London Gatwick airport is “ramping up discussions” with airlines about A380 services following clearance to handle commercial operations by Airbus’s ultra-large airliner.
The airport, which has been granted planning permission by its local borough council to operate the A380, has invested £43 million ($68 million) to create six new large aircraft stands, two of which can accommodate the double-decker.
Gatwick was granted planning permission in 2008 for works to the runway to enable A380 diversions in to be handled, but was restricted from handling scheduled or charter operations until more information was available on the impacts of the 525-seater. With that restriction now lifted, the airport says it can “ramp up its discussions with airlines that currently operate them and with airlines which have placed orders for them.”
Gatwick was sold by BAA in 2009 to a group of international investment funds, of which Global Infrastructure Partners is the majority shareholder. The new owners are targeting growth from today’s 32.5 million passengers a year to at least 40 million passengers by 2018. The airport says that operating larger aircraft is one way in which it plans to drive traffic.