Latest GATCOM News - July 2019

  •  Boeing considers shutting down 737 Max production - Travelmole 25.07.19

Boeing is seriously considering suspending production of the 737 Max if it isn't cleared to fly again soon. As the aircraft manufacturer revealed it had made a second quarter loss of nearly $3 billion, down 35% year on year, CEO Dennis Muilenburg said a temporary shutdown of Max production was on the cards. "Should our estimate of the anticipated return to service change, we might need to consider possible further rate reductions or other options," he said.  The 737 Max has been grounded since March after two crashes in less than six months killed 346 people. Muilenburg said the company is still producing up to 42 Max jets a month, down from 52 a month prior to the two crashes, but these are lying idle and cannot be delivered until the plane is cleared to fly again. Read More

  • Heathrow Hub granted appeal- Buying Business Travel 23.07.19

Heathrow Hub, an independent proposal for expanding Heathrow airport, has been granted permission to appeal the High Court Judgement that rejected a legal review of the government's decision to build a third runway at the airport. The decision grants Heathrow Hub, which put forward plans to grow the airport by extending the existing northern runway, the right to take the case to the Court of Appeal. Proceedings are due to start on 21 October. According to the group, the Court of Appeal noted the "considerable importance of the issue raised" as it handed down its decision. Jock Lowe, director at Heathrow Hub, said: "We are delighted to have been granted permission to appeal. We didn't agree with the previous judgement handed down on 1 May, which was legally flawed, at odds with the evidence the court itself heard and gave us strong grounds to appeal. Read More

  • Government considering automatic air ticket 'carbon charge' - Travelweekly 22.07.19

A 'carbon charge' could be added automatically to the price of airline tickets under government plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Measures are reportedly being considered by ministers that would require all carriers to introduce carbon offsetting payments at the point of ticket sale, The Times reported. Payments would be voluntary but could work on an "opt-out" system. Similar measures could also be applied to trains, buses and ferries. A flight between London and New York could increase by almost £30, falling to half that when travelling with the most fuel-efficient airlines. A journey between London and Madrid could rise by an estimated £5. Read More

  • Grant Shapps is new transport secretary - New Civil Engineer 25.07.19

Shapps, a former Conservative Party chairman and current MP for Welwyn Hatfield, is chair of the British Infrastructure Group of Parliamentarians (BIG). The group has produced various reports on infrastructure projects, including one in 2016 saying the government must select a new airport hub as a matter of urgency. Shapps is also chair of the General Aviation All-Party Parliamentary Group. He has previously voted in favour of High Speed 2 (HS2). He tweeted he was "delighted and honoured" to take up the post. Railway Industry Association (RIA) chief executive Darren Caplan said: "At a time when the Network Rail devolution plan and Williams Rail Review will likely see a radical restructure of the railways, with the rail supply sector's continuing concerns about 'boom and bust' in rail investment, affecting both infrastructure and rolling stock, and a lack of visibility of planned enhancement work. Read More

  • British Airways loses High Court bid to block pilot strike - Travelweekly 23.07.19

The High Court has rejected an application by British Airways to seek an injunction against pilots' union Balpa to stop strike action. The airline said it was "disappointed" by the decision announced yesterday and would be taking the case to the Court of Appeal. The court heard that the impact of the strike would result in "very grave disruption" costing the carrier up to £40 million a day with up to 145,000 passengers a day possibly affected.BA pilots voted overwhelmingly in favour of strike action this summer on a 90% turnout. Pilots have rejected a pay rise worth 11.5% over three years, described by the airline as "fair and generous". Read More


  • New arrivals route at Gatwick terminal means no more bus transfers for Channel Island passengers - ITV 23.07.19

Passengers who fly to Gatwick's South terminal will no longer have to be transferred by bus from the plane to the terminal. The airport is officially opening its new £24m route at the terminal for domestic arrivals. There have been several trials of the new entrance and a Gatwick spokesperson says it should make things easier for passengers. It should be a much smoother and faster way for passengers to make their way through arrivals - Camilla Wrey, Gatwick Spokesperson. Under aviation rules, international and domestic passengers have to be kept separate, which is why a bus had to be used to ferry passengers to the terminal. This also meant passengers could not go through the usual baggage area but the new route at the terminal has its own baggage belt for domestic flyers.

  • Baggage delays at Gatwick - ITV 20.07.19

Passengers on 10 flights were left waiting for their bags to be returned in the early hours of this morning. Water was handed out to those who were waiting. A spokesman for Gatwick Airport said: "Unfortunately ten flights at Gatwick had to wait two hours on average for their baggage to be returned, due to shortage of staff at Menzies, a baggage handling provider contracted by some of our airlines. "We would like to apologise for the disappointing and unacceptable wait that these passengers experienced this morning." 


  • Heathrow staff suspend strikes this week - Travelmole 24.07.19

Strikes by more than 4,000 workers at London Heathrow, due to take place later this week, have been called off. Unite the union said the walk-outs, planned for Friday July 26 and Saturday July 27, have been suspended while the workforce votes on a new pay offer. Unite said it would not be revealing the details of the offer until its members involved in the ongoing pay dispute have had an opportunity to consider and vote on the new package. It said strikes planned for August 5-6 and 23-24 remained on the table until the result of the ballot was known. It declined to comment further until the ballot result is declared.

  • BA 'most likely' to disappoint customers with complaint handling - Travelweekly 26.07.19

British Airways has been accused of being the airline most likely to leave passengers disappointed when they complain about problems with delays and cancellations. A survey by Which? collected details of more than 2,500 experiences from passengers who suffered delays and cancellations - finding out how they rated their airline's immediate response and handling of any subsequent complaints or claims. Travellers said there were no staff at all available to help them in 44% of cases - and even when airline employees could be found they were not helpful in one in five cases (20%). Read More

  • Heathrow slots auction call - BTNews 22.07.19

Additional take-off and landing slots released by the opening of Heathrow's proposed third runway should be auctioned, says the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). The move would benefit passengers, business and the economy, it adds. The UK's competition watchdog says: "Giving more airlines the chance to offer flights by reforming how slots are allocated could lead to passengers having a greater choice of airlines when they fly." In a response to the Department for Transport's (DfT) Green Paper 'Aviation 2015 - the future of UK aviation', it adds the move could lead to lower fares, better service and better value, a matter of "particular significance" when new capacity is released. Read More

  • HS2 costs escalate- BTNews 22.07.19

The chairman of the High Speed 2 rail project has reportedly warned that its cost could rise by £30bn. According to the Financial Times HS2 chairman Allan Cook has written to the Department for Transport saying the high-speed line cannot be delivered within its £56bn budget. The line will connect London, the Midlands and northern England using trains capable of travelling at 250mph. "The chairman of HS2 Ltd is conducting detailed work into the costs and schedule of the project to ensure it delivers benefits to passengers, the economy and represents value for money for the taxpayer," the DfT said in a statement. An HS2 spokesperson said: "We don't comment on leaks or speculation. "We have previously noted that our chair, as you would expect, continues to scrutinise the programme, and regularly reports back to the Department [for Transport].Read More

  • Is it safe to use airport wifi? - The Times 20.07.19

From sharing poolside pictures to keeping up with the latest gossip back home, many holidaymakers can't resist the urge to stay connected while abroad. Here is how you can ensure that your data is secure while you browse the internet on your summer holiday. Most airports offer wifi, but the type of connection can vary depending on where you fly from. Research by Protect Your Bubble, an insurance provider, shows that, although most big international airports have free wifi, only eight UK airports offer free unlimited internet. These are Aberdeen, Birmingham, Bournemouth, Exeter, Heathrow, Leeds Bradford, Newcastle and Southend. Other airports offer limited free periods, with Durham Tees providing 30 minutes, Glasgow 60 minutes, Gatwick 90 minutes and Stansted four hours. Read More

  • Will voluntary offset schemes really help curb aviation emissions?- Business Green 23.07.19

Consumers booking flight tickets could soon be paying extra to offset their emissions, according to news last week that the government is considering requiring all airlines to offer a voluntary carbon tax on flight tickets. In a new Call for Evidence released last Thursday the Department for Transport said it is considering both an 'opt-out' scheme, where carbon offset costs are applied automatically but passengers can choose not to pay them, and 'opt-in' schemes, where customers on all journeys could actively choose whether to pay extra for offsetting. The idea extends beyond just flights, with the government positing that the same approach could even be rolled out across the cruise, bus, and rail transport industries.Read More

  • Stronger regulation of powerful airports needed to protect consumers - International Airport Review 16.07.19

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has welcomed the European Commission's evaluation of the Airport Charges Directive (ACD) which highlights the need to further strengthen the Directive to protect consumers. Nearly 60 per cent of passengers in Europe pass through just 25 airports. Many airports are able to charge prices that would otherwise not be achieved in a competitive market. The Commission's evaluation confirms that further provisions are required to establish a common framework to regulate airport charges at EU airports. The report concludes that the existing Directive has had a positive impact on the airport charges setting process, but that there is a clear case for further strengthening it to fully achieve its objectives. Read More

GAL Press Releases Events & Updates

Q1 Passenger Figures: Robust start to financial year as Gatwick celebrates growth


  • 12.5m passengers travelled through Gatwick Q1 April - June 2019
  • Total passenger numbers +1.7% year-on-year, with long-haul +2.2%
  • Responding to passenger demand Qatar Airways adds five new weekly flights to Doha

London Gatwick has achieved its busiest-ever start to a financial year, as passenger numbers grew by +1.7% in Q1, compared to 2018, as 12.5 million passengers travelled through in the first three months of the 2019 - 2020 financial year.

Long-haul growth was also strong in Q1, up +2.2%. North Atlantic routes drove this busiest-ever start to a calendar year with Tampa +58%, Winnipeg +29%, Calgary +28%, New York +28% and Orlando +15%. While further afield passengers to Doha increased +190%, Colombo +151% and Buenos Aires +58%.

Responding to the passenger demand for flights to Doha, and beyond, Qatar Airways increased flight frequency from Gatwick, in June, with the carrier now flying three times daily up from 16 flights weekly. This follows the airline celebrating its first anniversary of flying from Gatwick in May.

During Q1, Gatwick welcomed more passengers than ever before during the Easter holidays up + 2.5% compared to Easter 2018. European sun featured most prominently among the fastest growing Easter destinations with Bilbao +119.4%, Bodrum +112.9%, Budapest +105.8%, Mahon +86.3% and Vienna +73%.

Stewart Wingate, Chief Executive Officer, Gatwick Airport said:

"Gatwick is achieving robust growth in this Spring / Summer period where airport capacity is already well utilised and I'm proud even in these already busy Spring / Summer months we have been able to achieve yet further growth. Right across all airline types, carriers are starting new routes and increasing flight frequencies.

"We have published the final version of Gatwick's masterplan, outlining potential options for future growth enabling the airport to make more of the world's most exciting destinations accessible to more people than ever before while boosting trade and tourism opportunities locally and nationally."

Three local businesses win Gatwick's international trade fair competition


  • Competition designed to help local SMEs to grow internationally
  • Small businesses from Crawley, Horley and Croydon being flown to trade fairs in Las Vegas, Shanghai and Amsterdam
  • Winners also receiving support from the Department of International Trade

Small businesses from Crawley, Horley and Croydon have won the opportunity to attend international trade shows - in Las Vegas, Shanghai and Amsterdam - after winning a competition held by Gatwick Airport, in partnership with the Department for International Trade.

The three winners are;

  • Kikka Digga - a Sussex-based firm that manufactures an innovative labour-saving attachment that takes the hard work out of digging by attaching a clever foot plate lever system to the shaft of existing spades or forks - removing the need for bending or lifting. Attending the National Hardware Show in Las Vegas.
  • United Minibuses and Coaches Limited - an award-winning Horley-based business that is revolutionising the UK coach and minibus industry by being the first to offer 'Uber-style' instant pricing and booking technology which - among other services - has been used by airlines to bus passengers following flight delays and cancellations. Attending the Technology Entrepreneurship trade fair in Shanghai
  • Shaking Hands - is a Croydon born business partnership shaking up the business to business networking scene. Through a comprehensive online platform showcasing local events, businesses, categorised news and more; off-the wall in person networking events and ongoing digital support - Businesses based both in and out of Croydon become better connected to relevant contacts, share expertise, minimise overheads &/or optimise the smooth-running of their business. Attending the GreenTech trade fair in Amsterdam.

The competition is designed to help local SMEs grow internationally and was launched in recognition of the role the airport plays generating international trade - with £7.5 billion of international goods passing through in trade shown to support 113,800 UK jobs - many of them based locally.

Businesses in the Gatwick Diamond area are 50% more likely to export than those in other parts of the UK, and the competition winners will be helped to take advantage of a range of international trade opportunities after receiving £2,000 from Gatwick toward flights, hotels and trade show entry costs for their chosen international trade exhibition. 

The partnership with Department for International Trade means that the winners will also receive a range of support including information on international business opportunities and one-on-one meetings with experienced International Trade Advisers (ITAs).  

Tim Norwood, Corporate Affairs, Planning and Sustainability Director, Gatwick Airport said; "Gatwick helps to drive the region's economy through its supply chains and by enabling trade and business investment through the global connections it offers. We recognise however that small businesses are also vital for our local economy and face a range of challenges. By helping the winning firms attend international trade fairs, we hope they will discover new opportunities that can help them develop and grow. 

"We are grateful for the Department of International Trade for the support and expertise that they will provide each business before they depart.

Ben Raby, Head of Region - South East at the department of International Trade, said:

"We are proud to be partnering with Gatwick on such a great initiative, allowing us to help these innovative businesses to explore new international markets and inspire other companies in the Gatwick Diamond area to consider exporting.

"It is the ideal time for businesses in the region to start thinking globally as recent HMRC statistics show that goods exports from the South East totalled £47.6 billion for the year ending March 2019 - a 4.8% increase on the previous year.

"Our International Trade Advisers will be on hand to help navigate the whole exporting process and provide the businesses with support and tailored advice.

"Congratulations to the winners, and I look forward to seeing how this initiative translates into real export opportunities and future global success for these companies."

Kikka Digga company founder, Nick Skaliotis, said: "We manufacture in Sussex and attending the trade show will help springboard Kikka Digga as a British brand to the world. This trip will help Kikka Digga obtain the exposure it requires to boost and educate the world about this product's proven ergonomic benefits."

Mumtaz Rasool, Managing Director, United Minibuses and Coaches Limited, said: "We plan to use our trip to the Technology Entrepreneurship trade fair in Singapore to let suppliers and customers around the world know about our live pricing and tracking technology, which is revolutionary to the UK coach and minibus industry. With our business premises near to Gatwick, we are well placed to help meet international visitors as they arrive and make sure they make the most of their visit to the UK."

Robert O'Sullivan, Director, Shaking Hands, said: "It's our business to broker introductions and provide innovative, engaging & exciting environments to network; creating opportunities for our business community in and around Croydon to meet, mix and thrive. It's vitally important for Shaking Hands to constantly meet fresh, new, innovative companies, no matter what their industry or location. Visiting the Greentech trade fair is a fantastic opportunity for us to seek new links for the numerous Croydon supply chains that we are involved in as well as keeping up with the latest industry trends, innovations and automations."

Businesses looking for support should call 0330 300 0012 or email info@tradesoutheast.com. They can also visit great.gov.uk which has information on live export opportunities and includes general information on exporting and events.  


Related news

GDBA 2024 image