GATCOM Weekly Newsletter - February 2020 (1)


CAA Draft Decision for comment - Departure Route 4

The CAA is inviting comment on the draft report's findings. The objective of this is ensure that the CAA has not missed, misunderstood or misinterpreted any relevant matters. The deadline for comments is 3 February 2020.

Regulation 19 Consultation on the Crawley 2035 Submission draft Local Plan

Crawley Borough Council sets out the Council's vision for the development of Crawley from 2020-2035, including strategic planning policies and principles which will shape the future of the town and will be used in the consideration of planning applications, including policies for Gatwick. The draft Local Plan is being made available for representations over a 6 week statutory consultation period closing on 2 March 2020. Click here to see consultation web pages.

CAA Consultation - Airspace classification review 2019-2020

The CAA would like help to identify volumes of controlled airspace in which the classification could be amended to better reflect the needs of all airspace users on an equitable basis. Submissions by 3 March 2020 via the website. Click here for supporting documents and Survey.

CAA Consultation - CAP1875: Minimum Requirements For Noise Modelling

The CAA has launched a consultation on minimum requirements for noise modelling. The CAA believes it is appropriate to specify the minimum acceptable level of sophistication of noise modelling required for the CAA to carry out its duties, to provide clarity to sponsors and stakeholders about the methodology that should be used and therefore reduce ambiguity, and to provide consistency across different groups of airports. The deadline for responses to the CAA's consultation is 4 March 2020. Click here to see consultation.


  • New powers for the police to enforce drone laws - Gov.uk 27.01.20

The police will have the power to land, inspect and seize an unmanned aircraft thanks to new legislation. New stop and search powers around airports and prisons will help tackle illegal drone use, and those breaking the law could face on the spot fines. Drone users will still be able to obtain permission to fly drones for purposes such as photography and surveying. Read more

  • WHO declares coronavirus a global health emergency - Travel Mole 30.01.20

The World Health Organisation has declared the coronavirus outbreak an international public health emergency. It has now been confirmed that two people in the UK have the virus. The chief medical officer for England said they are members of the same family and are receiving specialist NHS care. Read more

  • Coronavirus update: Latest updates - Travel Weekly 30.01.20

Regularly updated page showing the latest airline updates on services affected by the coronavirus, including British Airways is extending the cancellation of flights to mainland China until the end of February. View page

Virgin Atlantic joins BA by suspending mainland China flights - Travel Weekly 31.01.20


  • Gatwick and Heathrow face strike threats - BBT 23.01.20

Workers at Gatwick and Heathrow airports are threatening strike action in disputes over pay, according to the Unite union. Read more

  • 'I walked through the Wuhan fish market every day and have not been tested for the coronavirus', says British teacher - Telegraph 26.01.20

When David Marland stepped off the plane at Gatwick Airport last week, he knew he had to call the doctor. Mr Marland lives only five minutes from the seafood market suspected to be the source of the virus, and walks through it nearly every day. Indeed a coronavirus case was recently confirmed in his apartment block. But when he called the NHS 111 helpline, as suspected carriers have been advised to do, the answer was unexpected. Read more

  • CPRE report shows UK monitoring of aircraft noise 'seriously underestimates' disturbance to people's quality of life and health - Airport Watch 27.01.20

CPRE is calling on the Government to improve the way it monitors aircraft noise after new research shows current maps seriously underestimate the problem. This comes at a time when there are proposals for airport expansion across the country, and as the Government prepares a new aviation strategy. The research looked at the impact of noise pollution at lower levels than those usually mapped in the UK now. These lower levels, already used for monitoring noise pollution in other European countries, are believed to be a better indicator of the true impact of noise pollution below and near flight paths. The report uses Gatwick airport as an example, but the findings would apply at any airport. Read more

Also carried by Independent 29.01.20

  • Living on a flight path - is saving on price really worth it? - Country Life 27.01.20

Major flight paths criss-cross over plenty of covetable areas of the UK. Eleanor Doughty explores what it's like to live with a 747 soundtrack and whether it affects property values. [Gatwick mentioned throughout] Read more

  • Airport plan for millions more passengers within 12 years needs top scrutiny, says campaigner - Surrey Live 27.01.20

Gatwick Airport's plan to allow millions of extra passengers to fly in and out on its existing runway should be scrutinised at the top level, a campaign group has said. The airport's Master Plan, published last year, outlined how it hoped to boost the number of passengers by almost 50 per cent in the next 12 years - from around 47 million per year currently to 70 million by 2032. While the airport says that is within current planning permission, CAGNE (Communities Against Gatwick Noise Emission) claims it is growth "without restrictions or consultation". It wants the expansion scrutinised at the highest level as a so-called Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP). Read more

  • "People come first" - Interview with Matt Gordon-Smith, CISO, Gatwick Airport - Teiss 28.01.20

Register to read article

  • A23 closed indefinitely northbound by Gatwick as emergency gas repairs start - Crawley News 28.01.20

From 8pm this evening (28th Jan) the A23 London Road between Gatwick Road and Longbridge roundabout will be closed indefinitely for northbound traffic as SGN (previously known as Southern Gas Networks) does emergency repairs. Signed diversions will be in place for affected northbound motorists via the A2011 and Balcombe Road. People looking to access Gatwick Airport's North and South Terminals will need to follow the diversions via the M23 and Airport Way. Read more

See also Crawley News 24 30.01.20 - Latest update as A23 remains closed at Gatwick as engineers work round the clock

  • Wizz Air expands UK network - Travel Weekly 30.01.20

Wizz Air is adding daily flights from Gatwick to the Bulgarian capital of Sofia from June 1 at a cost of £30.99 single. Read more

  • Smart motorways put on hold amid safety concerns - The Times 31.01.20

The roll-out of smart motorways has been suspended pending the outcome of a safety review, the transport secretary has said. Stretches that were under construction would "not be opening" until new safety measures had been introduced, Grant Shapps said. Read more


  • Global Aviation Challenges & Market Predictions Report 2020 - VHR 19.11.19

The past year has seen unprecedented change for Aerospace & Aviation, this report explores which trends and changes will have the biggest impact and how can airlines, MROs and OEMs weather and take full advantage of them. Read more

  • Could sleeper trains replace international air travel? - The Conversation 22.01.20

European high-speed rail networks already offer an alternative to air traffic between European countries for distances shorter than 1,000 kilometres. For longer journeys, sleeper trains are becoming increasingly popular. Read more

  • Has BA lost the digital plot? - Travel Mole 24.01.20

Finally trying to haul itself into the 21st century, technology-wise, is British Airways a day late and a dollar short with its latest offering? Read more

  • Stansted Airport expansion rejected by Uttlesford council - BBC 24.01.20

Officers at Uttlesford District Council had recommended approval of proposals to increase the Essex airport's passenger cap to 43 million a year. But at the council's special planning committee, members rejected the scheme, 10 votes against with two abstentions. Originally the council approved the plan, but after the Residents for Uttlesford group took control from the Conservatives in May, the decision was referred back to the committee. Read more

See also BBC 29.01.20 Southampton Airport expansion: City council objects to plans

  • Climate Change: Tough questions at first UK assembly - BBC 27.01.20

From the corners of Britain, members of the first UK "citizens' assembly" on climate change descended on Birmingham - 110 members of the public chosen to reflect the nation in diversity of age, ethnicity, geography and opinion. Read more

  • Robot parking moves forward - Travel Weekly 27.01.20

The future of robot parking for passengers' cars at airports is about to take a big step forward at Lyon-Saint Exupéry in France, where a trial in place for a year is to be extended this summer to cover four times more spaces. A similar test programme was launched at Gatwick last year. Read more

  • Boeing 777X: One of world's biggest passenger planes completes test flight - Sky News 27.01.20

It took three attempts to get the 777X off the ground, as the first two planned tests were abandoned owing to high winds. The plane - which is 77m (252ft) long and can seat more than 400 passengers - took off from a runway just outside Seattle on the US west coast. Read more

  • Norwegian cuts baggage allowance - BTNews 27.01.20

Passengers buying the lowest fares on Norwegian have lost some of their luggage allowance or are facing higher charges after the airline last week changed its policy on hand baggage. The airline is also reported to have dropped lounge access to PremiumFlex passengers. 

Norwegian said the luggage move was to ensure all passengers had a smooth, comfortable flight that departed on time. Read more

  • EasyJet gains from Cook collapse - BTNews 27.01.20

A good start to the new year was reported last week by easyJet, which said it had benefited from the Thomas Cook collapse in September and had seen revenue increase by almost 10% in the first quarter of its financial year. Other factors included rival airlines cutting capacity, strong demand for air travel, good results from the Berlin operation and a rise in ancillary sales along with introduction of a new car-rental link-up with Car Trawler. Read more

  • Bidders sought for Air India - Travel Weekly 27.01.20

Debt-ridden flag carrier Air India has been put up for sale by the country's government. The disclosure came after an initial attempt to sell a majority stake in the airline failed to draw a single bid in 2018. A deadline or March 17 has been set for potential buyers to submit initial expressions of interest. Read more

  • Northern airports in connectivity review - BTNews 27.01.20

Aviation minister Paul Maynard has launched a tour of UK regional airports as part of the recently-announced Regional Air Connectivity Review, starting with Liverpool John Lennon Airport. The DfT says it intends to work closely with the aviation industry, local regions and devolved nations to identify how it can support connectivity. Read more

  • ON THE SOAPBOX SPECIAL: Tim Alderslade, Airlines UK - BTNews 27.01.20

Previously with the Airport Operators Association, Tim Alderslade is chief executive of Airlines UK, the trade body for British registered airlines. The timing of these comments is appropriate. "The forthcoming 12 months are shaping up to be more than usually important for our industry". Read more

  • All-party aviation group back in business - BTNews 27.01.20

The All-Party Parliamentary Group on General Aviation (APPG-GA) has officially re-formed after a brief hiatus for the general election and has held an inaugural meeting to re-appoint officers ready for the new parliament. Read more

  • Turnaround advisors drafted in on Flybe rescue loan talks - Travel Weekly 28.01.20

A firm of restructuring advisors used by the aviation regulator before the collapse of Thomas Cook has reportedly been drafted in by government as part of rescue efforts for Flybe. The Department for Transport has hired Alvarez & Marsal (A&M) to provide advise on how much public funding should be lent to the ailing regional carrier and on what terms, according to The Times. Read more

  • Pilots call for UK airport drone study - Travel Weekly 28.01.20

The number of drone flights in controlled airspace is being underestimated, new research has revealed. The Eurocontrol study backs concerns voiced by the UK pilots' union Balpa as the unmanned aircraft bill goes before Parliament for a second reading. Pilots now want to see a similar monitoring study in the UK to identify the actual presence of drones in the vicinity of a British airport. Read more

  • Heathrow names experts to oversee £30m support for disabled travellers - Travel Weekly 28.01.20

Members of the group will oversee more than £30 million of spend in new equipment, resources and technology. Read more

  • 'We were utterly humiliated': Thai Airways tells plus size women they're 'too big' for business class seats - Independent 28.01.20

Three women said they were "utterly humiliated" when Thai Airways staff kicked them out of their paid-for business class seats for being "too big". When they approached the business class check-in desk, they were accosted by staff trying to assess them with a tape measure. Thai Airways' Dreamliner 787-900 business class seats have seatbelts with airbags in them, which means they can't be extended according to the airline. Passengers with waists measuring more than 56 inches are therefore excluded from flying in business class.

Read more

  • We landed 2 hours and 55 minutes late but had to wait to get off the plane, are we due flight compensation for being delayed three hours? - This Is Money 28.01.20

Discussion of the rules relating to a passenger query on whether the law takes into account the actual landing time or the time they arrived at a gate after being transported from the cargo area.Read more

  • Ryanair warns it could shut bases and cut jobs after 737 Max delays - Guardian 28.01.20

Ryanair has warned pilots and cabin crew it could close bases and cut jobs after the date for delivery of its first 10 of Boeing's grounded 737 Max aircraft slipped into the autumn. In a memo Ryanair executive Eddie Wilson wrote that the airline's summer schedule relied on the delivery of the 10 planes. He apologised for the uncertainty and said the airline would try to prioritise cuts in flight frequencies over the closure of bases. Read more

  • Passengers should trust 737 Max if 'best pilots in the world' fly them, says airline boss - Independent 28.01.20

American Airlines CEO Doug Parker says he will fly on the controversial jet with his children to reassure passengers. Read more

  • Special Report: 'Brexit changes nothing until the end of the year' - Travel Weekly 29.01.20

Britain will leave the EU at 11pm on Friday after the government's Withdrawal Agreement Bill received formal assent last week and was ratified by the EU. The UK will end 47 years of EU membership, but nothing will change until January 2021. Senior industry figures expressed relief at the new certainty around Brexit but fear fresh uncertainty later in the year. Abta head of legal services Simon Bunce said: "The message that nothing is changing [for now] needs to be reinforced." Read more

  • SAA secures funds for 'rescue' - Travel Weekly 29.01.20

The future of South African Airways (SAA) appears secure following an agreement between the South African government, banks and the airline's business rescue practitioners. Read more

  • Wizz Air raises annual profit guidance - Travel Weekly 29.01.20

The eastern and central European budget airline expects net profits for the year to the end of March to reached between €350 million and €355 million. The forecast came as the carrier reported a €42.4 million rise in profits to €21.4 million in the three months to December 31 on the back if a 23.2% year-on-year increase in passenger carryings to ten million. Read more

  • Ryanair agrees four-year labour deal with Irish pilots - Travel Weekly 29.01.20

Ryanair has struck a four-year collective labour deal with pilots in Ireland in a bid to ward off further strikes. The agreement, made with Irish pilots' union Forsa, will deliver a new pay structure to pilots along with a fixed roster until 2024. Read more

  • The top airline innovations shortlisted for the 2020 'Oscars' of cabin awards, including rotating economy seats and SPAS - Daily Mail 29.01.20

A total of 105 concepts are in the running for gongs at the prestigious Crystal Cabin Awards, which are dubbed the Oscars of aircraft cabin design. They were whittled down from a record number of submissions from 21 countries. Awards will be presented in March across eight categories. Read more and view pictures

See also Independent 29.01.20 - Is this the most socially awkward airline seat ever? New concept would mean passengers can sit facing each other.

  • Defra launches natural capital tool - Planning Portal 30.01.20

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has launched an online resource to guarantee 'better' environmental decision-making by valuing natural capital. The tool hosts a "comprehensive and integrated" set of evidence and guidance about natural capital in the UK. The government thinks this approach to natural capital will make it easier for public and private organisations to better assess and value the environment, which will in turn help to deliver long-term benefits, a reduction in flood risk, boosts to wildlife, improvements to water and air quality, and opportunities for biodiversity net gain. Read more

  • Special Report: Travlaw Big Tent 2020 - Travel Weekly 30.01.20

The failure of Thomas Cook dominated the travel law specialist's annual event in London last week. Ian Taylor reports key issues including tour operator contracts, the Atol scheme, and the emissions challenge. Read more

  • Boeing plunges into red following 737 Max grounding - Travel Weekly 30.01.20

Boeing plunged to its first annual loss in more than two decades as it suffered the fallout from the global grounding of the 737 Max. The company lost $636 million last year against a profit of $10.4 billion in 2018. Read more

  • Coronavirus: The safest place to sit on a flight to avoid becoming infected - Independent 30.01.20

As the coronavirus continues to spread and governments around the world attempt to arrange mass evacuations of their citizens from China, passengers may worry about stepping onto an aircraft with people who could potentially be infected. Read more

  • Dnata B2C brands report almost £6m loss - Travel Weekly 31.01.20

Dnata's B2C brands Travel Republic and Netflights have reported losses of almost £6 million, according to the latest accounts filed on Companies House. Read more

  • Top reshuffle at IAG Spanish carriers - Travel Weekly 31.01.20

The leadership of International Airlines Group's Spanish airlines is being reshuffled when chief executive Willie Walsh steps down in the spring. Read more

  • EasyJet welcomes latest electric aircraft development - Travel Weekly 31.01.20

EasyJet has welcomed plans to develop an engine for a proposed 186-seat electric aircraft. The budget carrier's US partner Wright Electric is creating components to form the powerplant of the "revolutionary" Wright 1 aircraft. Wright plans to run ground tests of its motor in 2021 and flight tests in 2023 in a bid to pave the way for a future of zero emissions flights from 2030. Read more

  •  Inside Russian airline Aeroflot's pilot training facility - Daily Mail 31.01.20

MailOnline is taught how to land a Boeing 737 in a state-of-the-art simulator - with VERY mixed results. Read more

  • ABTA unveils anniversary logo - Travel Mole 31.01.20

ABTA is marking its 70th anniversary with a new commemorative logo. The design features the trademark ABTA globe as well as ABTA's Travel with Confidence message. 


Silicon Valley accelerator and tech start-ups from around the globe visit Gatwick to 'supercharge airport innovation' - 31.01.20

  • Start-ups from UK, USA, India, Israel, Austria and Denmark present the latest airport concepts
  • Innovations include checking luggage in at home and delivering it to a passenger's final destination - making airport journeys 'baggage free'
  • Solutions also included prediction of flight arrival, flight departure and passenger flow using artificial intelligence

A Silicon Valley 'accelerator' hosted an event at Gatwick Airport yesterday that brought tech start-ups - from the UK, USA, India, Israel, Austria and Denmark - together with VINCI Airport's global network, and other UK airports, airlines and universities to help drive airport innovations forward.

Plug & Play, a Silicon Valley-based accelerator, introduces new tech start-ups and entrepreneurs to established businesses with a view to fast tracking their innovations and driving forward improvements at scale across a particular sector - in this case airports.

Gatwick - a leading airport innovator and an innovation centre of excellence for Vinci Airports - has an ongoing relationship with Plug and Play and hosted the event, which looked at technological solutions for a range of airport issues.

Sixteen start-up companies from around the world attended, including:

  • London and Copenhagen-based platforms that connect travellers with hotels and shops where they can store bags - without searching for a specialist luggage facility
  • Paris-based start-up that helps airlines improve fuel efficiency - saving money and emissions
  • A New York-based firm that uses machine learning predict flight disruption and automatically rebook passengers on alternative flights
  • A London-based start-up that aims to make air travel 'baggage-less' by checking-in luggage at home and delivering it to the passenger's final destination

The start-ups pitched their products to event attendees and five "reverse-pitches" were also given by airport users - including pilots, airfield staff and others who work at the airport - to highlight challenges they face so that the start-ups could take these away and work up possible future solutions.

Local universities and business groups were also among those attending, including the University of Sussex, the University of Chichester, and Chambers of Commerce from both Horley and Crawley.  

Abhi Chacko, Head of Innovation, Gatwick Airport, gave an overview of recent innovations at the airport - including a passenger chatbot and the use of computer vision to measure the amount of hand luggage due to go on an aircraft. He said:

"This event kick-started numerous discussions that may not otherwise have happened and we hope it will supercharge airport innovation at Gatwick and other airports across the UK and further afield.

"By deploying the latest innovations, Gatwick has been able to deliver some best in class passenger services. Technology moves fast however and events like this help Gatwick and VINCI Airports to stay ahead of the curve so we can become early adopters of appropriate advances that will improve the service we offer passengers."

Amir Amidi, Managing Partner, Plug and Play Travel & Hospitality, said: "Our Plug and Play Travel program innovation day at Gatwick Airport is by far the largest airport centric event we have co-hosted since launching the Travel & Hospitality program in Silicon Valley in 2016. Plug and Play currently helps 14 airports including Gatwick and Changi on their digitization initiatives by putting them in touch with relevant and cutting-edge technologies developed by startups from all around the globe. Our 2020 goal is to grow our partnerships with another 50+ airports in our Silicon Valley and Travel EU program out of Vienna. 

"Airports have a rich environment for testing and deploying new technologies because we view them as "mini cities" with their concessions, real estate footprint, security measures and most recently sustainable initiatives. By teaming up together, airports can take advantage of multiple specific practices that Plug and Play has to offer such as Supply Chain, Smart Cities, Mobility, Energy, Sustainability, Retail, Financial Services, Real Estate & Construction etc."


Related news

GDBA 2024 image