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.

Norwegian launches new route to Greece from London Gatwick

Norwegian has announced plans to launch a new non-stop service from London Gatwick to Aktion Airport, which serves Preveza and Lefkada, Greece for summer.

The new service will be Norwegians’ first flight to mainland Greece from the UK and adds to the airlines’ existing Greek services to Rhodes, Kefalonia, Santorini and Crete. With the new service, travellers have direct access to more remote regions of Preveza and Lefkada. The traditional Greek towns boast a relaxing atmosphere and pristine beaches.

Norwegians’ first flight to Aktion Airport will depart on May 3, 2020 with a twice weekly service on a Thursday and Sunday for the summer season until October 1. Fares start from £60.50 per person, one-way available at www.norwegian.com/uk.

Magnus Maursund, SVP commercial Short Haul at Norwegian, said; ‘We are pleased to offer Brits more choice and flexibility when flying with Norwegian across Europe this summer by adding capacity to key services and a new route to Aktion Airport. Passengers travelling with us can enjoy our complimentary gate-to-gate Wi-Fi while flying in a high-quality and comfortable cabin onboard our modern, environmentally friendly aircraft.’

In addition to the new service, Norwegian is also expanding capacity on key European routes for this summer with extra weekly flights to Greece and Norway. The airline has added a second weekly flight to Crete, a new morning departure five days a week to Stavanger and extended the winter service to Tromso with two weekly flights in April, May, September and October.

Norwegian carries almost six million UK passengers each year from London Gatwick, Edinburgh and Manchester Airports to 30 destinations worldwide. The airline was ranked the most fuel-efficient airline on transatlantic routes by The International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) for two consecutive years.

British Airways launches direct flights to Antalya for summer 2020

British Airways has announced the launch of flights between London Gatwick and Antalya, Turkey.

The summer route, which will operate on an Airbus A320 and run six times a week, will commence services on April 30, 2020, and is available to book from today.

A launch offer means flights start from £139 return in Euro Traveller or £387 return in Club Europe. Customers can also choose to cut the cost of their ticket through Avios part payment – they could pay £79 plus 10,800 Avios in Euro Traveller and £207 plus 35,100 Avios in Club Europe as part of the introductory offer.

Until October 29, customers can secure any British Airways Holiday booking with a deposit of £25 per person based on two travellers, so minimum £50 deposit per booking as against £150 charged normally.

Adam Carson, British Airways’ Managing Director of Gatwick, said: ‘Holiday makers can look forward to another option when flying to Turkey with British Airways next summer. After months in the planning, we are excited to announce the addition of Antalya to our network from Gatwick. We are committed to offering flights and holidays to a wide variety of destinations at competitive prices to help people get their travel plans off the ground.’

A holiday hotspot, Antalya is considered the gateway to the Turquoise Coast with some of the most stunning landscapes in Turkey. The beaches and crystal-clear Mediterranean Sea are perfect for sunbathing, swimming and water sports. Besides the rolling landscapes and beaches, the region has two-thousand years of history with a range of spectacular temples and Greco-Roman ruins close by, as well as a bustling food and cultural scene.

British Airways Holidays offers seven nights at the 3-star Hanay Suit Hotel, from £389 per person, travelling on selected dates in May 2020. The fare includes Euro Traveller (economy) return flights from London Gatwick and accommodation.

The Antalya announcement comes as the airline adjusts its Gatwick schedule for Summer 2020. The new route to Turkey complement a summer Gatwick service to Dalaman and year-round flights between Istanbul and Heathrow.

British Airways flies to more than 70 destinations from Gatwick, offering a variety of routes to suit both business and leisure travellers. The airline is investing £6.5 billion to improve its customer experience over five years, including new aircraft, new cabins, new catering, new lounges and WiFi.

Virgin Atlantic and Delta increases services between U.K. and United States

Virgin Atlantic and Delta Air Lines have announced plans to increase flights between the U.K and U.S. from next summer, as Delta joins Virgin Atlantic at Gatwick Airport for the first time.

With the agreement, passenger capacity across the Atlantic has increased by nearly 10,000 seats per week over the last year, offering customers more choice and flexibility.

When flights begin on May 22, 2020, Gatwick will become Delta’s seventh trans-Atlantic destination served nonstop from Boston. A day before, Virgin Atlantic will launch a daily flight to New York-JFK from Gatwick. Together the airlines will offer up to four daily flights to three U.S. cities next summer.

‘We’re excited to return to London Gatwick, which is where we launched our first U.K. destination over 40 years ago as well as Manchester, and continue to grow our international network from Boston,’ said Roberto Ioriatti, Delta’s vice president Transatlantic. ‘Together with Virgin Atlantic, we are strengthening our presence in the northeast U.S. and in London, offering customers a greater choice of destinations combined with the excellent service they can expect from our airlines.’

Beginning March 29, 2020, Delta and Virgin Atlantic will increase capacity between New York-JFK and London Heathrow by 15 percent. Delta will increase its services to three daily services, with Virgin Atlantic operating five. This includes a daytime slot from JFK-Heathrow for the first time, operated by Delta, adding to the daytime Boston-Heathrow and JFK-Heathrow service currently offered by Virgin Atlantic. Virgin Atlantic’s Heathrow – JFK flights will be the first route to operate the new A350 from September 2019.

Virgin Atlantic is also set to increase flights to important west coast hubs, as it increases services from Heathrow to Seattle from seven to 11 per week, while Los Angeles will also see services rise from 14 to 17 flights per week, with up to three services per day operating in the summer months.

Juha Jarvinen, EVP Commercial at Virgin Atlantic, commented: ‘Our announcement today marks another phase of growth, both for our transatlantic network and for our partnership with Delta.

Our increased services to Los Angeles and Seattle further cement our commitment to our west coast flights, which follow the introduction of our exceptionally popular Manchester – Los Angeles route that launched earlier this year.’

Further, Delta will return to Manchester, with a new peak-summer service to Boston effective May 21, 2020 replacing Virgin Atlantic’s current operation. Flights will increase from the current three per week to a daily service, offering an extra 45 percent capacity versus last year.

Manchester will be the eighth Transatlantic destination served nonstop by Delta from Boston, while flights to Atlanta, New York-JFK, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Orlando will continue to be operated by Virgin Atlantic. Together the airlines will offer a schedule of up to six daily flights to Manchester from six U.S. cities next summer.

Norwegian announces million seats in summer 2020 schedule from London to USA

Norwegian has announced the release of more than one million seats to the USA, in launching its summer 2020 flight schedule.

Consumers planning next year’s summer holidays can now book nonstop flights from London Gatwick to nine US cities including Boston, New York, Orlando, Tampa, Denver, Miami, Austin, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. Tickets, with fares starting from £157 one way, are available to book at www.norwegian.com/uk.

Matthew Wood, SVP Long-Haul Commercial at Norwegian said: ‘Brits love a bargain which is why we are giving consumers plenty of time to start planning next year’s summer holidays with early access to our lowest fares to the USA.

‘We will be releasing more flights in phases that make up the rest of our summer 2020 flight schedule but until then, we recommend that consumers book early to secure the best fares and their preferred seats on board our modern environmentally-friendly aircraft to the USA’s top cities.’

Norwegian is a low-cost European transatlantic carrier. The flights are operated using Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft with free Wi-Fi.

Norwegian added that it will release the remainder of its summer 2020 programme in phases over the coming weeks. The airline currently operates more flights to the USA than any other carrier from London Gatwick and is the only carrier serving Brazil and Argentina nonstop from the airport.

Norwegian also announced the launch of a new ‘gate-to-gate’ Wi-Fi which gives passengers access to the airline’s Wi-Fi network as soon as they step on board the aircraft. Customers travelling on any route across Norwegian’s global network will now be able to stay connected for the entire duration of the flight.

London Gatwick adds 10 new summer routes in response to travel trends

London Gatwick has recently announced the addition of ten brand new routes for this summer season, with nearly 17 million passengers expected to depart from the airport during the season.

In response to the summer travel trends from the airport, London Gatwick is introducing ten new routes this 2019 summer season, including from Rio, Brazil to Rijeka, Croatia. The new routes include three flights per week to Asturias, Spain; two flights per week to Chisinau, Moldova; seven flights per week to Cluj Napoca, Romania; seven flights per week to Gdansk, Poland; one flight per week to Lametia – Terme, Italy; seven flights per week to Miami, USA; one flight per week to Rijeka, Croatia; four flights per week to Rio, Brazil; five flights per week to San Francisco, USA; and, three flights per week to Zadar, Croatia.

In addition to new routes, airlines operating from Gatwick will also increase the number of flights they operate to a range of destinations. For summer 2019, Gatwick will see an increase in frequency of flights to Spanish destinations Almeria, Bilbao, Jerez and Alicante as well as to Antalya, Turkey, Kos, Greece and Budapest, Hungary.

Stephen King, Head of Airline Relations, Gatwick Airport said: This summer, ten new routes will start from Gatwick which is the very latest demonstration of passenger demand for flights from Gatwick. It shows that, even though it’s one of the busiest in Europe, airlines can still acquire slots and grow at our airport.

‘Rio de Janeiro has just joined Gatwick’s roster of long-haul connections while our airlines are opening up new must-see destinations to explore, particularly in Europe.

‘Our summer seat availability is nearly double that of our winter season. With the airport set to have its biggest ever summer this year, we are delighted to treble the days our in-terminal passenger entertainment of musicians, performers and comedians is available. ‘

Norwegian launches London Gatwick-Miami route

The European low fares airline, Norwegian, has launched its first-ever service from London Gatwick to Miami International Airport, on March 31.

With the new service, travellers will have a daily nonstop option between Miami and London Gatwick Airport. The service will be operated using Norwegian’s Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft that seats 344 passengers in a two-class configuration.

Norwegian CEO and Founder, Bjorn Kjos, said: ‘South Florida is one of our most important markets in the U.S., and by moving our London service to Miami, we will become even more competitive and offer more South Florida residents more affordable flights to London and beyond, while we will also have access to many more opportunities, including cargo. We are very committed to this market, and look forward to increasing our presence at MIA in the future.’

Commenting on the new service, Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez, said: ‘I applaud Norwegian for adding Miami-Dade County to its global network. The United Kingdom is already our County’s fifth-busiest international travel market, and Norwegian’s new daily flights are sure to generate even more tourism from that region and from across Europe as well.’

‘We are honored by Norwegian’s decision to launch first-ever Miami service, which provides our passengers with yet another nonstop travel option to Europe. We proudly welcome their award-winning service to MIA, where nearly one million passengers already travel to and from the United Kingdom annually,’ added Miami-Dade Aviation Department Director and CEO Lester Sola.

Norwegian airline operates more than 500 routes to over 150 destinations in Europe, North Africa, Middle East, Thailand, Caribbean, North and South America.