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Bechtel’s Impact Report

London Gatwick Airport

United Kingdom
Gatwick Airport Runway Worker

Improving the passenger experience in the UK's second largest airport

Gatwick's owner-manager aims for it to become London’s 'airport of choice'―a major endeavor in one of the world’s busiest air-transport markets. To achieve this ambition, the airport focuses on the passenger experience by investing in development work to minimize queues, move customers through the airport quickly and efficiently, and help ensure that planes depart on time. Bechtel was selected in 2009 by Global Infrastructure Partners, the owner of Gatwick, to help manage the airport’s $2 billion capital investment program.

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Improving performance while keeping the airline operational

Gatwick stands as the United Kingdom’s second-largest airport and the world’s busiest single-runway airport. The Bechtel team, in partnership with Gatwick Airport Limited, has successfully completed a number of projects to dramatically improve performance and passenger satisfaction. We’ve performed all of this work without jeopardizing Gatwick's continued operation and its ability to serve more than 43 million passengers a year.

The $124 million North Terminal extension included additional check-in areas, a new multi-storey North Terminal short-term car park, and reconfiguring and renovating Pier 5. The developments enabled more than 4 million passengers per year to travel through the extension.

At the South Terminal, Bechtel managed the delivery of a new, state-of-the-art security area and reconfiguration of the Pier 2 stands and gate rooms. Bechtel and Gatwick Airport Limited also constructed the $51 million South Terminal forecourt and replaced the airport's oldest pier facility, Pier 1.

In 2018, the team began working to double the size of Pier 6, one of the buildings where aircraft dock. Construction could only begin once two major enabling projects were completed: moving the stand for the A380 aircraft from its existing location on Pier 6 to a newly created stand on Pier 5; and widening and re-aligning a taxiway to enable the A380 to move between the runway and its new stand so as to accommodate its 80-metre wingspan. The final stage last of was to building the western extension of Pier 6 itself.

In 2020, the planned extension of Pier 6 and Bechtel’s work was put on hold due to the impacts of the Covid pandemic. The Pier 6 program is anticipated to restart again in the future in line with anticipated airline growth.

BIM decreases environmental impact

Bechtel's use of building information modeling (BIM) at London Gatwick enabled us to model energy performance, interior environmental quality, minimize waste during construction and maximize efficiencies during construction and operation. 

We project $26 million in savings during its 30-year whole-life cost from renewable energy, water retention, and mechanical configurations for some 30 airport buildings, two terminals, and six piers.

Tough but achievable sustainability targets

In 2008, Gatwick gave itself 10 years to achieve its sustainability goals. These included specifics such as:

  • Reducing carbon emissions by 50 percent against a 1990 baseline
  • Reducing energy against the same baseline by 20 percent
  • Cutting water consumption by 20 percent
  • Recycling 70 percent of waste and sending no waste to landfills

Another project in the Gatwick capital program establishes a means for storing concrete waste on site to be processed and reused in future construction projects.

Calculating sustainability ROI

Bechtel helped develop processes by which the owners can assess their capital investments based on long-term life-cycle costs, taking into account cost savings of energy reduction and other sustainable design initiatives. The program uses benchmark information on sustainability initiatives from other airports in Europe and the United States.

By collecting such data as total installed and maintenance costs, Bechtel calculates approximate return-on-investment periods, enabling our customer to justify potentially higher initial costs in exchange for lower operating costs.

Find out more by reading the Airport World article Delivering Sustainability