Gatwick Airport is London ‘s second largest airport and the second busiest airport in the UK after London Heathrow, busiest single runway airport and sixth busiest airport in the world in terms of passengers per year. Gatwick is located between Horley in Surrey and Crawley in West Sussex.
In 2005, Gatwick handled more than 32.6 million passengers flying to around 200 destinations. Charter airlines are generally not allowed to operate from Heathrow and many use Gatwick instead as their base. Many flights to and from the USA also use Gatwick because of restrictions on transatlantic operations from Heathrow. The airport is a secondary hub for British Airways and Virgin Atlantic.
In 1979, when the last major expansion took place, an agreement was reached with the local council not to expand further before 2019, but recent proposals to build a second runway at Gatwick led to protests about increased noise and pollution and demolition of houses and villages. The government has now decided to expand Stansted and Heathrow but not Gatwick. Gatwick’s owners BAA have published a new consultation which includes a possible second runway south of the airport, but leaves the villages of Charlwood and Hookwood intact.
The airport is near Junction 9 of the M23, and is on the A23 and at the southern end of the A217. Like many other airports, car parking is in limited supply at Gatwick. This is partly due to local planning restrictions. Facilities are full to capacity in the summer months.
The Gatwick Airport Transit provides free transportation between the North and South Terminals. The transit system uses transit vehicles that run along a 1.2 km long elevated two-way track system. The transit vehicles are automatic driverless people movers each with three cars. The transit is free to use with a travel time of only a few minutes.
The Gatwick Airport railway station is located next to the South Terminal, and provides fast and frequent connections along the Brighton Main Line to London ‘s Victoria Station and London Bridge Station. The Gatwick Express service to Victoria is the best-known rail service from Gatwick Airport but several other companies use the station as well.