gatwick airport

Gatwick Airport celebrates 60th birthday

Celebrations took place last week at Gatwick Airport, which marked its 60th birthday on 9 June.

The airport as we know it today was opened by Queen Elizabeth II on 9 June 1958. This was a historic occasion, as it was the world’s first airport to bring together air, road and rail travel in one place as part of a £7.8 million construction project. By creating a direct rail link to the airport, Gatwick became a global travel hub which made journeys much easier for passengers.

Since 1958, Gatwick has constantly evolved through a series of further investment and innovations, like the opening of a second terminal, a brand new control tower, Gatwick Express rail service and the creation of the famous passenger bridge.

Over the years, Gatwick Airport has extended its runway four times, in 1964, 1970, 1973 and 1998. The 1973 extension saw the launch of direct, non-stop flights to the USA as passenger numbers continued to grow and demand for long-haul journeys increased.

The £200m North Terminal opened in 1988, while a £60m investment programme saw both terminals extended in the noughties.

A £2.5 billion investment programme was launched by airport management in 2012 and investment continues to pour into the airport, with the announcement of a new five-year Capital Investment Plan totalling £3.14 billion announced last week.  

Andy Pule, Head of Terminal Operations at Gatwick, said: “Throughout its history, Gatwick has remained at the forefront of innovation, investing billions over the years to ensure that we are constantly pushing the boundaries and delivering the best possible experience for our passengers.

“It’s been an unbelievable 60 years at Gatwick and we have had a magnificent impact in making air travel accessible to millions of people.

“Now, as we move into our seventh decade, we look ahead to continuing our success story, with more global connections regularly being added to our thriving route network, and more pioneering solutions being provided to enhance the passenger experience.”

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Gatwick Airport celebrates 60th birthday