Busy airport clocks up a new world record

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A £186 million extension to Gatwick Airport has heralded a new world record - and the airport’s busiest-ever May.

The extension - a new pier - is one of the largest projects the airport has ever undertaken and replaces an old ‘Pier 1’ which was originally opened by the Queen in 1958.

It houses a new baggage system for the South Terminal and state-of-the-art passenger gate rooms.

The new system allows up to 2,600 bags to be checked up to 18 hours before departure – reducing queues by spreading out check-in times.

Four new taxiways have also been constructed – reducing delays on the airfield – with new dual boarding facilities cutting queues at passenger gates.

Airport officials say the changes led to an increase in long haul passenger numbers and a 40 per cent increase in passengers to North America last month.

Stewart Wingate, Gatwick CEO, said: “Our new Pier 1 supports Gatwick’s mission to become London’s airport of choice and helps the airport on its journey to become one of the most efficient in the world.

“These new state-of-the-art facilities make it easy for airlines to choose Gatwick as an operating base and means our passengers will enjoy even better customer service.”

More than a quarter of a million passengers flew from Gatwick to destinations in North America in May.

The month’s figures took Gatwick’s annual total passenger numbers to 41,123,000 – a new world record for a single runway airport.