London Gatwick Airport Increases Capacity With Pier 5 Opening

London Gatwick Airport Opens Pier 5

London Gatwick Airport (LGW) opens the remodel Pier 5 in the North Terminal.

London Gatwick Airport

The airport’s CEO Stewart Wingate and local MP Caroline Ansell were on hand for the ribbon cutting ceremony.

London Gatwick Airport Pier 5 Opening

Pier 5 Opening Ceremony
Source: London Gatwick Airport

Pier 5

The old Pier 5 in the North Terminal had a design for Code C and Code E aircrafts. Code C aircrafts include most narrowbodies from Boeing an Airbus. Code E aircrafts are widebodies with a shorter wingspan.  The following table includes some of the current aircraft families in use by code letter:

Code letterWingspan (1m = 3.28ft)Outer main gear wheel spanTypical aeroplane
A< 15 m< 4.5 mPIPER PA-31/CESSNA 404 Titan
B15 m but < 24 m4.5 m but < 6 mBOMBARDIER Regional Jet CRJ-200/DE HAVILLAND CANADA DHC-6
C24 m but < 36 m6 m but < 9 mBOEING 737 Family /AIRBUS A-320 Family /EMBRAER ERJ 190-100
D36 m but < 52 m9 m but < 14 mBOEING 767 /AIRBUS A-310 Family
E52 m but < 65 m9 m but < 14 mBOEING 777 / BOEING 787 / AIRBUS 330 / AIRBUS 350 Family
F65 m but < 80 m14 m but < 16 mBOEING 747 / AIRBUS A380 Family


The Code E stands being configured for use for two code C aircraft or one code E aircraft. However, the existing stand configuration (Stands 58 to 63) cannot accept two larger Code C aircraft such as Airbus A320 on adjacent stands. 

Old Pier 5 Setup at London Gatwick Airport

Old Pier 5 Setup at London Gatwick Airport


“The purpose of reconfiguring the stands is so that all Code C centre-lines can accommodate the larger Code C aircraft with independent access to each centre line so that aircraft can be arrived and departed independently. The reconfigured layout will provide for up to 6 Code E aircraft stands or 9 Code C aircraft stands” (per original proposal from the Crawley government in 2011).

The £80 (US$115) million project had an tentative original start and end date of 2012 and 2014.  In addition to gate modifications, major developments were made to passenger flow and environmental management. The following is a 3D look at the recognition:

Launching the new facility Gatwick’s CEO Stewart Wingate said: “Today, 40 million people choose Gatwick each year and we have achieved 34 successive months of growth. To keep pace with this unprecedented growth, we need to be smart about how we work with our existing infrastructure while we wait for a Government decision on airport expansion.

“Our investment programme is all about driving that growth, and Pier 5 will be a significant contributor, allowing us to handle greater volumes of aircraft and passengers.”

While Caroline Ansell said: “It is a privilege to open Pier 5 and have the chance to see this substantial investment that will improve the passenger experience and help Gatwick become one of the world’s best airports.

“The airport is vital for the economy of south east England and I have made it very clear on a number of occasions I want to see its continued success.”

Completion February 2016

The new pier can manage up to seven large aircrafts (Code E) and 12 smaller aircrafts (Code C), or a combination of both. This increase enables the airport to handle an additional capacity of 30 flights and up to 4,200 passengers per day. This is very important as London Gatwick Airport wait for government’s plans to expand London area air traffic through runway expansion (News – July 1, 2015).


The airport has been making significant changes to its amenities including the installation of the world’s first interactive sound treatment of the Yangtze River to an airport (News – November 16, 2015).  Unique passenger experiences like this one has prompted new service from Cathey Pacific Airways (News – December 11, 2015).

London Gatwick Airport crossed over the 40 million passenger threshold in 2015. This might be enough to push the airport into the Top 30 busiest list (Find out our prediction of the Top 10 here). The airport is spending another £1 (US$1.44) billion to update its North Terminal (watch video below) and expand footprint for an improvement of passenger experience. This project will take between five to seven passengers and will include new check in, security, retail, gate and arrival areas.

Additional consideration are being made to explore expanding Pier 6 / 7 for more long haul aircraft operations and a direct train link to London Heathrow Airport to transfer passengers.