Gatwick is world’s first major airport to introduce a cloud-based Flight Information System (FIDS)

  • More resilient and can run on battery powered mobile screens with 4G connectivity independent from other airport systems or infrastructure if required
  • Gatwick’s 1200 cloud-based screens take up only 3Mbps – making the system extremely fast and responsive
  • New system can run natively on smart TVs
Gatwick is the world’s first major airport to introduce a cloud-based Flight Information Display System (FIDS) – an innovative, cost effective system that is easily scalable, more flexible and resilient, and requires considerably less infrastructure and maintenance.

Legacy FID systems require software to be loaded on a separate PC behind the screen to run them – whereas the airport’s 1,200 cloud-based screens now connect via a web browser from any operating system. This takes up only 3Mbps of bandwidth – so the new real-time system is extremely fast and responsive to updates - which is key in times of disruption.

The new system – VisionAir – can also run natively on smart TVs – saving on infrastructure and maintenance costs, and demand on engineers’ time. The new system is also:

  • Flexible – and can run from an internet browser or a mobile device and does not require any software installed. Content can also be managed collaboratively with other organisations - such as airlines and ground handlers - and different types of content can be hosted depending on requirements - disruption, weather, advertising etc - from the smallest mobile devices to the largest video walls.
  • Resilient – unlike legacy systems – the system is more robust to network blips or power failures with mobile battery power and 4G backup available if required. It also includes a fully independent management interface that supports operation completely independent from any airport infrastructure or system if required.
  • Intelligent – system has awareness of screen positions with respect to the airport layout and can target appropriate messaging depending on the situation.
  • More sustainable – can control backlight, helping to reduce energy consumption where possible.
The VisionAir project started back in 2015 when Gatwick Airport decided to develop cloud-based FIDS in line with the airport’s cloud migration strategy. AirportLabs developed the solution and the system went live with 1200 screens by the middle of 2017 and has been providing uninterrupted service since then.

Cathal Corcoran, Chief Information Officer, Gatwick Airport, said:

“Our vision was to develop a new generation system that is reliable, scalable and accessible from anywhere. We are the first major airport to introduce a cloud-based Flight Information Display System and the solution we now have in place is resilient, flexible and low cost with highly optimised data transfer.

“The VisionAir system is just one of many exciting digital initiatives our award-winning digital team is developing. We are transforming the way airport information is communicated and will soon allow passengers to interact with chat bots using Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp and other popular apps. We are also exploring the use of the Internet of Things for improving situational awareness, machine learning for accurately predicting flight departure times and recently became the world’s first airport to deploy augmented reality wayfinding.”

Ligiu Uiorean - Director, AirportLabs said:

“AirportLabs built VisionAir to be a real time passenger communication platform that covers all types of messages. Gatwick was the first to recognise the potential of having such a channel and embrace it. Working with the airport, the rollout has been swift and painless in spite of the complex environment with very tight operational constraints.

“VisionAir has also been very well received by the airlines, ground handlers and other stakeholders which now have a state of the art tool that ensures effective communication with the passengers- irrespective of an advertising, business as usual or disruption scenario. It is projects like this which form the building blocks for the next generation travel experience and bring further gains even to the most efficient operations. We are very happy work with an airport like Gatwick who are ready to step with us into the future and change the face of terminals and travel."
Gatwick wins London Airport of the Year
  • Airport’s £2.7 billion investment programme and North Terminal transformation recognised, while maintaining strong customer service
  • Airline Moves project also cited after airport’s three biggest airlines seamlessly switch terminals over 72 hours
  • Award is Gatwick’s third of this kind in recent months
Gatwick won Airport of the Year at the London Transport Awards last night – the third such award in recent months – with the organisers praising Gatwick’s £2.7 billion investment programme and transformation of the North Terminal, while also maintaining strong customer service.

The airport’s Airline Moves project was also cited after Gatwick’s three biggest airlines seamlessly switch terminals over a 72 hour period.

The awards – presented by Valarie Shawcross, Deputy London Mayor for Transport - recognise transport excellence, innovation, strong customer service and the provision of first-class passenger facilities.

Gatwick also picked up ‘Airport of the Year’ at the UK Transport Awards in October and was awarded ‘Best Airport’ by the Airport Operators Association – the airports’ trade body – in November. These were in addition to a range of other awards for IT innovation, sustainability, health and safety, security, retail provision and airfield management.

Chris Woodroofe, Chief Operating Officer, Gatwick Airport, said:

Achievements like this only happen because of the collective efforts and dedication that people working at the airport – not just Gatwick staff - put in 24 hours a day, every day. This award is their award and I would like to thank them for everything they have done and look forward to working with them over the next exciting twelve months.

“Gatwick has transformed itself into a world-leading airport and there’s plenty more to come. We are only half way through our £2.7 billion investment programme, our long haul network now reaches over 60 destinations, and we have some exciting tech and service innovations coming soon so we continue to deliver the very best airport experience for our passengers.”

Gatwick Airport
Gatwick provides jobs boost with more than 1,200 positions available

  • Airport demonstrates investment in local economy as raft of job opportunities become available
  • More than 800 jobs are available through Gatwick’s retail and restaurant portfolio
  • A further 400 jobs are on offer working for the airport’s aircraft servicing teams
London Gatwick announced today vacancies for more than 1,200 retail, restaurant, check-in desk assistance and luggage handling roles, further demonstrating the airport’s commitment to boosting employment in the local community.

The announcement reflects Gatwick’s continued growth as it gets ready to face its busiest summer on record.

More than 800 jobs are being offered from across the airport’s retail and restaurant portfolio including: WHSmith, JD Wetherspoon, Boots, Fat Face, Starbucks and Monsoon.

Meanwhile recruitment is underway for more than 400 jobs for ground handling agents, the companies which provide check-in desk assistance for passengers as well as loading/unloading luggage and cargo onto aircraft at Gatwick, and these include: DHL, Menzies, Airline Services, dnata and Swissport.

Gatwick makes a substantial and vital contribution to the UK economy, with activity in and around the airport generating £5.3bn in GDP and supporting over 85,000 jobs at a national level. Gatwick is also a major economic driver for the South East region, generating around 24,000 on-airport jobs and a further 12,000 jobs through related activities.

Gatwick Airport’s Head of Retail, Rachel Bulford, said:

“It’s great to see, once again, so many job opportunities opening up throughout our retail and restaurant offering at the airport. These roles will help to ensure we provide excellent service in all our outlets as passenger numbers increase over the busy summer period.

“A large proportion of our staff are based in the surrounding counties, making Gatwick one of the largest economic drivers for the South East region.”

DHL’s Vice President of Operations, Spencer Conday, said:

“We are pleased to be working with Gatwick Airport on our strategy for 2018 recruitment. By combining our efforts we hope to attract the best talent for a number of exciting jobs and career opportunities at the airport and ensure customers continue to receive great service.”

Gatwick will also be in attendance at the East Surrey College Job Fair on 23 May, alongside 30 other employers based at the airport to showcase the wide range of roles on offer to local people.

For information on the latest vacancies and where to apply, visit:
Gatwick supporting a summer of community events across the region
  • Events include: St Catherine’s Hospice Midnight Walk, Horley Carnival, Crawley High Street Live, Gatton Country Fair, Big Bang Fair and Brighton Pride
  • Projects chosen that bring communities together and have a lasting, positive impact on local people across the South East
  • Events follow airport’s high profile sponsorship of Brighton Marathon
London Gatwick is supporting another busy programme of local community events across the South East this summer including: St Catherine’s Hospice’s Midnight Walk, Horley Carnival, Crawley High Street Live, Gatton Country Fair, Big Bang Fair South East and Brighton Pride, which attracted over 300,000 people last year.

As part of the programme, which focuses on projects that bring communities together and have a lasting, positive impact on large numbers of local people across three counties, the airport is supporting this year’s St Catherine’s Hospice Midnight Walk, which takes place on 9 June.

Gatwick is the main sponsor for the second year in a row with the airport’s staff supporting more than 1,000 walkers as they make their way around Horsham by moonlight. This year’s walk is the biggest ever for the local charity and it is hoped the event will raise £125,000 to help care for local terminally ill people and their family and friends.

The airport will also be headline sponsor for Horley Carnival on 16 June and both Crawley High Street live and Gatton Country Fair on 1 July, three events which celebrate some of the best local talent with live music, parades and stalls for all of the family to enjoy.

In addition, Gatwick will be sponsoring the Big Bang Fair South East at the South of England Showground in Ardingly on 27 and 28 June, which is one of the flagship events in the airport’s education programme – ‘Inspire, Inform, Invest’ – highlighting the importance and relevance of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) subjects in the world of work.

Rounding off a busy summer, Gatwick will once again be the Community Parade Sponsor for Brighton Pride on 4 August and will be leading the parade with a branded bus and a walking party of 150 airport staff. The lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community event has become the UK’s biggest Pride festival with more than 300,000 people participating last year.

The schedule of events follows the airport’s high profile sponsorship of the Brighton Marathon Weekend back in April, for the second year in a row, which saw almost 18,000 runners and more than 150,000 spectators take to the streets of Brighton and over 3,000 young people enter the mini mile for free as a result of Gatwick’s sponsorship.

Gatwick’s Head of Community Engagement, Alison Addy, said:

We are proud to be supporting our local neighbours across such a variety of community events, not only on the south coast but for the whole of the south east.

“These events play an important role in bringing communities together and we are committed to addressing the social and environmental issues that matter to local people.”

St Catherine’s Hospice Philanthropy Manager, Sophie Peckham, said:

“This years’ Midnight Walk is our biggest to date and we’re thrilled to have Gatwick Airport being part of the event again this year. We’re looking forward to welcoming all our walkers.”

Brighton & Hove Pride Managing Director, Paul Kemp, said:

“We’re thrilled to have Gatwick Airport once again partner with us on the Community Parade. We are thankful to them and all our business partners as their financial contributions helps the sustainability of Pride’s fundraising objectives that directly benefit the people of Sussex.”

Gatwick Airport
Gatwick Airport Annual Results: New route to Chengdu drives airport to 67 long-haul routes
  • Passenger numbers up +3.6% to 45.7m, long-haul growth up +14.4% and cargo tonnage up +20.4% on last year
  • Gatwick launches the UK’s only direct connection to Chengdu next week
  • New routes and retail development drives EBITDA +10.1%
Gatwick Airport today further underlined the vital role it plays in the local, regional and national economy as it announced its annual financial results for the twelve months ending 31 March 2018.

The airport has continued to demonstrate the important role that it plays for Britain with passenger numbers reaching an all-time high of 45.7m, up +3.6% on last year, resulting in an extra 1.6 million people travelling through Gatwick.

Passenger growth was driven by the airport’s long-haul connections with an additional 1 million long-haul passengers (up +14.4% on 2016/2017) travelling through Gatwick. 1 in 6 airport passengers now travel to a long-haul destination.

In the last financial year, nine new long-haul routes have started from the airport to destinations including Buenos Aires, Taipei and Singapore. Plus, building on increased passenger numbers to China, up 44.5% year on year, next week Air China will start the UK’s only direct connection to Chengdu.

The airport’s long-haul growth, up +14.4%, drove a +20.4% increase in cargo tonnage compared to last year. Recent research by Oxford Economics has found that in 2017, £7.5 billion worth of goods were transported between the UK and overseas markets, through flights that arrived at or departed from Gatwick.

Nick Dunn, Chief Financial Officer, Gatwick Airport, said:

“Gatwick’s global connectivity has grown dramatically with nine new long-haul routes in the last year alone. We now offer 67 long-haul routes in total including the UK’s only direct service to Chengdu, which is due to start flying next week.

“Our increased network drives increased cargo capacity - another example of the vital role Gatwick plays for Britain. As the country prepares for Brexit, it is critical that we continue to grow our long-haul links in addition to connections within the UK and Europe.

“We have ambitious plans to further enhance the experience for passengers at the airport, with a commitment to invest over £3 billion between 2010 - 2023, including an extension to Pier 6 providing six new aircraft stands, plus a new mezzanine level in the North Terminal departure lounge to accommodate new restaurants.

“Gatwick welcomes and is focussed on the Government’s recent challenge to all airports to make the best use of their existing runways. It is vital that all airports are encouraged to increase capacity and we are exploring the best way Gatwick can continue to grow sustainably to support the local and national economy so that Britain can reap the benefits of greater global connectivity.”

Continued growth

• Revenue up 5.4% to £764.2million. Combined with carefully controlled cost management, this resulted in EBITDA up 10.1% to £411.2 million and a profit before tax of £233.7 million
• The year to the end of March 2018 was the busiest in Gatwick’s history with 45.7 million passengers, an increase of 3.6% or 1.6 million passengers
• Gatwick’s growth is a combination of more planes, bigger planes and fuller planes – each aircraft at Gatwick is carrying five (4.6) more passengers, on average, than last year

New airlines and routes

• Growth across a broad range of travel markets with long-haul traffic, European business routes and destinations in Asia combining to fuel a record-breaking year
• Gatwick adds 1 million long-haul passengers, as 1 in 6 of the airport’s passengers are travelling long-haul
• New long-haul services from Gatwick include:
- Qatar Airways to Doha
- China Airlines to Taipei
- Norwegian to Singapore, Buenos Aires, Chicago, Austin, Denver, Seattle
• In July 2018, Air China will start the UK’s only direct connection to Chengdu


• The financial year ending March 2018 saw retail openings at the airport from the following brands:
- A brand new walk through World Duty Free store opened in the North Terminal in September 2017
- The stationery brand kikki.K arrived at Gatwick in March 2018 also joined by toy retailer Hamleys in December 2017
- Clothing brand Reiss opened in the South Terminal with Superdry and Jack Wills arriving into the North Terminal
- Jamie Oliver’s The Diner, a homage to American comfort food, comprising a diner restaurant section, an art-deco inspired bar plus also a ‘grab and go’ deli opened in August 2017
• Retail income increased by 8.8% period-on-period to £177.3 million with an increase in income per passenger of 4.9% to £3.82

Airport developments

• Work has started on Boeing’s new hangar at Gatwick providing on-site engineering and maintenance capability and creating 100 new on airport jobs
• £3.14 billion investment committed at the airport between 2010 – 2023 with £1.11 billion due to be spent over the next five years. Projects include:
- Gatwick is designing and planning an extension to Pier 6, as the airport requires additional aircraft stands to meet passenger forecast demand and maintain service levels, taking the pier to seventeen stands from eleven currently
- A new mezzanine level extension in the North Terminal departure lounge to accommodate new restaurants
• Gatwick’s passenger app launched in the year and has already received the accolades of Mobile Innovation of the Year at the National Technology Awards and Mobile App of the Year at the Real IT awards
• Multi-award winning year for Gatwick with the airport scooping Airport of the Year at the London Transport Awards, Airport of the Year at the UK Transport Awards and Best Airport at the Airport Operators Association Awards


• In June 2018, Gatwick became the first airport to secure ‘Zero Waste to Landfill’ accreditation from the Carbon Trust and was recertified as a carbon nuetral airport
• The Gatwick Foundation Fund awarded £300,000 to deserving community projects during the past year. Working in partnership with the Community Foundations in Kent, Surrey and Sussex, the Airport was able to fund 80 projects supporting the needs of young people, families, and the elderly.

Gatwick Airport
Hurtigruten will offer Northern Lights fly cruises to Bergen from London Gatwick on
17 October 2019
24 January 2020
09 February 2020
17 February 2020
28 February 2020
02 March 2020
21 March 2020

If the lockdown continues for longer than a couple of months (fully expecting it to last for 3 months at least IMO), I suspect most UK airports will close.

I can see a situation where the following airports remain open:

- Heathrow serving general passengers and cargo (short haul repatriation flights should be complete in the next week or so, just leaving long haul hence most if not all passengers will go through Heathrow)
- London City to serve the Nightingale Hospital at the Excel Centre - a C130 flew in the other day for training
- Birmingham to serve the new Hospital at the NEC
- Manchester to serve the new Hospital at CCC
- Edinburgh or Glasgow to serve cargo to Scotland
Notam issued for restricted operating hours:

Q) EGTT/QFALT/IV/NBO/A/000/999/5109N00011W005
B) FROM: 20/03/31 22:59C) TO: 20/04/01 13:00

Aerodrome closed from 2359hrs tonight until 1400hrs tomorrow.(times are local)
This news report is a couple of weeks old but it shows how much the rundown at Gatwick Airport is affecting life in nearby towns such as Crawley, with stories of redundant pilots driving for supermarkets.


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