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Gatwick launches their 2019 Summer Festival for their 15 million passengers

The 15.3 million passengers due to travel through London Gatwick this summer will enjoy live entertainment, special edition retail products, and shopping voucher giveaways, as the airport has today launched its Summer Festival for 2019.

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The event will take over Gatwick’s North and South terminals, which have both been adorned with festival-themed branding and decorations, until 30 September. With 12.1% more children travelling through Gatwick during August compared with November, the airport’s Summer Festival has adopted a clear family focus.

WHSmith Gatwick will bring some of the world’s most recognisable children’s literature characters to the terminal for the event. Peter Rabbit and Mog the Cat are just two of the many beloved characters that passengers will meet at exclusive book readings in the airport’s kids zones throughout the summer.

Plus, a Trinidadian steel band and interactive street theatre group will be swapping Glastonbury for Gatwick and joining a diverse line-up of family entertainers performing live in the airport’s terminals during the festival. In its biggest free giveaway ever, Gatwick is also gifting £10,000 worth of vouchers, as well as 3,000 beach balls, to passengers as they head off on their summer breaks.

To celebrate the launch of the Summer Festival, now in its second year, Gatwick’s World Duty Free stores are offering two brand new flavours of Edinburgh Gin – Rhubarb & Ginger and Watermelon & Lime, the latter of which is exclusive to World Duty Free and unavailable to buy anywhere else.

The airport has also collaborated with two local suppliers, the Westerham Brewery Company and Fudge Kitchen, both based in nearby Kent, to offer bespoke products for Gatwick passengers during the Summer Festival. It will be the only airport in the world to stock Westerham’s zesty extra pale ale – brewed just 12 miles from the airport – and Fudge Kitchen’s sweet treats.

With holiday season now in full swing at Gatwick, the airport’s top long-haul destinations for the summer are Orlando, Dubai and New York – while Doha and Buenos Aires are among the destinations with the highest year-on-year growth, up +38% and +31% respectively.

Rachel Bulford, Head of Retail, Gatwick Airport said:

“Last year’s inaugural Summer Festival was a big success for Gatwick so we’re delighted to launch this airport-wide celebration once again and put families right at the heart of the action.

“It’s great that our retail partners have joined us in getting into the festival spirit, with WHSmith bringing our younger passengers’ literary heroes to the airport, and World Duty Free offering some fantastic Gatwick exclusives across drinks, beauty and fashion. As an airport which values strong relationships with our local community, it’s particularly exciting for us to be partnering with two local suppliers from Kent to bring their delicious products to millions of Gatwick passengers from across the globe.”

Davene Stirling, Commercial Director, World Duty Free said:

“Summer has officially begun with World Duty Free at Gatwick and we’re delighted to be staging our second Summer Festival campaign. Our aim is to provide passengers with unique and memorable experiences when they visit our stores. The Summer Festival provides the perfect platform to showcase new and exclusive products for summer that will appeal to the Gatwick Airport customer and we’re confident that this year’s event will be another great success.”

Gatwick

Gatwick trials boarding aircraft by window seats first

London Gatwick is trialling a new boarding technique in a bid to avoid queues and congestion at gates.

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During the two-month trial, large digital screens and staff will be placed at Gate 101 to show passengers the order to board.  A range of sequences will be trialled to test whether they make the process faster, more relaxing and, potentially, reduce the need for large numbers of passengers to rush forward at any stage.

Possible sequences include seating people from the back row to the front with window seats first, middle seats next and aisle seats last.

Passengers who have booked priority boarding – or those who require special assistance or are travelling with young families – will still board first during the trial.

Modelling indicates that these techniques may be able to reduce boarding times by up to 10%, compared to conventional methods.

Learnings from the trial, as well as feedback from passengers, will be used to decide whether to take this concept forward or not.

Abhi Chacko, Head of Enabling Technologies and Digital Innovation, Gatwick Airport said:

“We want to explore whether boarding by seat number will avoid queues in the gate room and when boarding the aircraft.

“Early indications are that this new technique has the potential to reduce the overall boarding time.  By communicating to passengers better and boarding passengers by seat number, we also expect to make the whole boarding experience more relaxing and, potentially, prevent large numbers of passenger rushing forward at any stage.”

London Gatwick and VINCI Airports have been early technology innovators for many years. The use of technology to improve operations leads to further ongoing success, particularly true given London Gatwick’s role as a gateway, and as its traffic volumes are predicted to continue to rise.  Following its acquisition earlier this year, London Gatwick has become one of three VINCI Airports Innovation Centres of Excellence.  

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