London Gatwick opens sensory room for departing passengers

London Gatwick has become the first UK airport to open a sensory room for its passengers, offering a relaxing, private and interactive environment to calm people who may feel in busy and unfamiliar airport surroundings.

Located in the North Terminal, the new sensory space is designed for passengers with autism, dementia, cognitive impairment or other special needs to help them feel at ease before their flight. Passengers using the sensory room can transform the space from a calming and relaxing environment to a stimulating interactive space full of light and sound with the flick of a switch.

The ‘chill-out zone’ for those needing calm includes floor cushions, bean bags and digital display panels, which generate colourful visual wall features. The separate ‘interactive zone’ stimulates the senses through tactile panels, textures and a game to improve memory, motor skills and encourages learning. The free to use room is available only to departing passengers and their families or carers who can book a 45-minute session at the North Terminal’s special assistance desk after the security check.

Gatwick Airport’s Head of Terminal Operations, Andy Pule, said: ‘We recognise airports can be stressful environments for some passengers, which is why we are extremely proud to offer this new space for them to relax in and enjoy before their flight.

‘Gatwick is committed to providing passengers who have a disability of any kind with the support and services required to ensure their time at the airport is as comfortable as possible and this remains a key area of focus for the airport.’

Autism Ambassador for Gatwick Airport, Maria Cook, said: ‘I cannot thank the whole team involved in this project enough for making it a reality. Working closely with Gatwick I explained the vast benefits of having such a wonderful facility available and the positive impact it has for people with complex conditions and their families and they did not hesitate to create something very special indeed. It is the most amazing Sensory Room I have ever seen.’

Specific activities to experience in the room include: the Catherine Wheel Panel with colour and sound displays including firework effects; Abstract Tactile Panels featuring raised and recessed fluid shapes in contrasting textures; Colour Match Panel with classical music, mood lighting, and game to improve memory, colour recognition and motor skills; Sound to Light Showtime; Waterless Rainbow Tube with a colour wheel offering calming and stimulating effects; Interactive Giant Causeway which can activate colourful lights; Activity Board encouraging motor movement, coordination and sensory skills and Infinity and Beyond Panel offering visual and auditory effects using range of shapes, sounds, patterns and speeds.

London Gatwick announces new direct route to Shanghai

London Gatwick has announced a new long-haul connection to Shanghai – China’s largest city – as Gatwick recorded year-on-year long-haul growth of 20.8 percent in July.

The new service will be operated by China Eastern and will connect the UK to one of the world’s leading business centres, providing over 70,000 seats and more than 3,700 metric tonnes of new cargo capacity each year. The new China Eastern Airlines service to Shanghai will begin on December 7, 2018. The Airbus A330-200 will depart from Gatwick on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays at 12:00 and will fly to Shanghai Pudong Airport.

Stewart Wingate, CEO, Gatwick Airport said: ‘I’m delighted to welcome China Eastern to Gatwick and look forward to the start of this vital new link to Shanghai which, like London, is undoubtedly one of the world’s most important cities and business hubs. Starting from such a strong position gives this new route every chance of success, as it will be popular with business passengers travelling between the two economic centres, as well as leisure passengers keen to sample the excitement of China’s largest city.

‘July’s traffic figures demonstrate that Gatwick’s long-haul network is driving the airport’s growth. These connections to China and other non-European countries will take on extra significance in a post-Brexit Britain as we become more reliant on them to generate vital growth through trade and by exploiting the other business opportunities that they provide.’

A global financial centre like London, Shanghai is at the centre of China’s economic growth. It is also the leading city driving the Yangtze River Economic Zone – a region accounting for 20 percent of China’s GDP and responsible for a third of the country’s imports and exports, the airport said.

The launch of the new route follows one of the busiest Julys in Gatwick’s history, with cargo handled by the airport growing by 28.8 percent year-on-year. In October, the airport will also see the launch of new Norwegian flights from Gatwick to the Florida city of Tampa, it added.

British Airways launches new route from Heathrow to Marrakech

British Airways has announced the launch a new direct service to Marrakech from Heathrow for winter.

The airline said that it will be adding a new four-per-week service from Terminal 5 to the Moroccan holiday hotspot from October 28, 2018. During the winter season, holidaymakers will be able to fly direct from British Airways’ London-hub to Marrakech for a break, with services taking off on Thursday, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

The airline already flies from Gatwick to Marrakech eight times a week with a choice of different flight times. The return fares start from £132 in Euro Traveller and £332 in Club Europe, and customers can choose to cut the cost of flights by using Avios part payment.

Sean Doyle, British Airways’ Director of Network and Alliances, said: ‘Marrakech adds another exciting destination to our leisure network at Heathrow and is a fantastic starting point to explore Morocco; from trekking in the Atlas Mountains to discovering the amazing deserts and beaches and soaking up the atmosphere of the many medinas. Marrakech is one of the key tourism destinations in north Africa, so we’re excited to serve it from two of our London airports.’

The airline is also increasing the flight frequency to other city break destinations from Heathrow this winter, with more flights to Prague, increased from 27 to 34 per week; Budapest, increased from 20 to 23 per week; and Barcelona, from 46 to 53 per week, as well as increasing the frequency to winter sun destinations such as Gibraltar, from 9 to 13 per week; Larnaca; from 7 to 10 per week; and Malaga from four to six per week.

British Airways has recently added Nashville to its long-haul network from Heathrow and is offering travellers a new destination this winter – the South African city of Durban with a direct service from Terminal 5. From October 29, the airline will offer three direct flights a week to the spectacular South African city known for its lush green garden province and beautiful beaches.

British Airways Holidays is offering four nights at the 3 star Le Caspien Hotel, from £279 per person, travelling June 1 – June 17. In addition, the holiday company offers four nights at the five start Four Seasons Resort Marrakech, from £709 per person, travelling June 1 – June 14. The price includes Euro Traveller return flights from London Gatwick and accommodation with breakfast. Booking can be done at ba.com/Marrakech, it said.

Gatwick adds new double daily service to Qatar, expands service on transatlantic routes

London Gatwick is planning to increase the global connectivity it provides for passengers with the introduction of a new route to Qatar operated by Qatar Airways, starting May 2018.

In addition, Norwegian has announced plans to offer passengers more choice with additional frequencies, on transatlantic routes, adding 150,000 extra seats from Gatwick this summer. The airline also starts new routes to Austin and Chicago this March – adding to its new Buenos Aires service that was launched in February.

Gatwick Airport Chief Executive Officer, Stewart Wingate, said: ‘I am delighted to welcome Qatar Airways – one of the world’s premier airlines – to Gatwick for this exciting new double-daily service to Doha. Our existing airlines are also providing even more choice for passengers with Norwegian starting routes to Austin and Chicago this month while also adding 150,000 extra seats on their transatlantic services from Gatwick this summer.’

Gatwick, which was named London Airport of the Year at the London Transport Awards in February, registered its 60th month of consecutive growth in February. The airport marked five full years of month-on-month growth as 3.0 million passengers travelled through last month, an increase of 0.7 per cent compared to 2017.

Commenting on the continued growth at the airport, Wingate said: ‘Our February traffic figures mark five consecutive years of growth and during this time Gatwick has been transformed by our ongoing GBP2.7 billion investment programme. Our passengers now have a wealth of choice through an extensive route network – including over 60 long haul routes – a variety of airlines plus world-class airport facilities.’

‘February’s passenger figures are the latest demonstration of Gatwick’s importance as a vital piece of UK infrastructure providing global connectivity at a time when the country needs it most. We have exciting plans for growth maximising the use of our existing facilities whilst we also offer the country the prospect of a financeable and deliverable new runway scheme,’ he added.

Gatwick announces new peer-to-peer car rental scheme, partners with Car & Away

London Gatwick has announced plans to host a new peer-to-peer car rental scheme that allows people to rent out their vehicles to others while they are away.

Gatwick is the first UK airport to introduce such a scheme. The airport is partnering with a start-up company, Car & Away, to provide a new ‘Rent & Earn’ service for passengers, in addition to the other existing long stay parking options at Gatwick.

Vehicle owners looking to participate in the scheme may register the service, via the Gatwick parking website, where they are provided with information about Car & Away’s qualifying criteria and the renting process. Their vehicle will also receive a mini valet service. Small vehicle owners can expect to earn up to GBP80 per week in rental income, while owners of larger cars can expect to earn up to twice that amount.

Renters can find Car & Away’s available vehicles via Rentalcars.com when searching for rental cars from Gatwick. On finding a suitable service, the vehicle is available for collection from Car & Away parking bays located in the valet arrivals area of the South Terminal, the airport said.

Gatwick Airport’s Head of Car Parking, Gary Wallace, said: ‘We are always searching for ways to provide new, innovative and ground breaking services so we are pleased to be hosting this exciting new scheme with Car & Away. The new service offers passengers an alternative option when it comes to renting vehicles from the airport and gives them a chance to offset their parking costs.

‘Our goal is to help as many people as possible to travel for less, in a convenient way, and airport peer-to-peer car sharing services are another way of achieving this.’

Car & Away will ensure that all vehicles are fully insured, cleaned and meet RAC approved vehicle roadworthiness checks before being offered to renters. Octo Telematics systems will be installed to monitor the vehicle driving patterns. When the renter returns, the vehicle passes through the same checking processes and will then wait in the Car & Away parking bays for the owner’s return, the airport said.

Norwegian announces new route to Buenos Aires

Norwegian, a low-cost long-haul airline, is planning to launch a new direct service from London Gatwick to Buenos Aires.

The airline will operate a year-round service of four weekly flights from London Gatwick to Buenos Aires Ezeiza International Airport, with fares starting from £259.90 one-way to Buenos Aires.

Norwegian CEO Bjorn Kjos said: ‘Today we have marked the start of our new expansion into South America by bringing a taste of Argentina to London Gatwick. I am delighted to bring our high quality long-haul flights to another continent as we launch the only direct flight from London Gatwick to Buenos Aires, giving leisure and business passengers affordable access to South America.

‘Our first flight to Buenos Aires from the UK marks another milestone for Norwegian. As our first South American route takes off, it is also a first step towards ambitious plans for international and domestic growth in Argentina, ahead of flights to Chicago and Austin from London Gatwick next month.’

Gatwick Airport CEO Stewart Wingate said: ‘The launch of Norwegian’s first ever South American route is another exciting landmark in Gatwick’s ongoing mission to connect the UK to more and more long-haul destinations. The airport now offers 63 long-haul connections – with many, including Buenos Aires, operated by low-cost carriers – making Gatwick the busiest departure airport for low-cost long-haul services in the world.

‘We’re going to continue breaking new ground this year and remain focused on strengthening Gatwick’s global reach at a time when worldwide connections are crucial for the UK. In fact, two new Norwegian routes to Austin and Chicago will follow the Buenos Aires service into Gatwick’s schedules next month alone.’

Norwegian’s long-haul flights from London Gatwick will be operated by a fleet of the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft. The new 56 seat cabin configuration will offer passengers more than a metre of legroom, complimentary meals, baggage allowance and airport lounge access, with Premium fares available from £699.90 one way.

Buenos Aires will be Norwegian’s 11th route from London Gatwick in the past four years and by the end of March, Norwegian will operate 13 direct long-haul routes following the launch of Singapore in September, Buenos Aires in February and Chicago and Austin in March 2018, the airline said.

easyJet offers 3,000 more seats on flights to Gibraltar from Gatwick and Bristol

easyJet, the UK-based budget airline, has said that it has added a further 3,272 seats on its routes to Gibraltar from the UK.

Available on sale until March 2018, the extra seats will offer more choice for passengers to fly between the UK and Gibraltar throughout the winter.

The British overseas territory of Gibraltar, a limestone outcrop on the southern tip of the Iberian peninsula, occupies a strategic position at the western gateway to the Mediterranean Sea. Key tourist attractions include the Rock of Gibraltar, the Mediterranean Steps with its views, and St. Michael’s Cave.

The airline has added 2,772 seats on flights from London Gatwick to Gibraltar, an increase of seven percent, and 500 seats on flights from Bristol to Gibraltar, an increase of three percent. The extra capacity comes following easyJet’s upgrade at both UK bases from a 156-seat A319 to A320 aircraft, which flies up to 186 passengers.

Ali Gayward, easyJet’s UK Country Manager commented: ‘We’re delighted to be able to provide even more seats from our customers who want to travel between Gibraltar and the UK throughout the winter.

‘We’ve added a significant number of extra seats which allows us to continue providing affordable, convenient connections for our customers whether they’re travelling on business or leisure.’

The Hon Gilbert Licudi QC, Minister for Tourism of Her Majesty’s Government of Gibraltar added: ‘This is great news from easyJet. It adds very much needed capacity to Gibraltar for the winter season. I must commend easyJet and the Gibraltar Tourist Board, who are in constant contact for having achieved this in a short space of time. The Government has been working very hard behind the scenes to address current and future capacity issues to Gibraltar from the UK and this move from easyJet demonstrates their commitment to Gibraltar.’ 

In summer, easyJet flies up to 38 times a week from the UK to Gibraltar, with flights available from London Gatwick, Bristol and Manchester, Fares start from £24.49 per person, one way, based on two people travelling on the same booking. Tickets are available to book at www.easyJet.com.

Norwegian announces new route to Singapore from London Gatwick

Norwegian, a low-cost long-haul airline, has launched its first route from London Gatwick to Singapore on September 28, with fares starting from £149.90 one way.

According to the airline, the new 12-hour 45 minute flight from London Gatwick to Singapore Changi Airport is now the world’s longest route operated by a low-cost airline, covering 6,764 miles (10,885km) using the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft. Consumers can fly direct to Singapore from Gatwick four times a week, with tickets available for booking at www.norwegian.com/uk.

Commenting on the launch, Bjorn Kjos, CEO at Norwegian, said: ‘Today we brought a taste of Singapore to Gatwick to mark the expansion of our high quality long-haul flights from the UK to Asia for the first time. I’m delighted to build upon our popular USA flights and give leisure and business customers more affordable access to Singapore and the Asia-Pacific like never before.

‘The 787 Dreamliner has the range to allow us to expand our long-haul services to other parts of the world while keeping fares affordable for all. This is just the start of Norwegian’s UK expansion into new markets as we will continue connecting destinations where fares have been too high for too long.’

Stewart Wingate, CEO at Gatwick Airport said: ‘Norwegian has raised the bar by introducing the world’s longest low-cost long-haul route between Gatwick and Singapore.

‘Singapore is one of the world’s premier destinations and is a significant addition to Gatwick’s 60-strong long-haul route network. Services in both directions are likely to be very popular, both with tourists and business travellers flying between two of the world’s top financial centres.

‘It’s such an exciting time for Gatwick as airlines like Norwegian continue the low-cost long-haul revolution and I’m already looking forward to hearing about the next new destination.’

Norwegian’s Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners provides passengers with personal 11-inch seat back screens. All seats are equipped with USB ports for charging personal electronic devices. Premium passengers also benefit from cradle seating offering more than a metre of legroom and free lounge access at Gatwick Airport from £699.90 one way, the airline said.

Norwegian introduces new nonstop service between Denver and London Gatwick

Norwegian has launched nonstop flights between Denver International Airport (DEN) and London Gatwick, offering a low-cost option for passengers travelling between Denver and London.

Norwegian’s new service to London Gatwick will operate twice a week, on Saturdays and Tuesdays, until October 28. The service will then increase to three times a week, with an additional flight on Thursdays starting on November 2. The flight will arrive in Denver at 12:40 pm and depart Denver at 2:40 p.m. It will operate using a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner with 344 seats, making it the second carrier at Denver International Airport to operate this aircraft.

London is Denver International’s largest long-haul market and second-largest international market after Cancun, Mexico. Currently, nearly 400 people travel between Denver and London in a day, and the market demand has grown by 33 percent since 2013, DEN said in a release.

‘It is an exciting day for DEN as we celebrate not only a new flight, but a new airline partner who is helping us expand our global reach,’ said airport CEO Kim Day. ‘Norwegian’s unique transatlantic business model will lower fares for Denver travellers, leading to more opportunities to explore the world.’

Thomas Ramdahl, Norwegian’s chief commercial officer, added: ‘We are very excited to continue our expansion in the U.S. and add Denver to our ever-growing route network. We know Coloradans are asking for more affordable flights to Europe, and at the same time, both Denver and Colorado are highly attractive for European business and leisure travellers alike, bringing thousands of visitors to the state. And this is only the beginning for us here in Denver, as we will increase service this November, and in April next year we will also add a nonstop flight to Paris, not only making flying to Europe more affordable than ever, but with award-winning service onboard one of the world’s youngest aircraft fleets.’

With the addition of Norwegian, Denver International Airport has 25 airlines operating at the airport including 10 foreign-flag carriers that provide service to 26 international destinations in 11 countries, and more than 190 total nonstop destinations, the airport noted.

Norwegian announces new routes to Chicago and Austin from Gatwick

Norwegian Air, a Norwegian low-cost airline, has announced two new US routes from London Gatwick, with flights now on sale to Chicago with fares from £179, and Austin, Texas from £239.

Starting March 25, 2018, Norwegian will commence a year-round, four-weekly service to Chicago O’Hare International Airport, with economy fares from £179 one way and Premium fares from £499. And, starting March 27, 2018, Norwegian will operate flights to Austin with a new year-round, three-weekly service to Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, with fares available from £239 one way and Premium fares from £579.

Norwegian CEO Bjorn Kjos said: ‘Once again we have put the UK at the heart of our ambitious expansion plans, with affordable fares to another two exciting US destinations. As America’s third biggest city, Chicago is perfect addition to our growing networks while Austin has also become a major hub for leisure and business travel so we are delighted to offer passengers more choice and lower fares to these vibrant cities.

‘Many people said low-cost long-haul would never work but three years, 13 routes and 1.5 million UK passengers later and Norwegian has shown there is huge demand for more affordable long-haul travel.’

Stewart Wingate, Gatwick CEO, said: ‘These new flights are yet more proof that the low cost long haul revolution is here to stay as Norwegian and Gatwick’s long haul networks reach into all four corners of the globe. Norwegian now offers 13 long-haul routes from Gatwick to destinations across the US and also to South America and south east Asia.

‘The addition of new flights to Chicago and Austin also means that Gatwick’s long haul network breaks yet another world record as we now offer 62 long haul routes – more than any other single runway airport in the world – and the fifth largest network of any airport in Europe.’

The new routes from London Gatwick to Chicago and Austin will be operated on the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft offering passengers seatback inflight entertainment, and a Premium cabin offering more than a metre of legroom, complimentary meal service and airport lounge access. Flights are now on sale at www.norwegian.com.

The airline, which first launched its low-cost long-haul services from Gatwick in July 2017, now serves 13 global long-haul destinations from Gatwick, including nine US cities, Singapore and Buenos Aires. Over 1.5 million UK passengers have now flown low-cost long-haul with Norwegian since July 2014, it said.