I know this looks like rather a long post, but please read on! Thanks.
I know some of this has already been discussed, but there are still certain things I can't get my head around. I visited the Skyview at LGW a number of times between the years 2001 until it was closed in April 2004, for which reason I do not understand why it was closed. Some of you may remember, as I do, the familiar lineup at the South Terminal during the morning and early afternoon where there was a mixture of American Airlines and Continental Airlines 777-200s along the main pier and the satellite terminal was occupied by Virgin Atlantic 747s, Northwest DC-10s and US Airways A330-300s and 767-200s. Although on occasions some of these aircraft were on the main South Terminal pier.
I have gone through hundreds upon hundreds of pages of LGW archive movements using the LGW/LHR Archive website which was very helpful. It shows arriving and departing flights along with the flight numbers, dates and times of the flights in and out of LGW, although I am not sure if these times are the actual arrival and departure times or pushback times, towing times etc?
What I find is that almost all of the US flights including AA, CO, NW, US and VS arrive early morning and stay on the ground for around 4-5 hours, sometimes 6 or 7 hours and sometimes even as much as 8 hours! They all seem to be US carriers that do this though. My question is were these aircraft parked at the gate for hours on end, say 5 hours, or were the aircraft towed to remote stands as it would take quite a lot of time up at the gates, when other aircraft might need to use them, especially as this was a daily occurrence in the early 2000s?
Also what was the reason for keeping them at LGW for so many hours?
These days, for example the US Airways daily flight from LHR-PHL arrives at 09:25 and departs LHR at 12:05, which is just over 2.30hrs ground time and the US Airways flight LGW-CLT has a ground time of just over 3 hours at LGW.
Now these ground times significantly differ from the ground times 9/10 years ago at London Gatwick, so I am wondering why the times are so different now?
For example back in the early 2000s US740 from Pittsburgh was scheduled to arrive at 05:55am at LGW, and the first US departure of the day was at 11:15am to Pittsburgh as US741, sometimes using the same aircraft as the 05:55 arrival, which means a ground time of at least 5 hours and 20 minutes. Sometimes the aircraft that came in as early as 05:55am was there for even longer at LGW as it operated a later service to either Charlotte or Philadelphia, so an even longer ground time.
I wondered if anyone could help me with my questions I have above?
I would greatly appreciate any feedback anyone has regarding this information.
Thank you for your time.