The number of on-time flights departing Gatwick Airport has decreased significantly since the hub was bought by Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP) in 2009, says a newspaper.
Almost 10% of commercial aircraft movements at Gatwick were delayed by more than an hour in 2010, according to the London Evening Standard, a two-fold increase, when compared to the figures for the previous year. The development stands at odds with a promise made by the GIP shortly after the fund forked out £1.5bn for the Crawley hub in October 2009, to “provide a better experience for passengers”.
Many airports experienced higher than normal delays and cancellations in 2010, due to heavy snowfall and a dusting of volcanic ash, but Gatwick’s runway punctuality problems are believed to be an internal issue, rather than something thrust upon the hub by Mother Nature. The true cause of the delays is not clear, but the fact that a spokesperson for Gatwick has not only acknowledged the issue, but presented figures to show improvement during the first few months of 2011, suggests that the GIP is concerned with the London hub’s time-keeping skills.
On-board delays, which can include hold-ups on the taxiway or in the air prior to landing, increased by 60% during 2010. The independent information source, flightontime.info, notes that some passengers had to wait up to 20 minutes between taking their seat and the plane taking off, a good three minutes longer than the national average. Perhaps even worse, however, is the steady increase in the number of passengers that are delayed by three or more hours, up from 0.79% in 2009, to 1.4% in 2010.
Gatwick bosses claim that airplane punctuality has already increased by 10% this year. “We will continue to work with our airlines and their handling agents to drive better performance", the spokesperson promised.