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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.  

Gatwick

Prolific shoplifter jailed after stealing from Gatwick Airport store

A prolific shoplifter has been jailed for beaching his Criminal Behaviour Order at Gatwick Airport.

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About 2.50am on Friday 12 November, police received a report of a theft at Marks and Spencer, in the North Terminal.

A man had entered the store, which was closed to customers, through a small gap in the shutters. The gap was being used by staff and maintenance workers to carry out refurbishments.

They challenged the man and asked him to leave. As he did so, he grabbed two bottles of rum worth £16.99 each and ran from the store.

He was chased and detained, and identified as Darren Pullen, 52, unemployed, of no fixed address.

The two bottles he stole were recovered, one of which had already been opened and partially consumed.

Enquiries revealed Pullen was subject to a three-year Criminal Behaviour Order imposed by Horsham Magistrates’ Court 24 July due to a history of similar offences.

This prohibits him from entering any premises displaying a Crawley or Gatwick Shopwatch sticker, and entering Gatwick Airport unless as a passenger with proof of a valid ticket.

He was subsequently arrested and charged with burglary and breach of a Criminal Behaviour Order, and remanded in custody to appear before Crawley Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday 12 November.

He pleaded guilty to both offences and was sentenced to a total of 12 weeks’ imprisonment, and ordered to pay £16.99 compensation.

PC Jonny Walker, of the Gatwick Prevention Team, said:

“Pullen has been a thorn in the side of the retail community at Gatwick Airport for several months, and we built a case for the Crown Prosecution Service to consider a Criminal Behaviour Order due to his numerous offences of shoplifting and antisocial behaviour.

“Unfortunately, he has shown a blatant disregard for the order, which is why he now faces a number of weeks in prison.

“We hope this sentence serves as a reminder that this sort of behaviour will not be tolerated at Gatwick Airport – or anywhere else in Sussex for that matter.

“This is a great example of partnership working between Sussex Police, Gatwick Airport and its retailers, who played a key role in reporting offences to bring this case to court.

“We work closely together to prevent and detect crime, and to take action against anyone caught committing offences.”

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