Gatwick celebrates 80th anniversary of first flight and serves 41 million passengers annually for the first time ever
- May marks the 80th anniversary of the very first flight from Gatwick Airport, to Paris
- Since then Gatwick has grown to become the World’s most efficient single-runway airport and this week has served 41 million passengers for the first time ever
- Throughout its history Gatwick has played host to many prominent figures including Queen Elizabeth II and John F Kennedy
17th May marks the 80th anniversary of the very first commercial flight from Gatwick, to Paris. Since then the airport has grown to become the world’s most efficient single runway airport, with a flight taking off or landing nearly every minute, and this week has served 41 million passengers for the first time ever.
Gatwick’s first flight was to Paris with the single fare costing 4 pounds 5 shillings (the equivalent today is approximately £160), including the first class train fare from London Victoria. Paris was one of just five scheduled routes served from the airport in its first year of operation, the others being Malmö, Amsterdam, Hamburg and Copenhagen. The number of routes at Gatwick has grown considerably since then with the airport flying to more than 200 destinations in 90 countries today.
Over the course of the last 80 years, Gatwick has played host to many prominent figures including Queen Elizabeth II, Princess Diana and John F Kennedy plus key aviation milestones including the first ever Virgin Atlantic flight taking off from the airport on 22 June 1984.
Timeline of key Gatwick events
17th May 1936:
First flight from Gatwick Airport departs, to Paris
6th June 1936:
Gatwick Airport is officially opened by the Secretary of State for Air, Lord Swinton
1939 – 1945:
Gatwick is closed to civil aviation during the World War II and requisitioned in support of the war effort
9th June 1958:
Gatwick airport is reopened by Queen Elizabeth II
22nd June 1984:
Virgin Atlantic’s first commercial flight departs from Gatwick to New York
Queen Elizabeth II opens the North Terminal
easyJet began operating from Gatwick