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Gatwick reopens ‘dormant’ terminal as UK travel recovers

Gatwick airport
Gatwick is expecting a surge in travellers this summer

Gatwick Airport will reopen its South Terminal in March – after nearly two years being dormant – to help meet the expected strong demand this summer and beyond as confidence in international travel returns.

The news comes on the day that testing requirements for those arriving into the UK have been eased significantly, with fully vaccinated passengers (two doses) and those under the age of 18 no longer needing to take pre-departure and post-arrival tests. 

Flights have been operating solely from the airport’s North Terminal since 15 June 2020 to save on costs, but activity will return to the South Terminal from Sunday 27 March, as Gatwick enters what it expects to be a busy summer season.

British Airways has already announced it will restart its short-haul services from Gatwick from 29 March, with 35 European routes added. BA’s low-cost sister airline, Vueling, will also be expanding its operations, adding five short-haul routes and basing three aircraft at Gatwick.  

Wizz Air will significantly increase its operations from the airport with 18 new routes, while easyJet, Gatwick’s biggest airline, has taken up more slots and plans its busiest flying schedule ever from the airport.  

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Gatwick and Edinburgh airports are owned by Global Infrastructure Partners and today’s announcement coincides with an expected uptick in bookings and flights north of the border, backed by Scottish government support for struggling travel agents.

New Norwegian airline Flyr will operate a route between Edinburgh and Oslo up to three times a week with the first flight departing on 8 April. It will be a year-round service.

The Scottish Government yesterday announced that the Scottish outbound travel sector – an industry which has suffered severe trading difficulties since early 2020 – will share £3.5m.

Mike Tibbert, president of the Scottish Passenger Agents’ Association, said: “Travel agents in Scotland are greatly relieved today.”

The association held a meeting with the Minister for business, trade, tourism and enterprise Ivan McKee as part of ongoing efforts to gain sectoral support for its members.

Mr Tibbert said it was a constructive meeting, and the minister took on board the points about the negative income which had faced travel agents due to the financial model for outbound travel.

“Mr McKee understood the pressures which these businesses have faced.

“After two years of fighting the corner of travel agents and the travel industry in Scotland, our efforts have paid off.”

Mr Tibbert appealed to those who have left the industry because of mounting pressures to consider returning.

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