Greater Brighton member Gatwick Airport welcomed Transport Secretary Chris Grayling to visit the international airport and celebrate a record year of long-haul growth while showcasing a selection of new projects which help achieve its goal of being a leading sustainable airport.
Mr Grayling was invited to see progress on a new 60,000 square metre Boeing service hangar site, which will open in early 2019. It will maintain some of the industry’s most energy-efficient aircraft including the innovative Dreamliner 787, which is flown by several of Gatwick’s major airlines.
The £88 million facility will provide on-site engineering and maintenance for commercial aircraft, including the single-aisle 737 MAX and the ever-growing fleet of twin-aisle long-haul aircraft now based at Gatwick.
Gatwick has partnered with Boeing on the project investing £16 million to prepare the vehicle access and aircraft taxiway systems to the hangar. This brings the total investment in the project to more than £100 million.
Set to support more than 200 jobs at Boeing and its suppliers in the Gatwick region and contribute around £80 million of GVA to the local economy, the investment bolsters the 24,000 airport jobs already supported by Gatwick on site and 85,000 nationally.
More than 65 long-haul routes are now flown from Gatwick, with destinations added in the past year including Buenos Aires, Austin and Chicago across the Americas, Doha in the Middle East and Chengdu and Shanghai in China.
Gatwick’s long-haul routes grew by 20.8% year-on-year in July 2018, with Asian routes up 138%.
According to a recent report by Oxford Economics on Gatwick’s impact on the ‘Visitor Economy’, the UK economy receives a £200 million and 4,000-job boost every time more than 100,000 passengers from Asia arrive at Gatwick.
While visiting the Boeing hanger site, Mr Grayling made the most of another new addition to Gatwick – the airport’s Bluecity electric cars.
Ten cars are based at Gatwick – Bluecity’s only airport hub. The cars produce zero emissions, supporting Gatwick’s own carbon-neutral status.
Gatwick is already a carbon-neutral airport and was the first airport to achieve a Zero Waste to Landfill accreditation from the Carbon Trust.
Mr Grayling said: “The aviation industry plays a critical role in the UK economy and I welcome Boeing’s decision to make such a significant investment at Gatwick. It is also equally encouraging to see the focus given to sustainable growth as the UK’s second largest airport continues to develop.”
Stewart Wingate, Gatwick’s Chief Executive Officer, pictured right, said: “Gatwick’s partnership with Boeing comes at a time when the airport continues to succeed in attracting vital new long haul links for the UK while seeking to grow responsibly.
“Long haul continues to drive Gatwick’s growth and the rapid expansion of airlines such as Norwegian flying the innovative 787 Dreamliner to many new long haul destinations will only serve to benefit from this state-of-the-art Boeing facility. We’re proud to have it at Gatwick.”
Sir Michael Arthur, President, Boeing Europe and Managing Director, Boeing UK and Ireland, said: “The new Boeing service hangar is an exceptional piece of infrastructure at the heart of one of the UK’s busiest airports, which will provide our airline customers with world-leading engineering and maintenance. It’s an important investment for Boeing as we grow our aviation services in the UK.”