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Gatwick set for busiest-ever October half-term as long-haul traffic soars

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·         Over 1.3 million passengers travelling through Gatwick during half-term week, +3.5% on last year

·         Long-haul traffic up 21.7% as more holidaymakers head further afield

·         Three of the 10 biggest-growing long-haul routes are to the Caribbean – St. Lucia +197%, Kingston +68% and Punta Cana +48% on 2016

 More Brits than ever before will travel to transatlantic destinations for the October half-term break, as forecasts by Gatwick Airport predict thousands are planning to take advantage of the growing number of low-cost long-haul flight options on offer.

Gatwick’s long-haul traffic is set to rise by 21.7% this half-term, compared with the same period in 2016. One in five October half-term passengers will travel on long-haul routes.

Destinations in the Caribbean and Florida will see the biggest boosts in popularity, with St. Lucia and Fort Lauderdale the two largest-growing long-haul routes, up 197% and 181% year-on-year. Kingston, Jamaica (+68%) and Punta Cana (+48%) also feature in Gatwick’s top ten biggest-growing long-haul routes for the half-term break.

US and Canadian city breaks are on the rise too, with Oakland, San Francisco up 163% and Vancouver up 101% on 2016. Established holiday favourites New York and Los Angeles also continue to be popular half-term choices, +56% and +54% respectively.

Gatwick’s substantial long-haul growth during the half-term break comes just weeks after Norwegian launched the world’s longest low-cost route to Singapore from the airport, bringing Gatwick’s long-haul network to more than 60 routes.

For those passengers opting to stay a little closer to home for half-term, the Greek islands will see a big surge in popularity. Mikonos and Zakynthos both feature in Gatwick’s top ten biggest-growing short-haul routes for the week – with increases of 131% and 121% respectively – alongside Kos (+115%) and Kefallinia (+78%).

Gatwick’s Head of Airline Relations Stephen King said:

“The significant rise in long-haul traffic at Gatwick means we are set to experience the busiest October half-term in our history. Gatwick now offers more than 60 long-haul routes and, with the growing number of low-cost long-haul destinations that we serve, our passengers are finding it easier than ever to travel further afield – with their budgets also going further.

“Britain’s global connectivity has never been more important and that’s why Gatwick, already the world’s busiest single-runway airport, continues to add vital new connections to the world. In the next few months alone, new long-haul connections to Austin, Chicago, Taipei and Buenos Aires will begin as we look forward to providing passengers with even greater choice in long-haul destinations.”

Top ten biggest-growing long-haul routes during October half-term

1.    St. Lucia                                  +197%

2.    Fort Lauderdale                       +181%

3.    Oakland, San Francisco         +163%

4.    Montreal                                  +114%

5.    Vancouver                              +101%

6.    Kingston                                  +68%

7.    Cape Verde                             +67%

8.    New York                                +56%

9.    Los Angeles                            +54%

10.  Punta Cana                             +48%

Top ten biggest-growing short-haul routes during October half-term

1.    Mikonos                                  +131%

2.    Zakynthos                               +121%

3.    Tivat                                        +118%

4.    Kos                                          +115%

5.    Hurghada                                +110%

6.    Santiago de Compostela        +99%

7.    Kefallinia                                 +78%

8.    Casablanca                             +69%

9.    Olbia                                        +66%

10.  Pula                                         +61%

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Gatwick

Gatwick launches UK’s first electric car sharing service

The 100% electric vehicles produce zero emissions which supports Gatwick’s carbon neutral status.

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Ten 'Blue City' electric cars on Gatwick's airfield.

In a UK airport first, passengers, staff and local residents can now reserve and pick up a 100% electric car at Gatwick – and return it to any of 300 compatible pick up/ drop off points across London or back at Gatwick – the airport announced yesterday.

The service – similar to schemes popular in other parts of the world – is being rolled out in partnership with Bluecity, the only company to operate a pan-London electric vehicle car sharing service with 100 cars currently available in total.

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Discussions are also ongoing with local authorities and business groups about expanding the network further in London and in areas surrounding the airport.

Operating in a similar way to existing cycle schemes across the capital, ten cars and charging points are currently available on Gatwick’s South Terminal forecourt. This is Bluecity’s first airport hub and discussions are in progress to increase capacity.

The new point to point service gives people using the airport a convenient, zero emissions travel option for getting directly on and off the airport and is purposely designed to be easy to locate and use, with customers able to reserve a car in seconds via the Bluecity app.

Local residents are also encouraged to use the service and Gatwick staff have also been offered the opportunity to trial the service for free.

A standard journey in a Bluecity car from central London is also an affordable travel option to the airport. The four-seater’s drive from Central London to the very front of the airport will cost around £15 in moderate traffic.

The service is also flexible and works both ways, so that those travelling to Gatwick from the capital can pick up a car at any of the London-based charging points and drop it off at the airport.

Car sharing is also growing in popularity in the UK and this new partnership represents another first in Gatwick’s journey to be the UK’s most sustainable airport. Gatwick is accredited as a carbon neutral airport, uses 100% renewable electricity and 44% of passengers currently get to the airport by public transport.

The 24,000 staff on Gatwick’s airport campus and local residents are also being encouraged to use the new electric car sharing service.

Gatwick Airport’s Chief Commercial Officer Guy Stephenson said:

“Gatwick leads the way on airport innovation and this UK airport first not only offers a new, flexible option for getting on and off the airport, it also improves air quality.

“When it comes to electric car sharing schemes, few companies have experienced the success of Bluecity and its parent company. Given the popular demand for similar electric car sharing services in other parts of the world, this new service has the potential to take off in the UK and we are proud to be at the forefront of this transport revolution.”

Bluecity’s Managing Director Christophe Arnaud said:

“We are particularly proud of this milestone agreement with Gatwick Airport and look forward to our collaboration for years to come. We believe this new service is a fantastic solution for travellers. Our cars are powered exclusively with 100% renewable energy making the service the greenest and most affordable transport option to and from Central London.”

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