Transport Secretary visits Gatwick Airport
12th September 2018 – Crawley Observer
By Staff Reporter
Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling visited Gatwick Airport on September 6.
The airport was celebrating a record year of long haul flight growth, and was showcasing a number of new projects.
Mr Grayling was invited to see the work in progress on a new 60,000 square metre Boeing service hangar site, which is due to open early next year.
A statement from Gatwick Airport said: 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.
From left: Sir Michael Arthur, Chris Grayling and Stewart Wingate at the Boeing hanger site.
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 GDP 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. Launched this summer, Bluecity is the only company operating a pan-London 100% electric vehicle sharing service, with over 300 pick-up and drop-off points. 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.
The Secretary of State for Transport, Chris 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, 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.”