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Gatwick celebrates new ownership with promise to “put passengers at heart”

London Gatwick today announced a new chapter in its ownership as VINCI Airports completed the purchase of a 50.01% stake in the airport.

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L-R - Michael McGhee, Steweart Wingate and Nicolas Notebaert

Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP) will continue to manage the remaining 49.99% interest in Gatwick. The new partnership promises continued investment to put passengers at the heart of Gatwick’s future plans.

VINCI Airports, the world’s leading private airport operator, will bring its expertise to Gatwick including a strong focus on quality of service and programme management. Now part of a global network of 46 airports in 12 countries, Gatwick teams will have access to broader opportunities particularly in international career development and in-house training. As the world’s most efficient single runway airport, Gatwick will also share best practice with VINCI Airports as the company continues to pursue its operational improvement strategy.

The completion of the transaction is the ideal opportunity for Gatwick’s shareholders to express their shared vision for the future of the airport and to announce the evolution of Gatwick’s governance based on continuity. Sir David Higgins, Stewart Wingate and Nick Dunn will remain respectively Chairman, CEO and CFO of the airport, and will be joined by Cédric Laurier, from VINCI Airports, as CTO (Chief Technical Officer).

The airport’s ambitious plans for the future remain, with a further £1.1 billion Capital Investment Programme (CIP) set to deliver a range of passenger improvements by 2023.

Nicolas Notebaert, CEO of VINCI Concessions and President of VINCI Airports, said:

“This partnership marks the beginning of a very exciting future for London Gatwick and VINCI Airports. Applying our joint skills will add significant value to both VINCI Airports and London Gatwick Airport and benefit all our stakeholders, notably airlines and passengers. Combining our expertise will further improve our operational excellence and sustain our shared vision of putting passengers’ satisfaction at the heart of everything we do.”

Sir David Higgins, Chairman, Gatwick, said:

“Today’s announcement marks an exciting new era for Gatwick, its airlines and passengers. We welcome VINCI Airports to Gatwick and are grateful for this strong vote of confidence in Gatwick and the UK.”

Stewart Wingate, Chief Executive Officer, Gatwick, said:

“Today is the start of a new chapter for Gatwick, with new owners and further investment enabling the airport to continue on its successful journey. The management team and I will remain focused on delivering exceptional service to our passengers and to developing longer-term plans to grow our airport.”

Michael McGhee, GIP Partner, said:

“The GIP-VINCI partnership is focused on continuing the transformation of the airport. VINCI’s global airport expertise, coupled with GIP’s intimate knowledge of Gatwick and the UK market, offer a unique and complementary world-class airport capability to carry on delivering exceptional performance.” 

The California Public Employees’ Retirement System (“CalPERS”), as part of the 49.99% interest managed by GIP, will retain a 9.99% stake in Gatwick.

Paul Mouchakkaa, Managing Investment Director – Real Assets, CalPERS, said: “CalPERS is excited to be a part of this new chapter of Gatwick’s future.”

Since December 2009, Gatwick has grown passenger numbers from 32 million to more than 46 million in 2019, while maintaining very high passenger satisfaction scores. In December 2018, Gatwick’s Quality of Service Monitor (QSM) score was 4.29 out of 5.0 – a ten-year high.

Throughout this time, the airport has focused on delivering on its mission to be the UK’s most sustainable airport through its Decade of Change programme. Highlights include achieving a Zero Waste to Landfill accreditation from the Carbon Trust, as well as becoming a carbon neutral airport.

Gatwick has also achieved much success in growing its long haul network, with over 60 long haul routes now available across Asia, North and South America and beyond. Gatwick flies to more destinations than any other UK airport. Recent route launches include Shanghai, Rio De Janeiro and San Francisco.

This has been supported by strong levels of investment in airport facilities, with more than £2 billion spent on improving Gatwick since 2009 including the world’s largest self-service bag drop in North Terminal, a brand-new Pier 1 and a state-of-the-art security area in both terminals, through which 95% of passengers pass through in less than five minutes.

The airport also continues to look to the future and recently consulted on its Draft Master Plan for the next 15 years, looking at how Gatwick could make best use of its existing infrastructure and, notably, its existing standby runway. The final master plan is due to be published later this year.

Gatwick

Gatwick Airport Station could double in size as £150m upgrade announced

Tens of millions of rail passengers travelling to and from Gatwick Airport will benefit from improved accessibility and swifter journeys, after the Department for Transport (DfT) announced a £150 million scheme to upgrade the station.

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The renovation will reduce train delays caused by platform overcrowding and congestion, while also improving passenger experience by providing easier connections to other destinations.

Planned upgrades will include doubling the size of the station concourse, adding five new lifts and eight escalators to improve passenger flow, and widening two platforms to reduce overcrowding.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said:

“With 46m people now using Gatwick Airport every year and 20m coming by train, it is vital that we make the station more accessible and customer friendly for those travelling through it. The UK’s second largest airport has direct rail links to more than 120 destinations and is an important public transport hub.

“We want to see Gatwick Airport’s success continue to flourish and ensure that it is ready for even more passengers in the future. Through this £150 million investment, we will deliver vital upgrades to boost the station’s capacity and provide better, seamless journeys for all.”

Stewart Wingate, Chief Executive Officer, Gatwick Airport said:

“Gatwick has been transformed in recent years and the redesigned train station will take the airport’s redevelopment to the next level by providing a seamless transition between the airport and the station, more lifts, escalators and a doubling in the size of the concourse.

“The new station will complement the huge improvements to rail services at the airport, which include new fleets of Gatwick Express and Thameslink trains and services that now leave the airport for London every three minutes – as frequently as services on the tube.

“The project is a fantastic example of the public and private sector working together to deliver a world-class transport hub that will comfortably manage the expected growth in air passengers and also encourage people to switch to rail as part of our push to get more people to travel to the airport by public transport.” 

The number of people using Gatwick Airport station each year has grown by six million since 2010. Currently the station is not designed for the high volume of daily passengers, often carrying bulky luggage.

The renovation will be managed by Network Rail, in partnership with DfT. Gatwick Airport Ltd and Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership are co-funding the project with £37m and £10m respectively.

Paul Harwood, Director of Investment for Network Rail, said:

“The transformational enhancement to Gatwick Airport station will provide passengers with a much smoother and more pleasant experience and also reduce train delays.

“Along with the recent improvements on the Brighton Main Line and our record £4.3 billion funding settlement for maintaining, operating and renewing the railway over the next five years, this investment is excellent news for passengers, businesses and the economy.”

Patrick Verwer, Chief Executive Officer of Govia Thameslink Railway, said:

“This much-needed scheme will deliver real benefits for passengers thanks to enhanced platforms, new lifts and a larger concourse. At such a busy station these upgraded facilities will significantly contribute to the smooth running of our services for travellers getting to and from the airport.”

Jonathan Sharrock, Chief Executive at Coast to Capital said:  

“If our economy is to grow, we need a transport network that supports faster, more reliable, and less polluting journeys for business, leisure and freight travel. Gatwick airport is an international destination and its station is a gateway to London and the wider Coast to Capital area.

“This plan will greatly improve the interchange for commuters, visitors and business which will support the sustainable growth of the area with Gatwick airport at its heart.

“We are delighted to have contributed £10 million and look forward to working with partners to deliver a better experience for passengers.”

The improvement works will start in Spring 2020 and will take around two years to complete. The works will be sequenced to ensure minimum disruption.

The government is investing a record £48bn to modernise the country’s rail network and deliver significant improvements in performance, punctuality and capacity.

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