London Gatwick Airport Adds New Yangtze River Experience

London Gatwick Airport North Terminal Skybridge A Living River Installation

Walking through a skybridge can be boring and non-inspirational. London Gatwick Airport (LGW) fixes that by bringing the sounds of China’s Yangtze River over the two minute walk across the bridge.

London Gatwick Airport

London Gatwick Airport is 29.5 miles (47.2 kilometers) south of Central London and is accessible by multiple intermodal options.

To celebrate the long-term partnership between the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the HSBC Water Programme, the airport created a new sound installation that adds a new layer of interactive experience for passengers walking through the North Terminal’s Skybridge.

London Gatwick Airport North Terminal Skybridge
London Gatwick Airport North Terminal Skybridge
Source: HSBC

As passengers pass through the bridge, they will be immersed into life of the almost 4,000 miles (6,300 kilometers) long Yangtze River known as the Chang Jiang and is the longest in Asia.

Yangtze River
Aerial Shot of Yangtze River

Called A Living River, the installation takes more than 100 hours of authentic sounds from 35 locations on the Chinese river, and then transmits them through 160 speakers along the 590 feet (369 meter) walkway. The soundscape is programmed to react to the time of day, the weather on the river and even responds to the movements of individual travelers, providing each passenger with a unique sound experience. There are different photographs of the river spread along the Skybridge to complement the experience.

London Gatwick Airport North Terminal Skybridge A Living River Installation
London Gatwick Airport North Terminal Skybridge A Living River Installation
Source: HSBC

Guy Stephenson, chief commercial officer, London Gatwick, said, “This truly unique soundscape perfectly illustrates Gatwick’s ambition to deliver innovative and memorable experiences for our passengers to enjoy.

“We take extra pride that we are achieving this by working with a major global business such as HSBC to promote their water program, in partnership with WWF.

Nick Ryan, the sound designer for A Living River, said, “I believe that sound, and the act of listening, can entirely transform our sense of place and thus, ourselves. I wanted to design a highly immersive audio installation that could ‘relocate’ listeners, for an instant, to the banks of the Yangtze River, with a tangible, first person sensory experience of its pace, beauty and diversity. Using ground breaking technical and creative approaches to audio, and audio technology, we’ve created a spellbinding journey down an evolving, responsive and living river.”


Many airport features long walkways and pedestrian bridges. London Gatwick Airport uses its own North Terminal Skybridge to feature a completely new unique art installation that would surly be a focal point for the passengers’ experience.

Similar to Singapore Changi Airport’s new Star Wars exhibit (News – November 13, 2015), many airports are exploring options to unique experiences that could increase passenger satisfaction and engagement. Given different competitive options available, a new approach may be the determining factor to attract passengers if other variables (e.g price, destination options, etc) are the same.

As airlines like Emirates continue to expand into London area airports (News – August 6, 2015), passengers would be able to enjoy something unexpected.

Final Call

London Gatwick Airport is transforming itself into a premier London airport by creating new passenger experiences. This will be key to attract more airlines as the airport authorities decide on next steps in expanding airports in the area (News – July 1, 2015).

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