Gatwick Airport Celebrates 60 Years

Earlier this month marked a very significant milestone for Gatwick Airport as it celebrated 60 years since it was officially opened in its current form and as the airport we all know today.

Gatwick Airport has seen constant growth over the decades and the airport has grown from just 186,000 passengers in 1958 to 45 million travellers each year. The airport now serves more than 228 destinations in 74 countries and provides jobs to thousands.

And as I Love meet and greet take a look back over some of the key moments in the history of the airport, we are proud of our company directors who have been parking cars at the airport for over half of those 60 years. They have seen the airport develop to become the international travel hub it is today.

Gatwick Airport Opening

Gatwick Airport was opened by Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh on 09 June 1958 and became the first airport in the world to combine air, road and train travel in one single unit.

The £7.8 million construction project which took more than two and a half years to complete made the airport the first in the world to have a direct railway link and dedicated railway station allowing passengers to enjoy a seamless journey.

Gatwick Airport Runway Extensions

Due to an ever-increasing number of passengers, Gatwick Airport then benefited from three different runway extensions in 1964, 1970 and then 1973 as larger aircraft such as Jumbo Boeing 747-400 were introduced. This saw the launch of direct non-stop flights to the USA.

The airport opened its new control tower in 1984 which at the time was the tallest in the UK. Gatwick Express was launched the same year, and this was also the same time the directors at I Love meet and greet started valet parking at Gatwick Airport.

Gatwick North Terminal

In 1988, Queen Elizabeth II returned to open the £200 million North Terminal, which meant the main terminal was then renamed as the South Terminal.

A fourth runway extension was built in 1999 to accommodate easyJet at the airport.

Both the North and South terminals were extended in the noughties at a cost of £60 million in total. This was then followed in 2005 by the construction of the biggest air passenger bridge in the world, totalling 194m in length.

Gatwick Airport Investment

In 2012, the new owners, Global Infrastructure Partners announced a £2.5 billion investment programme. The same year saw the airline Emirates launch its scheduled A380 service at Gatwick, making it one of the very few airports at the time that could accommodate the next generation of passenger airlines.

2016 saw Gatwick open the world’s largest self-service bag drop zone, which was designed to reduce passenger queues dramatically.

I Love meet and greet at Gatwick Airport

And as I Love meet and greet continue to serve Gatwick Airport passengers, we look forward to seeing what the next 60 years hold in store for both the airport and air travel in general.

By Sarah Anglim at 30 Jun 2018

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