And the much-needed boost to the local economy is all part of what airport chief executive Stewart Wingate predicts will be a ‘strong summer’ for the airport.
He spoke out today (Wednesday) after Gatwick announced its annual results - revealing a loss of £370 million, compared to a £465 milllion loss in 2021.
UK lockdowns and international travel restrictions have hit the airport hard but the lifting of curbs and a current increase in flights means Gatwick’s South Terminal will reopen on March 27 after a two-year closure.
And recruitment is continuing for airline staff, ground handlers, retail staff, and cafe and bar workers.
“March 27 will be a very happy day especially for myself and everybody who gets a livelihood from the airport,” said Stewart.
“This is a day I have looked forward to for many months. We are in a position of rebuilding.”
He said the airport was currently in the process of filling up to 5,000 job vacancies and urged people seeking work to see what roles are available.
The build-up in business follows significant increases in short-haul flights with more routes available, as well as more demand for long-haul flights.
Stewart addedd: “As it was for many airports, 2021 was a difficult year for Gatwick but, despite constantly changing travel restrictions and the emerging Omicron variant, we managed to end the year strongly and reduced our losses compared to the previous year.
“Today, we find ourselves in a very different position. Major announcements from our airlines about significantly increased flying schedules, and from Government on airport slot regulations and the relaxation of travel restrictions, mean we are now looking forward to a strong summer.”
But, he said, fully restoring consumer confidence would ‘take time.’
Meanwhile, plans are still ongoing for Gatwick to bring its northern runway into full-time use for flights taking off.
A report on a public consultation into the proposals is expected to be published at the turn of the year.