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London's Gatwick Airport
London, England

[Saturday - 10/22/94] London's second airport has gone a long way towards shedding its old dependence on the leisure/charter business. It is now established as a major international hub and its owners BAA are investing more than GBP100 million (USD$160 million) in the airport over the next five years.

It hasn't completely shrugged off the sun n' sand image but there is a growing network of scheduled services and business travelers now make up a quarter of all Gatwick's passengers. Their rising influence is being catered for by the introduction of a variety of fast track business facilities.

Although it is located 28 miles (45km) south of London the airport has fast rail and convenient road links and is a much easier place to navigate than its sprawling sister Heathrow. Facilities at its two terminals - North and South - are good, particularly for those who count as shopping part of the airport experience but its growing popularity is also Gatwick's biggest problem. Now the eighth busiest international airport in the world it operates all flights from a single runway and is crying out for more capacity.

Gatwick has held the unwanted position as the UK's worst airport for delays, with charter traffic hold-ups averaging 46 minutes. A second runway is needed but that will prove difficult to negotiate in these environmentally-conscious times. We, however, had no such worries. A simple bus transfer to Heathrow for our connecting flight to Edinburgh had us arriving in Scotland exactly on schedule!


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