Gatwick Airport sees heightened demand for festive flights as airport takes further steps to increase passenger confidence


  • Gatwick is expecting up to 200 flights a day over the festive period, with a welcome increase in passenger demand after the second national lockdown.

·         Passengers will be able to fly to a range of short and long-haul destinations over Christmas, with top destinations including Dublin, Geneva, and Tenerife. 

·         Gatwick has increased the number of security lanes fitted with innovative UV light technology, guaranteeing a 99.9% microbe disinfection rate - so all passengers benefitfrom COVID-19 free trays - a 'high-touch' surface area. 

  • The Government's 'test and release' system and reduction in overall quarantine time will give passengers more confidence in flying to destinations not on the travel corridor list - including the Canary Islands.

Gatwick Airport is expecting to see a significant increase in passengers travelling over the Christmas period, with up to 200 flights a day forecast to operate to and from the London airport, with top destinations including Dublin, Geneva and Tenerife.

While typically Gatwick would normally see more than 700 flights a day during this time, the increase in demand following the second national lockdown is positive news for the aviation industry over the festive period. 

The increase in flights coincides with the Government's new test to release system, which comes into operation today (15 December) - reducing self-isolation restrictions for those arriving from non-exempt destinations, including the Canary Islands - if they have a negative result from a COVID-19 test after five days. This is in addition to the Government announcement that overall quarantine time has been reduced from 14 to 10 days. 

Stewart Wingate, CEO, Gatwick Airport, said: "We know the demand for international travel is strong, especially as we approach the festive period. It is vital for the recovery of the aviation industry that we make travelling during the pandemic as safe and easy as possible. 

"With our airlines increasing flying schedules to meet this demand, we expect to see many more passengers travelling through Gatwick than over the past couple of months and we are doing all we can to offer passengers a greater level of reassurance.

"Passengers are able to book COVID-19 PCR screening at Gatwick or of course use other providers away from the airport if they want to get away this Christmas. In addition, expanding the provision of UV technology across more security lanes in the North Terminal is yet another innovative step we have taken in helping protect passengers at Gatwick Airport."

Over the coming weeks, easyJet will be operating up to 75 departures a day from Gatwick, while Wizz, TUI, British Airways, Turkish Airlines, Qatar Airways and Aurigny have also resumed operations. WestJet, Ryanair and Vueling continue to offer services, having flown throughout November. 

The return of these airlines will enable passengers to travel to popular short and long-haul destinations. The top five short-haul destinations for Christmas travel are expected to be Dublin, Tenerife, Geneva, Barcelona, and Fuerteventura, with St Lucia, Antigua, and Barbados being the most popular long-haul destinations.

Gatwick has also invested in expanding its successful UV light treatment of security trays, helping to protect passengers as demand for travel heightens over the coming weeks.

Following the successful launch of the initiative in September, when Gatwick became the first UK airport to treat security trays with enough UV light energy to guarantee a 99.9% microbe disinfection rate, additional security lanes in Gatwick's North Terminal have now been fitted with the technology. 

The expansion of the system, provided by Smiths Detection, ensures all passengers can travel in the reassurance of Covid-free security trays - a 'high-touch' surface area -  with laboratory testing demonstrating the UV light energy reduces the spread of coronaviruses such as COVID-19 and SARS.

Gatwick and other airports have already deployed other anti-viral systems, such as coatings sprayed on to trays, however this protection dissipates over time whereas this new system treats every tray just before use - ensuring maximum protection and a reduced risk of passing on infection. 

There are a few on campus, pre-departure COVID-19 screening solutions available at Gatwick including a subsidised, fast and accurate lab-analysed PCR swab test, as well as the 'Test and Rest' packages at Gatwick's on-site hotels. Early booking is advisable as capacity is filling up fast and tests are allocated on a first come, first served basis. A list of all testing options for passengers can be found on Gatwick's website.

On the UV treatment of security trays, Samantha Williams, Chair, Passenger Advisory Group, said: "The Passenger Advisory Group welcomes this positive use of innovation and technology, to both protect and reassure passengers as they travel through Gatwick and importantly to help in building back passenger confidence in travel."


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