Case Study – London Gatwick Capacity Utilisation

The airport operator of London Gatwick the world’s busiest single runway had an initiative to drive utilisation of its infrastructure with an aim of increasing runway movements to 55 per hour at peak hours and overall daily movements. Gatwick has traditionally been a leisure dominated airport with seasonality causing fragmentation of the schedule resulting in poor utilisation across the season. For example a summer peak flight for 6 weeks preventing a full season operation as the fragments prevent valuable full season flying from obtaining a common seasonal time. In recent seasons the demand profile of the airport has changed with increased demand for new scheduled year round operations. Once fragmentation occurs generally there will be season upon season of fragmented growth thus making it harder to line up schedules and creating an unappealing environment for scheduled traffic to operate.

ACL embarked on a campaign to reduce the impact of fragmentation by utilising it’s existing relationships with the LGW base carrier community to highlight this problem and the effect that it has had on not only their own growth plans but those of future new entrants which provide a range of potential connections.

Historic fragments cannot be removed as grandfather rights need to be respected. By demonstrating new and different ways to schedule flights that integrate into an airlines wider network, ACL has been able to significantly reduce the volume of short season flying held. ACL have turned 7 week historic fragments into 22 weeks with these lines of flying being operated.

The above initiative has resulted in a maximum runway delivery of 58 movements in a given hour from a declared capacity of 55 movements and saw the busiest day movements increase from 904 in S14 to 948 in S16 an increase of 4.8%.

This success has been achieved through ACLs proactivity working with airlines to achieve voluntary moves.

The growth success can be seen in the following chart:



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