In light of rising travel demand, London Gatwick airport (LGW) has announced plans to reopen its South Terminal after nearly two years of not using it.
The UK’s second largest airport, operated by VINCI Airports, closed the South Terminal on June 15, 2020, to save costs after the COVID-19 pandemic decimated air travel. Now it will reopen on March 27, 2022, joining operations at the North Terminal.
The reopening comes after some of the airport’s big airlines, including British Airways, easyJet and Wizz, announced plans to restart or expand operations from LGW.
Several European airlines have raised hopes for a busy summer, after the Omicron wave of COVID-19 was not as severe as initially feared.
The news comes as school half-term vacations get underway in Britain. The government has also removed requirements for vaccinated travelers to take pre-departure and arrival tests, helping to boost travel demand.
“Following some major announcements from our airlines about significantly increased flying schedules, and from Government on removing travel restrictions and airport slot regulations, we can now look forward to once again operating a busy Gatwick this summer and beyond,” Gatwick chief executive Stewart Wingate commented in a press release on February 11, 2022.
Airlines departing from LGW’s South Terminal include British Airways, Vueling, Wizz, Ryanair, Norwegian, Turkish Airlines, TAP, Eastern Airways, Aurigny, Aer Lingus, Air Baltic, Air Malta, Air Europa and Enter Air. easyJet will operate from both terminals.
Rival London airport Stansted (STN) said on February 7, 2022, that it was expecting its busiest weekend of 2022 so far, with 90,000 passengers set to depart from February 11-13, 2022. Just 2,000 passengers departed on the same weekend in 2021.
Gatwick also said it and the companies that operate at the airport were on a recruitment drive for staff as operations ramp up. The company said over 2000 jobs were available, including for security officers, IT specialists, engineers, shop and restaurant workers, ground and cargo handlers and cabin crew.
Stansted is also stepping up recruitment in anticipation of a busy summer, having held a jobs fair on February 9, 2022.