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Gatwick wins prestigious award for helping remove barriers faced by passengers with a disability

Gatwick says it is delighted to have won ACI Europe’s Accessible Airport Award for its progress in helping to remove barriers that people with disabilities and reduced mobility face when travelling by air.



The Airport Council International Europe is the professional body representing European airports and last night’s award was presented in association with the European Disability Forum – an umbrella organisation that defends the interests of over 80 million Europeans with disabilities.

The award – presented at the ACI Europe’s Annual Congress in Cyprus – was recognition for Gatwick’s drive to improve its services for passengers with a disability, including:

  • Training all frontline staff to recognise and offer appropriate help to passengers with hidden disabilities such as autism and dementia
  • Opening an ‘airline-style lounge’ specifically for passengers with reduced mobility
  • Investing in the UK’s first airport sensory room
  • Initiating what became a UK-wide hidden disability lanyard scheme, which acts as a discreet signal that a passenger may need a little extra help or time

The award was also presented in recognition of Gatwick’s contribution to encouraging other airports to introduce similar schemes and initiatives.

Chris Woodroofe, Chief Operating Officer, Gatwick Airport, said:

“Our objective is to give every passenger, regardless of any physical or hidden disability, an equal opportunity to fly.

“This award recognises the significant investment the airport has made into improving our infrastructure, facilities and training. More than anything however this award is for our staff and the way they provide world class assistance to passengers who may require a little extra help when travelling through the airport.”

Making sustainable air travel possible – net zero CO2 emissions by 2050 and a 60% reduction by 2030

At the Annual Congress, VINCI Airports – including Gatwick Airport – also ratified ACI Europe’s commitment to achieve net zero CO2 emissions (i.e. without the use of offset) by 2050.

The commitment falls within the drive to improve environmental performance already initiated by VINCI Airports with its AirPact strategy, which was launched in 2015 across all 46 of the airports in its global network. This integrated strategy is the first of its kind in the airport industry and has already enabled VINCI Airports to reduce its carbon footprint by 20%[i] over the last four years notably by installing solar panels and progressively replacing lighting systems with LED solutions.

Nicolas Notebaert, Chief Executive Officer of VINCI Concessions and Chairman of VINCI Airports, said: 

“For us at VINCI Airports, leadership means setting an example. As the world’s leading private airport operator, we consider it is our role to drive change in our industry. And that is what we are doing, proving it is possible to serve an ever-increasing number of passengers in our airports while also improving our environmental performance and quality of service. At a time when people are more than ever on the move, we are paving the way to positive mobility by developing airport models that are more sustainable, more innovative and more inclusive. This is a key step to take to help aviation as a whole to continue to play its part as a strong catalyst of development worldwide.

[i] Emissions have fallen from 1.11 kg of CO2 equivalent per unit of traffic in 2014 to 0.9 kg of CO2 equivalent per unit of traffic in 2018.


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.



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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