Gatwick calls for better rail links

GATWICK Airport needs to develop better rail links according to a report published by industry experts this week.

The report, by Arup, outlines a vision for ensuring that the UK’s busiest rail network and its second largest airport are properly integrated, supporting the UK’s future international connectivity and the needs of the commuter.

It also called for policies which links airports, the rail industry and the Government to improve connections between different parts of the UK’s transport infrastructure.

Guy Stephenson, Gatwick Airport’s chief commercial officer, said: “Passengers’ journeys from plane to train to the heart of London from Gatwick are the fastest and most convenient of all London airports and airlines are choosing to operate from Gatwick because of our connectivity to London.

“However, the report shows that a passenger’s impressions of Gatwick’s rail links lag behind other London airports and the capabilities of the trains on the Gatwick Express rank below equivalents at Heathrow, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur and Stockholm airports. We have the capacity to handle more flights and strengthen our country’s trade links with emerging markets. But if Gatwick is to continue attracting the new routes the economy needs, its rail links must improve in quality and extent.”

The report also claims that the number of people travelling between Gatwick and London by rail could increase by 30 per cent in the next eight years as Gatwick currently operates at 78 per cent capacity.

Arup also proposed that any new operator must provide a direct, express rail link to London with new carriages and re-introduce an on-board ticketing service.