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Gatwick CEO releases an update on Gatwick

After a day where the airport wasn’t able to operate, the CEO has released a statement about the days events.

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Stewart Wingate, Chief Executive Officer, London Gatwick said:

“On behalf of everyone at Gatwick I would like to repeat how sorry we are for the inconvenience this criminal behaviour has caused passengers and we share their real anger and frustration that it has happened. This is a highly targeted activity which has been designed to close the airport and bring maximum disruption in the run up to Christmas. We are working very closely with the police and the security services to try to resolve this for passengers.

“We hope passengers appreciate that we must and will always prioritise their safety over everything else. We are all working flat out to minimise inconvenience and have additional staff in both terminals assisting passengers who are waiting. Regrettably we are still not in a position to say when it will be safe to reopen the airport. As soon as we can we will.

“To recap the facts: We first had reports of two drones flying in and around the airfield at 21:03 last night. As a result, we took immediate steps to close the runway in accordance with our airport safety protocols. We obviously wanted to be in a position to reopen the airport again as quickly as possible. We are still receiving drone sightings in and around the Gatwick airfield. Therefore, until we are confident that the issue has been resolved it would clearly not be in the interests of passengers to do so as we could be jeopardising their safety.

“So regrettably, for the time being, the airport will remain closed as a result of this criminal activity. While some airlines have cancelled all flights up to 7pm tonight, we would encourage all passengers to check the latest information on their flights directly with their airline or on the Gatwick website.

“We are working hard with both the police and Government agencies as we seek to resolve this situation. We know that everyone, including Government, appreciates the severity of the situation and are very grateful for the active role that the police are taking to try and resolve this. We all recognise the urgent need to take the necessary steps that can lead to services getting back to normal as quickly as possible.

“Although not for today, these events obviously highlight a wider strategic challenge for aviation in this country which we need to address together with speed – the aviation industry, Government and all the other relevant authorities. It cannot be right that drones can close a vital part of our national infrastructure in this way. This is obviously a relatively new technology and we need to think through together the right solutions to make sure it cannot happen again.

“In the meantime all our focus is on sorting the current challenge and getting services back to normal for passengers. At the moment, I am not in a position to say with certainty when that might be but everyone is doing whatever they can to help make that happen.”

Business

Businesses show their support for Gatwick’s growth as protesters continue their campaign

With only four days left before the consultation closes, 29 companies and business organisations that together represent over 25,000 companies Sussex, Surrey, Kent and London have come out in support of Gatwick’s plans.

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With only four days left before the consultation closes, 29 companies and business organisations that together represent over 25,000 companies Sussex, Surrey, Kent and London have come out in support of Gatwick’s plans. The open letter to Stewart Wingate, the airport’s CEO, is signed by organisations including Chambers of Commerce, the Federation of Small Business and sector specific associations (full list below).

In the letter the business organisations describe Gatwick as ‘a linchpin of the regional economy and a significant national asset’ that contributes ’over £5bn to UK GDP and supports 85,000 jobs.’  It goes on to say:

As the UK heads into a new chapter, Gatwick will have a vital role to play in fuelling trade, tourism and commerce, and providing links to global markets. When Gatwick thrives and grows, so too does the national and regional economy, so the airport’s growth ambitions deserve our full support.’

Clearly this growth should not be at any cost, and given our businesses and employees are based in the local communities in and around the airport, we fully understand that the impacts of expansion need to be considered and carefully managed.

‘But we believe the strength of Gatwick’s plans lies in their simplicity. By unlocking much-needed new capacity from within the airport’s existing runways and footprint, Gatwick’s growth plans are a low-impact way of delivering significant benefits.’

We are firmly in support of Gatwick’s plans which we believe will play a crucial role in allowing our businesses, our employees and our region to continue to prosper.’

The support from businesses comes one month after 75% of residents surveyed across Sussex, Surrey and Kent said that they also supported Gatwick’s growth plans, with just 14% opposing.

The public consultation on Gatwick’s draft master plan runs until 10 January 2019 and can be accessed here

Stewart Wingate, Chief Executive Officer, Gatwick Airport, said:

“This vote of confidence in our plans for growth is particularly powerful as organisations representing over 25,000 businesses have thrown their weight behind our draft master plan. 

“Businesses know we can’t take the region’s economic growth for granted. By sending this letter they recognise the airport’s vital role in creating local jobs and opportunities, and that growing Gatwick is essential for the future prosperity of our region.

“With only a few days left I would like to encourage as many people as possible to take part in our ongoing consultation to show their support for the airport’s growth plans.”

But protesters like CAGNE (Communities Against Gatwick Noise and Emissions) say the effect of any part of the plan would be highly detrimental for all residents.

In a recent statement they said:

“This master plan simply blights these areas again to the threat of airport expansion beyond 2030. The fact remains that Gatwick was not selected by the Airport Commission due to lack of unemployment in the surrounding counties; lack of connectivity to the rest of the UK and the world; it is predominantly used for European leisure travel.”

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