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Gatwick to see ‘significant’ increase in passengers as flights expected to reach 200 a day over Christmas

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Gatwick Airport is expecting to see a significant increase in passengers travelling over the Christmas period, with up to 200 flights a day forecast to operate to and from the London airport, with top destinations including Dublin, Geneva and Tenerife.

While typically Gatwick would normally see more than 700 flights a day during this time, the increase in demand following the second national lockdown is positive news for the aviation industry over the festive period.

The increase in flights coincides with the Government’s new test to release system, which comes into operation today (15 December) – reducing self-isolation restrictions for those arriving from non-exempt destinations, including the Canary Islands – if they have a negative result from a COVID-19 test after five days. This is in addition to the Government announcement that overall quarantine time has been reduced from 14 to 10 days.

Stewart Wingate, CEO, Gatwick Airport, said:

“We know the demand for international travel is strong, especially as we approach the festive period. It is vital for the recovery of the aviation industry that we make travelling during the pandemic as safe and easy as possible.

“With our airlines increasing flying schedules to meet this demand, we expect to see many more passengers travelling through Gatwick than over the past couple of months and we are doing all we can to offer passengers a greater level of reassurance.

“Passengers are able to book COVID-19 PCR screening at Gatwick or of course use other providers away from the airport if they want to get away this Christmas. In addition, expanding the provision of UV technology across more security lanes in the North Terminal is yet another innovative step we have taken in helping protect passengers at Gatwick Airport.”

Over the coming weeks, easyJet will be operating up to 75 departures a day from Gatwick, while Wizz, TUI, British Airways, Turkish Airlines, Qatar Airways and Aurigny have also resumed operations. WestJet, Ryanair and Vueling continue to offer services, having flown throughout November.

The return of these airlines will enable passengers to travel to popular short and long-haul destinations. The top five short-haul destinations for Christmas travel are expected to be Dublin, Tenerife, Geneva, Barcelona, and Fuerteventura, with St Lucia, Antigua, and Barbados being the most popular long-haul destinations.

Gatwick has also invested in expanding its successful UV light treatment of security trays, helping to protect passengers as demand for travel heightens over the coming weeks.

Following the successful launch of the initiative in September, when Gatwick became the first UK airport to treat security trays with enough UV light energy to guarantee a 99.9% microbe disinfection rate, additional security lanes in Gatwick’s North Terminal have now been fitted with the technology.

The expansion of the system, provided by Smiths Detection, ensures all passengers can travel in the reassurance of Covid-free security trays – a ‘high-touch’ surface area –  with laboratory testing demonstrating the UV light energy reduces the spread of coronaviruses such as COVID-19 and SARS.

Gatwick and other airports have already deployed other anti-viral systems, such as coatings sprayed on to trays, however this protection dissipates over time whereas this new system treats every tray just before use – ensuring maximum protection and a reduced risk of passing on infection.

There are a few on campus, pre-departure COVID-19 screening solutions available at Gatwick including a subsidised, fast and accurate lab-analysed PCR swab test, as well as the ‘Test and Rest’ packages at Gatwick’s on-site hotels. Early booking is advisable as capacity is filling up fast and tests are allocated on a first come, first served basis. A list of all testing options for passengers can be found on Gatwick’s website.

On the UV treatment of security trays, Samantha Williams, Chair, Passenger Advisory Group, said:

“The Passenger Advisory Group welcomes this positive use of innovation and technology, to both protect and reassure passengers as they travel through Gatwick and importantly to help in building back passenger confidence in travel.”

Gatwick

More good news for Gatwick as SunExpress to launch non-stop flights to Antalya (that’s in Turkey if you didn’t know)

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More good news for Gatwick as SunExpress is expanding its UK operations, announcing the launch of a new route between Gatwick Airport and Antalya from March 2021.

For the Turkish-German airline – a joint venture between Lufthansa and Turkish Airlines – the market has been an important part of the route network for several years with flights from London-Luton mainly catering for visiting friends and relatives.

Now the airline extends its offer for British holidaymakers. Starting on 28 March 2021, SunExpress will launch three weekly flights between London Gatwick and Antalya, offering passengers an ideal destination for the Easter holiday period. From 28 May, this route will be served daily.

On 26 March, SunExpress is also set to launch another new flight from Manchester to Antalya. The route will be served twice per week before passengers will have a choice of four weekly connections starting 30 May.

“After a year of staying at home, the people of Britain deserve a sunny holiday”, said Peter Glade, CCO of SunExpress. “Our new services to Antalya will allow the British people to arrive at their well-deserved holiday destination, in a fast and relaxed manner, and for a competitive price, experiencing our unique SunExpress service.”

Stephen King, Head of Airline Relations, Gatwick Airport said:

“We are delighted to welcome SunExpress to Gatwick from March. Antalya has been an increasingly popular destination in recent years, with an average temperature of more than 20 degrees between May and October making it a great Mediterranean getaway.

“The addition of SunExpress’ three weekly flights from Gatwick in March – increasing to daily flights from May – is excellent news for passengers looking to book an Easter or summer break and will also offer passengers across London and the South East even greater choice when planning holidays.

“Despite the turbulent time the aviation industry has suffered this year, slots at Gatwick remain in high demand, so it is positive news to be able to welcome SunExpress to the airport.” The new routes from Gatwick and Manchester are already available for bookings through tour operators, travel agencies as well as www.sunexpress.com

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