London’s Gatwick Airport has unveiled a £1.1bn five-year investment plan aimed at ensuring the facility is future-ready.

As per its Capital Investment Programme (CIP), Gatwick Airport will invest in automation and technology such as robotic parking and automated boarding technology.

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Backed by owners VINCI Airports and Global Infrastructure Partners, the CIP will focus on delivering the Pier 6 western extension.

The extension will enable more than half a million passengers at the North Terminal to embark and disembark their aircraft via a jetty-served stand, along with improving gate waiting areas.

The facility will be equipped with automated boarding technology that will use biometrics to process passengers through e-gates straight onto the aircraft.

Additionally, the CIP will focus on technology to optimise the main runway and the construction of a new rapid exit taxiway to allow aircraft to vacate the runway at the ideal location.

A baggage auto re-flighting system will also be deployed and a new car park will be developed to provide 3,250 additional spaces from summer 2021.

The airport will also launch a trial of robotic car parking this autumn in the South Terminal, where a robot will valet park the cars without the need for the keys.

Gatwick Airport will also spend £37m to complement the £150m that the Department for Transport has committed to upgrade the station. Work will start in the first quarter of 2020 and is expected to last two years.

Gatwick Airport CEO Stewart Wingate said: “We always put passengers at the heart of our investment plans and it’s great to see how automation and technology can further enhance the passenger experience.

“The plans explore ways we can grow capacity sustainably, including providing more space in our departure lounges. This investment will support our existing airlines, help attract new airlines, and provide an enhanced service for the millions of people who choose to fly from Gatwick.”

Gatwick’s total investment, including the latest five-year plan, has risen to £3.21bn since 2009. The airport currently serves 46 million passengers per annum.

It recently published a master plan detailing how it will use existing runways more effectively to meet growing demand over the next 15 years.

VINCI Concessions CEO Nicolas Notebaert said: “Belonging to the world’s most extensive and diversified network of airports is a unique opportunity for each one to get inspiration and capture the best airport management worldwide.

“As such, Gatwick’s Capital Investment Programme will benefit from sharing best practice through the VINCI Airports network and tap into the extensive expertise in programme management, customer experience, and innovative new services such as robotic parking.

“We look forward to participating in delivering this great project at Gatwick over the coming years, which is consistent with our global vision of contributing to a more accessible, sustainable, and passenger-focused experience.”