London Gatwick Airport makes £30m available to improve flood resilience

26 February 2014 (Last Updated February 26th, 2014 18:30)

London Gatwick Airport has put aside £30m as a resilience fund to avert future disruption to passengers following the unprecedented flooding on Christmas Eve.

London Gatwick Airport has put aside £30m as a resilience fund to avert future disruption to passengers following the unprecedented flooding on Christmas Eve.

As many as 72 flights were cancelled or delayed on 24 December, leaving thousands of passengers stranded as floods from a nearby river caused power cuts in the North Terminal.

Non-executive director David McMillan was immediately tasked to review flood resilience, disruption and passenger welfare at the airport.

"There are clearly lessons that we and the airport community can learn from the events of Christmas Eve."

McMillan's report suggested actions that Gatwick Airport, airlines and baggage handlers could take to prevent disruption of that scale in the future. All of these recommendations have been accepted.

As well as offering £100 of vouchers to every passenger whose flight had been cancelled, Gatwick made £5m available to fund flood alleviation improvements.

London Gatwick Airport has begun installing new water storage chambers at critical points at the airport; enhancing resilience in the north terminal basement to offer better protection to critical assets; and improving systems used to monitor pumping stations and river levels.

London Gatwick CEO Stewart Wingate said: "We fully accept the recommendations of the McMillan report, and we have already started to take actions in light of his findings.

"There are clearly lessons that we and the airport community can learn from the events of Christmas Eve. It is important we now look to the future and make the necessary improvements to ensure the airport is more resilient to flooding.

"We will work with the airport community to improve all aspects of contingency planning, with a particular focus on passenger welfare in times of disruption."