The ‘Gatwick Fun’ day event will provide families with a whole host of exciting activities, refreshments and interactive displays, including opportunities to get up close with the vehicles and equipment used on a daily basis by the Gatwick Fire Service, Airfield Operations and Engineering teams.
Sussex Police will also have a large presence at the event and will be exhibiting a number of different sectors across the force such as a police dog unit vehicle and an armoured Land Rover.
Last year 1,200 people attended the event and this year the airport is making entry free for all with a suggested £5 donation for parking to help raise money for Gatwick’s local charity partners: Gatwick TravelCare, Kent Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance and St Catherine’s Hospice.
Gatwick Fun forms part of the airport’s wider community engagement programme, which focusses on projects that have a lasting, positive impact on large numbers of local people across the region. The airport has sponsored more than 60 events in the past year that promote local health and wellbeing, celebrate diversity, the local environment or promote local business.
The event is taking place at the Gatwick Aviation Museum, Charlwood on 15 September from 10am to 4pm and no pre-registration is required.
Gatwick Airport’s Head of Community Engagement, Alison Addy, said:
“We are proud to once again be partnering with the Gatwick Aviation Museum to host this exciting event, which promises to be fun for all the family.
“Gatwick Fun really allows us to showcase what it takes to run of one of the world’s busiest airports and our teams look forward to meeting and greeting the local community on the day.”
Gatwick Aviation Museum Manager, Ashley Colella, said:
“The museum is honoured to be able to bring this event back for a second year. It’s a great opportunity and furthers the aims of our charity to showcase the best the local community has to offer.”
Gatwick Airport Commander and Superintendent, Justin Burtenshaw, said:
“We are delighted to be part of the Gatwick Fun day. To be able to open policing to the public gives people the opportunity to see how we police the airport and work with partners to keep people travelling through Gatwick safe. The open day will give people an insight into many different aspects of policing from armed policing to dogs.”
40 local families get a taste of airport life at Gatwicks biggest ever Accessibility Day
Travelling through an airport can be challenging if you have a disability and 40 families and carers attended Gatwick’s biggest ever Accessibility Day this weekend (17 November) to get a taste of airport processes before they fly.
Thanks to easyJet, an aircraft was made available for the first time during an Accessibility Day so that families, their children and carers could experience boarding and sitting in the interior of an aeroplane.
Virgin Atlantic also provided their private V-Lounge for the families to relax and enjoy refreshments. While ‘airside’ the tours also visited Gatwick’s new sensory room which offers a relaxing, private and fully interactive environment to calm passengers who may feel overwhelmed in busy and unfamiliar airport surroundings.
Representatives from across the airport helped to run the event in the airport’s North terminal including staff from airlines such as Virgin Atlantic, easyJet and TUI, Gatwick’s security, terminal and special assistance teams, the police, the fire service, surface transport team and Border Force officials.
Families taking part could also replicate ‘checking in’, ride on assistance buggies, meet trained security dogs and the police, and watch the x-ray machines in action.
The Accessibility Day comes in the week that the 2000th member of staff working on the airport campus became a Dementia Friend – the Alzheimer’s Society’s initiative to transform the way the nation thinks, acts and talks about the condition.
Anyone who requires assistance when travelling through Gatwick is encouraged to contact the airport’s special assistance team or their airline.
Sara Marchant, from Gatwick Airport coordinated the event and said:
“The feedback we get from families is fantastic and shows that the Accessibility Day really helps make their journey more enjoyable and relaxing when they come to travel through the airport for real.
“So many people from organisations across the airport come together to make this event happen and I would like to thank everyone for helping to make it such a success. I was also delighted to welcome visitors from other UK airports to the event as it is important we all learn from each other to help make our passengers’ journeys are as enjoyable as possible.”
Celine McGuigan, Accessibility and Assistance Manager, easyJet, said:
“At easyJet we want to provide an enjoyable and seamless travel experience for all our customers, including those with accessibility needs. This is why we set up ESAAG, our Special Assistance Advisory Group, in 2012, so it could provide guidance and advice to us on the services provided to passengers who require assistance.
The group is chaired by Lord David Blunkett and is made up of experts in disability issues and accessible travel. We are pleased to be part of the Accessibility Day to give people the opportunity to find out more about what support they can get from Gatwick Airport and easyJet when travelling.”