Gatwick Airport has unveiled the new €85 million facelift to its North Terminal, part of the gateway’s ongoing €1.4 billion investment programme.
The former British Prime Minister, Sir John Major, officially opened the new-look terminal, which has been expanded to handle 4 million extra passengers each year, bringing capacity of the terminal to 20mppa.
The expansion project has seen the eastern end of the terminal extended to provide additional check-in and baggage reclaim capacity.
For example, there are 18 new check-in desks taking the total to 144, of which 70 are self-service options.
Meanwhile, in order to cut time spent waiting for luggage, there are also four new reclaim belts, including three international and one domestic belt.
In total, the North Terminal has been extended by 1.25 hectares as a result of the project.
Speaking at the opening ceremony today (November 17), Sir John said airports are the "front door" of the UK, and that for visitors to Britain, their first impressions of the country are shaped by what they see and experience when they land.
He said: “That is why the significant investment to improve arrivals infrastructure is so important.”
The extended North Terminal follows the completion of work earlier in the year to revitalise and expand the forecourt and construct a new interchange to provide a modern new entrance into the terminal building.
Stewart Wingate, CEO at Gatwick Airport, said: “It’s fair to say that passengers flying out of the North Terminal used to be greeted with a dated 80s feel with little aesthetic appeal and confusing wayfinding.
“But that was the Gatwick of yesteryear. Today, the layout and design of the upgraded forecourt, interchange facilities and the expanded terminal building provide a much more positive first impression.”
The revemp is part of Gatwick’s €1.4 billion investment programme, which is focused on improving the overall passenger experience of the airport.
Wingate added: “We want passengers to spend as little time in queues or waiting for luggage as is possible, and we want them to enjoy their surroundings before they jet off for their holidays. That has been the focus of our work at the airport so far and there is still much more to come.”
The next phase of the development will involve a €37 million upgrade of the baggage system.
Gatwick plans to replace the whole system in the main baggage hall and will go from six to two sorters making the system more reliable, efficient and flexible.
Elsewhere, in October, Gatwick opened a revamped security area at its South Terminal.