Gatwick transformed by new owners

Hotel News - 29/11/2010

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Passengers who regularly use Gatwick Airport say there has been a dramatic improvement in their customer experience. Not long ago, Gatwick was infamous for its incredibly long queues, regular bouts of chaos and surly employees.

Each year, about 32 million travellers fly through Gatwick, one of London’s key airports and is a base of operations for British Airways. Last year, the airport was known by many regular users as ‘hell’.

Late last year, however, former owners BAA sold the airport to Global Infrastructure Partners. Authorities had told Spanish-owned BAA it had to sell off some airports in the UK in a bid to give passengers better competition.

Since the sale on 4 December, it looks like the new owners, an investment fund, have been responsible for a major rejuvenation in the Gatwick passenger experience. Complaints by passengers about queues for security have fallen by some 70 per cent. Positive feedback by travellers has risen by 100 per cent.

On each month during the last year, Gatwick Airport has managed to hit its targets for the length of time it takes to get people through security. Those targets mandate that a minimum of 95 per cent of travellers are screened in no more than five minutes.

Improvements in the queues at security are only a part of the transformed service at Gatwick. Passengers say overall, the airport is noticeably more pleasant than before. Gatwick is also putting pressure on airlines to boost their handling of luggage.

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