Following Gatwick Airport’s recent consultation on its Master Plan, the Gatwick Diamond Initiative conducted a survey of businesses in the Gatwick Diamond region to identify attitudes towards the airport’s future plans. 69 per cent of those surveyed stated that being located near Gatwick Airport is important to their business.
However 58 per cent deemed that the airport should be more ambitious in its plans to increase business passengers at the expense of leisure.
“Surely the yield to the airport is higher from a business passenger who is spending more on his seat, transportation etcetera?” said Roderick Wheeler of Gatwick Diamond-based Clockhouse Marketing Ltd.
“Business traffic is also less seasonal providing a steady growth in all year revenue.”
Over the forecast period, the mix of routes is expected to change, with the potential for additional long-haul services from Gatwick.
China and India were selected as the most popular destinations for Gatwick to target to benefit the local economy (87.5% selected China 72.5% of selected India).
56 per cent agreed with Gatwick’s strategy to grow with the current runway two terminal configuration, but to use existing and planned infrastructure more efficiently including an increase in wide body aircraft, average passenger load and North Terminal usage (with little or no increase in peak movements per hour) and pier developments.
As well as considering businesses’ reactions to the Gatwick Airport Master Plan, the survey also checked business concerns. In this respect, the majority of companies anticipated a need to further consolidate and reduce business costs within the next six months.
According to the survey results, consolidation is most likely to occur in staffing levels. The number of companies expecting staffing levels to expand is, unsurprisingly in the current economic climate, at its lowest compared to previous surveys.
The number of companies expecting staffing levels to contract is at its highest in comparison to earlier data.
However, Rosemary French, Executive Director of the Gatwick Diamond Initiative, informs that “Over the course of our research programmes, we’ve seen a steady decline in the number of companies anticipating the need to further consolidate and reduce their overall costs, indicating a steadying of the business confidence trend. We welcome the insight that this survey provides into current issues and are encouraged by the potential for future growth in the Gatwick Diamond area.”
The survey, carried out on behalf of the Gatwick Diamond Initiative by PR and Marketing agency Prowse & Company Limited, researched 58 respondent companies in the region ranging from SMEs through to multi-million turnover businesses.