Manchester Airport Parking

History of Gatwick Airport

The name Gatwick comes from the Gatwick family who had owned the land since the 13th century. It wasn’t until the 1890’s that the land changed ownership when it became a racecourse and is famous for holding the Grand National during the First World War. After the war the land was still used as a racecourse but in 1930 a flying club was established for customers attending the races, jockeys and owners.

The most important development was when Morris Jackman took over in 1930 forming Airports Limited to turn the land to a fully functioning airport serving London and the South East of England and hence Gatwick airport was born. The first flights were to Paris, Belfast, Malmo, Hamburg and Copenhagen. Gatwick railway station was erected in 1935 connecting to the London Brighton line connected to a small terminal by a simple subway.

As with all UK airports the Air Ministry took control of the airport during the Second World War and after the war the Ministry of Civil Aviation. In the early 50’s it was decided that Gatwick would be established as London’s second airport.

Gatwick Airport Established

The airport was closed for 3 years between 1956 and 1958 for a complete makeover costing an astronomical £8 million including a dedicated railway station, new runway, terminal and innovative piers connecting the terminal direct to aircraft.

Airports constantly need updating to meet the demands of increasing passenger levels, larger and quicker aircraft, environmental changes, technical advances and increased competition from other airports.

The following is a brief list of renovations, improvements and re-developments.


Terminal and Pier Extensions


1983  £200 million spent on the new North terminal.

1984 Largest control tower in Europe built.

1994 North terminal further developed and preparations for establishing a second terminal called South terminal.

2000 South terminal and lounge facilities finished at a cost of 30 million.

2001 North Terminal £35 million revamped .


Runway Extensions

Runway extended to over 8000 feet in 1964 and again in 1970 and 1973.


Ownership Changes

British Airports Authority established in 1965.

1986 Airports Act provides for the for privatisation of the British Airports Authority with the transfer to BAA plc.

1987 BAA floated on the London stock market.

Passenger Numbers

2 million barrier broken in 1968.

31 million in 2005

Other Developments

Gatwick Express non stop from Victoria station.


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