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Gatwick Airport; Britain's Second Largest

Feb 11, 2008
Gatwick Airport is Britain's second largest and second busiest airport. Despite only having a single runway, Gatwick Airport handled over 35 million passengers last year and hopes to improve on that figure in the future. Obviously as a large airport it has a number of accompanying services, such as shops, bars and car hire companies.

Gatwick Airport was the first ever airport with a direct rail link to London, now all major airports possess one but when Gatwick developed its link with Victoria it was a novel idea. Car hire companies and bus routes have battled against this rail link since the 1950s and today the battle is no less fierce. The original rail link had an underground passage that allowed passengers to travel from Victoria to the airport without having to brave the elements. Sadly the position of Gatwick Airport was prone to flooding and this tunnel was often waterlogged, meaning passengers were forced to paddle.

The future of Gatwick Airport was not always certain; it faced major competition from Stansted while the government decided which airport to expand. If it had not secured the deal the shops, cafes and car hire desks would not have prospered and Gatwick would never have become one of the largest employers in the Crawley area. The Cabinet in 1952 eventually settled upon the expansion of Gatwick Airport over Stansted. Reasons for this are unclear but the decision was most probably dependent upon the Cabinet not wanting to ruin one of the prettiest parts of the country when Crawley was an option.

Another reason however is its proximity to London and the south of England. This makes the airport the ideal place to hire a car and explore the south. Its direct link to the M23 and subsequent ease of access to the M25 means that the whole country is at your fingertips when you hire a car and leave either the north or south terminal.

Strangely for a major airport Gatwick only has one operational runway, there is of course another but both cannot operate simultaneously due to space restrictions. The next stage of expansion for the airport is to gain a second operational runway and further increase the number of flights. Subsequently more work will be available for service staff, security guards and car hire workers. The airport does however have limitation agreement upon it until 2019 although these pieces of legislation can usually be sidestepped with enough financial backing.

With an increase in the number of executive lounges there is little doubt that businessmen will be able to enjoy an interrupted service that will include arrival, relaxing in the lounge until a hire car is ready for a stress free onward journey. The increase in business class travellers itself is a relatively modern phenomenon in air travel but Gatwick is doing a great deal to cater for these most demanding of travellers.

With a large number of operators the destinations that can be reached from Gatwick are widespread. From domestic flights down to Plymouth and Newquay to transatlantic journeys to the Americas and Caribbean the list of destinations is impressive. With British Airways still the dominant airline at Gatwick and many smaller airlines carving themselves a niche, the numbers of destinations are sure to increase.

Gatwick through hard work and detailed planning has found itself in second spot of UK airports, to continue the wealth of business that surrounds the airport such as hotels, car hire services and restaurants expansion is necessary. Of course there are protests from residents against any proposed expansion but this occurs when any airport wishes to expand, obviously no one wants a huge airport in their back garden but for the sake of progress someone will have to bear the noise and low flying planes in their daily lives.
About the Author
Travel expert Thomas Pretty flies regularly and uses Budget's car hire Gatwick Airport services on a regular basis. To find out more please visit http://www.budget.co.uk/car-hire/car-hire-gatwick-airport.htm
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