A monorail linking Gatwick’s North and South terminals will reopen in July, just 10 months after it was closed for refurbishment. The £45 million refit is designed to slash the duration of journeys between the two buildings, and will introduce two new hi-tech trains.
In September 2009, airport bosses took an axe to Gatwick’s existing shuttle service and locked the carriages away for the final time. The cut was one of the last developments at Gatwick to take place under the rule of BAA (the British Airports Authority) before the airport was sold to Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP) at the end of the year.
On the day of their retirement, the old trains had travelled more than 2.5 million miles in their 20-year career, equivalent to five return trips to the Moon. In comparison, the replacement bus service has very little to boast about, save for the 20 minutes it adds to journey times.
Gatwick’s new trains have already been lifted onto their new home above the London tarmac, but the monorail is not expected to resume full operation until the summer season. In the meantime, the ‘intra-airport’ bus will continue to ferry passengers from one side of Gatwick to the other.
Airport chief, Ray Melee, was delighted with recent developments at the airport, saying that it was "fantastic news" and "testament to the hard work and skill of the teams involved.”
Gatwick plans to invest £1 billion in improvements over the coming year, almost two thirds of the total value of the airport.