History of Gatwick Airport

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The History of Gatwick Airport

The name Gatwick comes from the original owners of the land, the Gatwick family who owned land in the area up until the 1890’s. The land was then used as a race course and indeed between the years 1915 and 19919 was used as a substitute for the Aintrree Grand National.

The land continued to be used as a racecourse up until 1932 when Morris Jackman formed Airports Ltd. At this point Gatwick was little more than the local flying club, however in 1934 Gatwick was issued with a licence to allow commercial aircraft, which was quickly followed up by the company going public in 1935.

The airport slowly increased the number of destinations albeit these were limited to Europe with Paris, Belfast, Malmo, Hamburg and Copenhagen being amongst the first.

At the outbreak of the Second World War the Air Ministry took over the running of the airport and continued to operate the airport after the war under the guise of the Ministry for Civil Aviation. During the late 50’s the decision was taken to develop Gatwick in tandem with

Heathrow to meet the ever increasing demands for air travel in the South East and capital. The Queen opened the airport in 1958 and it is from this date that Gatwick was established as an international airport. Its first year of operation saw 368,000 passengers pass through its terminal, which in today equates to a busy weekend.

At this stage the airport only had one terminal, which today is known as the South Terminal. This terminal and the runway were subject to continual upgrading and the runway lengthened as larger aircraft needed for yards to land. The next major development was the building of the North Terminal in 1983. This was a major undertaking and took over 5 years to complete. During this time BAA plc who own Gatwick

Airport Ltd floated and the investment in the infrastructure has increased rapidly. Additional piers to serve more aircraft have built at both terminals and a massive up grading of lounge areas in 1994 costing £30 million. This development of terminal facilities is an ongoing exercise with the airport committed to spending a billion pounds over the next 5 years.

Gatwick is a truly international airport able to provide a first class service to its customers.