Park and Go: Gatwick Airport Parking - Airport History

Please find below a brief history of Gatwick Airport which we hope that you will find useful. If you wish to make a booking then please click on the appropriate link on your left. Alternatively you can call our office, where one of our helpful staff will only be happy to help.

Gatwick is the busiest single runway airport in the world, the second largest airport in the UK and the sixth busiest international airport in the world.

The name Gatwick can be dated back to 1241, when Richard de Warwick assigned his rights to some land in the area to a John de Gatwick and his heirs. Part of the land later became known as the Manor of Gatwick and remained in the de Gatwick’s family until the 14 century.

  • Number of terminals: 2 (North and South)
  • Number of passengers: over 31 million
  • Number of airlines: 70
  • Number of destinations: around 200
  • Number of runways: 1

Gatwick was purchased by The Gatwick Race Course Company in 1890 and in 1891 was opened as a fully functional racecourse with its own railway station. Gatwick Airport itself began life in 1930 as a small flying club (Surrey Aero Club) when the then owner Ronald Walters, obtained his first flying licence for £1 1s. By 1931, the Club saw an increasing number of jockeys and race goers arriving by air for meetings at the adjacent racecourse.

The Airport was requisitioned during the Second World War by the Air Ministry and was to be used by the RAF. They later extended the requisition to include part of the racecourse. After the war Gatwick was retained under requisition to be operated by the Ministry of Civil Aviation for civilian use.

In 1952, the proposed development of Gatwick as an alternative to Heathrow Airport was approved by the Government and in 1956 was closed to enable work to begin. It took just under three years to complete and the cost totaled£7.8 million. It was on 9 June 1958 that Gatwick was officially re-opened by Her Majesty, The Queen. In subsequent years Gatwick was extended and improved to accommodate the increased demands placed on it and in 1994, the new North and the first phase of the South Terminal International Departure Lounges were opened. The cost for both lounges totaled £30 million

In the years 2000 and 2001 there had been extensive additions and alterations to both the North and South Terminals offering increased seating capacity and a wider range of shops and catering facilities at a cost of 64.5 million.