Tuesday 5 May 2020

Can Gatwick survive?

Virgin are closing their hub airport at Gatwick. This is very bad news for those who work in and near the airport. Virgin has been a mainstay there for decades and their HQ is down the road in Crawley. In short this could be the end of Virgin Atlantic, although the owners must be hoping it can limp on in reduced form until the airline industry recovers.

British Airways last week said they were also considering closing Gatwick as a hub. BA management have hated Gatwick for years and never made any money there, the Unions pressured them into keeping it open and now they have the chance to focus on Terminal 5 at Heathrow where they are profitable.

Norwegian had overtaken Virgin at Gatwick in terms of transatlantic flights but they are in bankruptcy and negotiating with their creditors. Perhaps they will not come back tof life post Covid-19 anyway?

Thomas Cook and Flybe have already gone bust pre-Covid. This leaves Gatwick very reliant on Easyjet and Ryanair for sustainability. A rought estimate though is that it is about to lose 30% of long-term slot holdings and up to 50%. There won't be many takers for these after Covid for a while.

I can see Gatwick having to suspend activity altogether at one of it terminals for cost saving purposes after the crisis and potentially for the longer-term.

On the basis of so much excess capacity we can stop worrying about Heathrow expansion for a few more years yet (the court case was lost anyway so that was on a backburner in any event).

Airports are money making machines but they have huge safety and logisitcal demands placed on them. They have not had to adpat as now within living memory. Smaller regional aiports that have suffered like this have quickly closed. Perhaps the national infrastructure vision of the Government will force them to do some kind of bail-out to keep services running.

But there are going to be a lot of demands on Government funds and the greenies will be keen to claim an airport scalp for their mis-guided climate change agenda. One to watch.


dearieme said...

Bloody typical. No sooner can you get a direct train from Cambridge to Gatwick than the bloody place looks like closing.

Anyhoo, can we please cancel sodding HS2? Now would be good.

E-K said...

I don't think cheap transport for the masses is coming back. My expat mother-in-law doesn't seem to realise this yet.

I should have been visiting her in Cyprus last week.

E-K said...


Utterly fuming about this.

If he was going to give us economy wrecking, economic depression causing advice then he could have at least had the decency to follow it himself.

What's the betting a) he voted Remain and b) reads The Guardian ?

Raedwald said...

Most small European regional airports rely on payments from the budget carriers. They will now close. It will be a blow to those with holiday homes within reach of Carcasonne or Montpellier - it will take longer, and cost much more to get there. So a knock on blow to local economies, also.

Personally, I'm not bothered. OeBB still runs a superb sleeper service and I'm quite happy to isolate in my own compartment for the route Venice - Amsterdam. I've always hated air travel; the only regular route I found tolerable was back in my smoking days.

I used to fly from Gatwick - Barcelona daytrip - £60 return. I'd bring back 15 or 16 cartons of fags in hand luggage and the saving on UK duty on the first carton paid for the airfare. Flight would leave LGW around 8am and Barca about 4pm - giving time for a relaxed lunch on the Ramblas and be back home in time for Eastenders.

Timbo614 said...

@Raedwald Those were the days eh! "Free" holiday every time courtesy of HMRC provided of course you were going to buy the ciggies anyway ;) I don't even have a valid passport at the moment - expired last year. Can't see it being worth the 80 quid for quite a while.

@E-K I'm with you this time, Ferguson is the worst case I've seen lately of "don't do as I do, do as I say", dickhead is too mild. Same with the Scottish lass. Who do these people think they are - gods immune to the laws they lay down for us.

Gatwick will probably survive just scaled down for a couple of years. Do they own the land or lease it? That might be the deciding factor.

DJK said...

Not just Gatwick and the airlines. Pity Airbus and RR too.

Ferguson seems something of a media whore, so I doubt we've heard the last of him yet. I read the other day that a group of academics was setting up an alternative SAGE. I haven't heard anything from them yet.

Graeme said...

The knock-on effects are huge...as well as RR, there are all those companies who supply parts to RR, the maintenance companies, the catering companies, WH Smith do most of their business at airports these days...the list goes on and on and on

Old Git Carlisle said...

Just think airline pilots can be retained as Train Drivers and Cabin staff for social care!!!!

Engineers for Fleet Auxillary .

Gatwick good building site with good communication links even to Cambridge.

On the other burning subject have SAGE members been properly security screened - suggested question ' are you or have you ever been sharing your bed with left wing activists?

Se Guido Fawkes blog for background

andrew said...

The other (possibly justified) attack on ferguson was that he consistently inflates the 'likely deaths if you dont do what i say' figures.
And there seems to be no loss of credibility in doing that ... and by the way crashing the economy.

Anonymous said...

Ferguson is just crashing the economy before Gov and Boris do.

E-K said...

Old Git Carlisle "Just think airline pilots can be trained as train drivers..."

FFS. Not on top of the ex Royal Marines and Paras we've just taken on... I'm looking incompetent enough as it is.

Anonymous said...

E-K - Ferguson's doxy works for Avaaz, globalist controlled opposition. Their founder has a CV that makes Rory Stewart look like an amateur. PPE, Harvard School Of Government where he interned as an assitant to Kofi Annan, as one does. Connected to lots of Washington think tanks.


E-K said...

Thanks for that.