Britain’s second largest airport closed for two days last week due to the heavy snow and ice accumulating on its runway.
As forecasters warned that freezing conditions would once again hit the UK next week, Gatwick’s chief executive officer Stewart Wingate said today that he would be spending over £1 billion to stock the airport with cold weather supplies. Included on his list are snowploughs.
As the Gatwick bosses pledge to inject more funding into colder weather preparedness, Mr Wingate said that last winter’s events led officials to conclude that it was a one in twenty year thing. However, he adds that here officials are again predicting similar conditions to last year.
According to Mr Wingate, this proves that last winter’s events and this year’s record temperatures make it a solid choice to invest in snow-clearing kits. Gatwick airport’s new owners, US-based investment firm Global Infrastructure Partners will be footing the bill for the supplies.
When snows set in last week at Gatwick, nearly 120,000 passengers were stuck in the city. As the freezing weather hit, 600 of those passenger were left waiting in the terminal as roads and rail links shut down.
Mr Wingate said that he had to stay in his car overnight as the M25 was blocked and that 150,000 tonnes of snow had hit Gatwick’s only runway. He added that more snowploughs were needed and that last year, the airport had had to borrow 50 vehicles to help clear the snowfall quickly enough.
Gatwick changes hands last year, after BAA, which owns Heathrow, put the airport on the market prior to the Competition Commission gave the results for its investigation.Author's Google+ page