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Some seasonal joy for Gatwick with expected rise in traffic


London 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 gateway, 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 UK 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.

Airport CEO, Stewart Wingate, 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 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 is also quick to note that it has 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.

It insists that 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.

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