain the family.’

Jonathan Pollard, Chief Commercial Officer, Gatwick Airport said: ‘We are delighted to welcome easyJet’s and No1 Lounges, The Gateway, to our North Terminal. As Gatwick’s biggest airline, it’s fantastic that easyJet has a dedicated space for all passengers to relax before their flight, whether travelling for business, leisure or with their family.’ All passengers travelling through London Gatwick Airport North Terminal can book to use the lounge regardless of airline or travel ticket class. They can also arrive without a booking and present their easyJet boarding pass on entry to the lounge.

Wizz Air announces new base at Gatwick as part of UK expansion

Hungarian low-fares airline Wizz Air has announced a new base at Gatwick Airport, which will be the third base for Wizz Air UK, the group’s UK-registered and based airline, alongside London Luton and the recently announced Doncaster Sheffield.

The airline will allocate one Airbus A321 aircraft to the South London hub and launch four new routes to leisure destinations in Greece, Italy, Spain and Malta from October 22 2020. With the new base at Gatwick, Wizz Air will offer passengers more travel opportunities, with 450,000 seats per annum on sale on its new routes.

The new routes include London Gatwick – Lanzarote, operating on Monday, Wednesday, Friday starting October 23, 2020 for fares starting from £26.99; London Gatwick – Athens, operating on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday starting October 22, 2020 for fares starting from £26.99; London Gatwick – Malta, operating on Monday, Wednesday, Friday starting October 23, 2020 for fares starting from £21.99; and London Gatwick – Naples, operating on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday starting October 22, 2020 for fares starting from £21.99 2020 for fares starting from £26.99. Tickets are now available on wizzair.com or the WIZZ mobile app, with fares starting from £21.99 one-way, including taxes, administration and other non-optional charges.

This announcement follows the recent expansion at Doncaster Sheffield, its first regional base, where the airline will allocate one Airbus A321 aircraft and launch seven new routes to destinations including Alicante, Malaga, Larnaca, Faro, Lublin, Kosice and Suceava in October 2020.

Owain Jones, Managing Director of Wizz Air UK said: ‘Already the fourth largest airline group operating in the UK, today’s announcement of our new Gatwick base and four new routes reinforces Wizz Air UK’s position as a British airline that is growing, creating new jobs, bringing much-needed connectivity to the UK and so helping the economy get back in the air. Following on from last week’s announcement of a new Wizz Air UK base at Doncaster Sheffield Airport, we stand ready to continue to support the UK’s recovery with further growth at key airports, if slot-blocking by other airlines is stopped allowing WIZZ to deliver on our promise of providing affordable travel for all.’

Stewart Wingate, CEO at Gatwick Airport, said: ‘This is encouraging news for Gatwick, particularly at a time when the industry has been so negatively impacted by COVID-19. Having a new aircraft based at Gatwick underpins the resilience of our business for the long-term and ensures we continue to offer our passengers great choice. This is a welcome indication of the positive conversations we are having with airlines – both existing and new – about securing Gatwick’s future.’

Gatwick to reopen North Terminal to accommodate more flights

Gatwick has introduced several measures to protect the health and safety of both passengers and staff, as the airport prepares to reopen its North Terminal today, June 15, with several airlines planning to scale up their flying programmes.

As part of the new safety measures, passengers will be required to wear a face covering within the airport with Gatwick staff mandated to wear face coverings in customer interface areas of the terminals. Face mask vending machines will also be made available at the airport. Good hand-hygiene will be encouraged with sign-posted hand washing facilities and numerous hand sanitising stations – including touch-free models. The airport will also ensure frequent deep cleaning of common-use surfaces throughout the airport with teams available to respond to any passenger concerns on cleanliness. Social distancing procedures will be in place at check in, security, gate rooms, seating in departure halls and in restaurants, bars and shops; and Perspex screens will be throughout the terminals, including check in desks, and gate rooms.

Gatwick will now also increase its operating hours to 0600-22.00 and easyJet has announced that it is restarting flights from the North Terminal on June 15 alongside Wizz Air, Ryanair, Belavia, Vueling and Blue Island.

Stewart Wingate, Chief Executive, Gatwick Airport, said: ‘Having remained open throughout this pandemic the wellbeing and safety of our passengers and everyone that works at the airport remains our top priority. We have introduced a range of new social distancing and hygiene solutions to help this happen so we can all help protect each other when travelling through the airport. We want people to understand that airports and air travel is a safe environment in this COVID-19 travelling world.’

‘We are pleased to be in a position to re-open the North Terminal and we look forward to welcoming back easyJet as they restart flights alongside our other airlines. The recent Government announcement regarding the 14-day quarantine period for passengers arriving into the UK is, in our opinion, already having an impact on the start of air travel recovery. We accept the Government’s absolute priority is the protection of public health, but we continue to push for regular, country by country reviews of quarantine regulations, based on medical evidence.’

Passengers travelling through the airport are encouraged to check the travel guidance before they leave home https://www.gatwickairport.com/at-the-airport/passenger-services/coronavirus/, Gatwick said. In addition to passenger guidance available online and via passenger app, digital and physical signage advising passengers of the new health measures is displayed throughout the airport. Further, a new film will also be aired that informs passengers of the new guidance and what to expect when travelling through the airport.

Virgin Atlantic announces plans to optimise network, to leave Gatwick Airport

Virgin Atlantic has announced plans optimise its network, in response to the severe impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the global economy, including the travel and aviation industry.

Accordingly, Virgin Atlantic said that it will fly only wide-body, twin-engine aircraft from London Heathrow and Manchester to the most popular destinations. It will shift its flying programme from London Gatwick to London Heathrow, with the intention of retaining its slot portfolio at London Gatwick, so it can return in line with customer demand.

Shai Weiss, CEO, Virgin Atlantic, commented: ‘We have weathered many storms since our first flight 36 years ago, but none has been as devastating as Covid-19 and the associated loss of life and livelihood for so many.

‘However, to safeguard our future and emerge a sustainably profitable business, now is the time for further action to reduce our costs, preserve cash and to protect as many jobs as possible. It is crucial that we return to profitability in 2021. This will mean taking steps to reshape and resize Virgin Atlantic in line with demand, while always keeping our people and customers at the heart of all we do.

‘Our vision for Virgin Atlantic remains the same – to become the most loved travel company, for our people and our customers. Once the crisis stabilises, Virgin Atlantic has an important role to play in contributing to the UK’s economic recovery, providing essential connectivity and competition.’

In response to Virgin Atlantic’s plans, a Gatwick spokesperson said: ‘We are very saddened to hear the news today about Virgin Atlantic’s plans. We have had a long, close and successful relationship with the airline since it made its maiden flight from Gatwick back in 1984. Virgin Atlantic will always be welcome at Gatwick and we will continue our efforts to explore ways to restart the airline’s operations as soon as possible, in the knowledge that they intend to retain their slot portfolio at Gatwick for when demand returns.

‘This news will be devastating for its staff and the many local businesses that supply and support the airline at the airport and its HQ in Crawley, however we will continue to work with Virgin Atlantic to get them flying again from Gatwick.

Further, Virgin Atlantic said that focusing on one powerful brand, Virgin Holidays will become Virgin Atlantic Holidays, while simplifying the brands for customers.

Gatwick Airport to consolidate operations into South Terminal from April

In response to the impact of COVID-19 pandemic, Gatwick has announced its decision to consolidate passenger processing and facilities into the airport’s South Terminal and to limit scheduled flights on its runway to between 1400 and 2200 hrs, with effect from April 1, 2020.

The airport’s operations will be consolidated into the South Terminal and the runway will remain open for emergency landings and diversions only outside these hours. The airport has made this decision to protect the health and safety of passengers and staff, and to protect the business following the reduction in passenger traffic, it said.

Stewart Wingate, Chief Executive, Gatwick Airport, said: ‘Gatwick is a resilient but also responsible business and during these extraordinary times we need to take unprecedented measures to protect the health and wellbeing of our staff and passengers, while also shielding the business from the impact of Coronavirus.

‘I would also like to take this opportunity to thank my staff for their continuing hard work through this difficult time and to reassure them that we are taking these difficult decisions now, so that we are in a position to recover quickly and get back to generating jobs and economic benefits for the region and wider economy well into the future.

‘During these extraordinary times, we have also seen remarkable acts of kindness and community spirit in support of people who may need some additional help. To add to this, we will also be providing some opportunities so that any of our staff, who have time during this period of reduced operations, that choose to, can help support people in our local communities.’

The temporary closure of the North Terminal will last for a minimum of one month and the situation will be kept under regular review, the airport said. The North Terminal will be reopened when traffic increases and the government directives to prevent the spread of coronavirus, such as social distancing, is relaxed.

The decision to scale back the airport’s operations has been done in consultation with the airport’s airline partners and any passengers booked on flights due to depart or arrive at Gatwick during this period are advised to contact their airline, it added.

easyJet holidays adds Tunisia to Gatwick schedule for summer 2020

easyJet holidays has recently announced the launch of holidays to Tunisia from London Gatwick for summer 2020.

As part of the programme, customers will have the choice of a Wednesday or Saturday flight to Tunisia each week from London Gatwick. Holidays to the new destination are on sale with the first departures scheduled from May 2020.

Paul Bixby, Strategy and Sourcing Director, easyJet holidays commented: ‘Tunisia is an incredibly popular place to enjoy a holiday and it’s great news to be able to add it as a choice for this summer. It offers amazing beaches, beautiful hotels, and all at brilliant value. All of our holidays to Tunisia that we’ve launched today are all inclusive, and for all of our holidays we include 23kg of luggage per person as standard as well as transfers on our beach holidays.’

As part of the holiday package, eight directly contracted hotels in Tunisia are on sale with easyJet holidays. The hotels on offer include the 4 Star One Resort Aqua Park and Spa suited for a family retreat on a private stretch of Skanes’ El Mouradi beach and 5 star Iberostar Selection Diar El Andalous, a contemporary hotel on the beachfront in Sousse complete with spa and a range of a la carte dining options. easyJet will expand the Tunisia range and add more hotels to give customers more choice.

The new holidays to Tunisia through easyJet holidays are all inclusive and some include free child places, offering customers an affordable summer holiday. easyJet holiday is available to book at www.easyjet.com/en/holidays.