GIP’s announcement on the second runway has been welcomed by local environmental lobby group the Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign (GACC) whose Chairman Brendon Sewill, says: “This firm statement will kill off some silly speculation, and will remove a lot of uncertainty and anxiety.” GACC has said it looks forward to working constructively with the new owners to reduce the airport’s noise, pollution and CO2 emissions.
Advisory body GATCOM (Gatwick Airport Consultative Committee), which comprises representatives from a wide range of interest groups including local government, airline, passenger, business and community and environmental groups, also welcomes the new independent Gatwick airport. “Our members will want to build a sound working relationship with GIP and the new executive management team, and be closely involved and consulted about any future proposals,” Vice Chairman Neil Maltby says.
Other changes at Gatwick, although less headline-grabbing, are no less fundamental to GIP’s drive for improved efficiency. The airport’s technical systems will be completely overhauled and GIP is currently in the process of trying to unravel about 150 different BAA legacy systems. The aim is to put in place new systems that have proved themselves as “best in class”, and which are most appropriate for a single airport operation.
A single airport operation with a single runway it may be, but Gatwick isn’t limiting the number of ground handlers. That wasn’t always the case. Due to a lack of airside space, in 1998 the airport applied successfully to the UK Civil Aviation Authority for approval to limit the number of third-party airside ground handlers to a maximum of four, while the number of airside bus operators was limited to just two.
In 2006, however, the airport applied to introduce full ground handling liberalization, citing significant changes to airside infrastructure, baggage sortation systems and greater use of Common User Terminal Equipment. It also highlighted a series of future capacity improvements.
Current service providers include British Airways, Servisair, Swissport, Menzies and ICTS. Gatwick’s new owners will be looking very closely at this but have no current plans to limit the number of ground handlers.
McCallum notes that ground services are vital to the quality and reputation of any airport. A passenger’s journey experience has a multitude of touch points and ground services play a huge part in delivering a quality end-to-end service. “We need to work very closely with all our handling agents,” McCallum says.
Another problem with the BAA strategy was the lack of key performance indicators for their service providers. “In contrast, we are going into great detail with our service providers and partners, and we intend to set some tough targets,” McCallum says. “It’s an area we really want to sharpen up.”
Gatwick is currently in dialogue with handling agents on new license formats, which will come into effect in the next few months.
It’s not just about improving what handlers can do for the airport. The reverse is equally true. Feedback from companies is already being received and GIP will study all the requirements to see where issues can be usefully addressed or ideas deployed.
GIP has also been carrying out extensive passenger polls — the main reaction being the majority are interested in getting through the airport as quickly as possible.
It’s a viewpoint GIP wants to accommodate and with a $1.52 billion (GBP1 billion) program of improvements underway the company is obviously as good as its word. Passengers and airlines at Gatwick may find that all their Christmases have come at once. “We’ll be doing everything we can to make sure that happens,” McCallum concludes.
London City Airport
Global Infrastructure Partners is also the major shareholder in Docklands Aviation Group Limited, operator of London City Airport.
Located just six miles from London’s financial district, London City Airport (LCY) is on a very different scale to Gatwick. Serving 2-3 million passengers, less than one-tenth of its sister facility, it is configured to serve business customers, offering the shortest check-in times of any London airport.
Opened in 1987, today London City Airport has connections to more than 30 UK and European destinations, as well as six days a week round-trip services to New York. The airport also hosts a busy corporate aviation facility.
LONDON, Sept. 17 /PRNewswire/ -- Low-cost airport transfer coach operator, easyBus, will be the only direct public transport link from Gatwick's North Terminal to London for a period of over seven...