Mr Spaceman
Topic Author
Posts: 2723
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Is Gatwick The 6th Busiest Intl Airport?

Sun Oct 06, 2002 1:35 am

Hi guys.

I was looking at the website for the London-Gatwick International Airport (LGW/EGKK) which claims that Gatwick is the busiest single runway airport in the world and the second largest airport in the UK. That info sounds fine to me, however, I was surprised that they also claim to be the "sixth busiest International Airport in the world!"

The reason I'm surprised about Gatwick being the 6th busiest Intl Airport in the world is because it only has one runway and thus can't receive parallel approaches or have aircraft arriving and departing at the same time.

So, does anyone know how many aircraft Gatwick Intl Airport handles per hour (arrival & departures) on average? It must be a heck of a lot, to claim #6 busiest worldwide.

How can Gatwick have almost as much air traffic volume as Atlanta, JFK, LAX, Toronto, Hong Kong, Miami, Heathrow, O'Hare, etc, etc, etc....with only one runway?

Gatwick's website (click on About Gatwick).

http://www.baa.co.uk/main/airports/gatwick/


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Photo © Gregory Bajor



Chris  Smile




"Just a minute while I re-invent myself"
 
Rick767
Posts: 2613
Joined: Sun Jan 30, 2000 8:11 pm

RE: Is Gatwick The 6th Busiest Intl Airport?

Sun Oct 06, 2002 2:05 am

The "Busiest International airports" of the world are graded based on the number of International passengers passing through the terminals every year.

That is why LHR is the busiest international airport in the world (mosly international passengers).

Atlanta, JFK, LAX, ORD all have relatively few international passengers. Passengers flying from Gatwick to Paris and Amsterdam (much shorter distances than most US domestic routes) are still "International" passengers.

One thing I never quite worked out though, was how LGW ever got the status of "busiest single runway airport in the world", given that is has two runways... surely the fact that both cannot be used simultaneously is pretty irrelevant? It still has two....
I used to love the smell of Jet-A in the morning...
 
Mr Spaceman
Topic Author
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RE: Is Gatwick The 6th Busiest Intl Airport?

Sun Oct 06, 2002 3:09 am

Hello Rick767.

Thanks for your reply.

OK, so the criteria for deciding what Intl Airport's are the busiest doesn't have anything to do with how many aircraft are busy coming and going per hour, it has to do with how many people can be packed into them.

That makes me think that almost every airliner landing and taking off at Gatwick must be a fully loaded 747-400 if the decision on who's the busiest is based on how many times the terminal's turnstyles are spinning.

I wonder if ATC controllers at huge multi-runway airports are disturbed by this method of deciding who's the busiest worldwide. If I was a controller in an airport's tower that handles 70 aircraft per hour and there's another airport down the road that handles only 30 aircraft per hour but are considered busier because of how many people are visiting...I'd be pissed! That doesn't seem fair.

To me, what makes an airport busy is how many aircraft are flying in and out of it, not how many passengers they are carrying. But that's just my opionion.

Regarding your statement about Gatwick having 2 runways, I noticed that too. It almost looks like the second runway is a taxiway that has some runway markings on it. St. Petersburg / Clearwater Intl Airport (PIE/KPIE) in Florida obviously has this for runway 17 and 17R. I wonder why?

Another photo of Gatwick.
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St. Petersburg Airport.
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Chris  Smile



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covert
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RE: Is Gatwick The 6th Busiest Intl Airport?

Sun Oct 06, 2002 3:36 am


Spaceman,
Wherever a statistic is shown, the term is also described...in this case by passengers passing through. There are also statistics for most aircraft movements, for example, I don't think Bien Hoa Air Base had that many jetways or check-in counters for passengers, but they took the record for all time take-offs and landings with over a million take-offs and landings in 1972.
If you want the busiest by terms of movements, I have heard of Ohare.
I also have seen Atlanta Hartsfield somewhere, but I don't know what exact record they hold

So, as you can see, there is a statistic for everyone--just look in Janes Directory and the Guiness Book of Records...

Sincerely,
covert
none
 
TurbineBeaver
Posts: 1511
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RE: Is Gatwick The 6th Busiest Intl Airport?

Sun Oct 06, 2002 4:06 am

Mr Spaceman,

Interesting you should post that picture of St. Petersburg/Clearwater Int'l (KPIE). I flew there yesterday for dinner with a couple buddies, and they sure have two parallels. We landed on 35L and then, when we left, it was night time and they use 35L strictly as a taxiway, and we tookoff on 35R.

TB
 
Mr Spaceman
Topic Author
Posts: 2723
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RE: Is Gatwick The 6th Busiest Intl Airport?

Mon Oct 07, 2002 4:00 am

Hi guys.

>Covert, I understand what you are saying. But, sometimes statistics are not explained to us regarding what they're based on, so they can be confusing. Perhaps O'Hare Intl is the busiest...it certainly has more than "ONE" runway.

Does anyone know what the busiest airport in the world is, based on how many aircraft movements are handled per hour? (I don't have a Guiness Book of Records).

>TurbineBeaver, I hope you had a great time with your friends and that your dinner was mighty fine. A evening like that is a beautiful thing. I've bounced into St. Petersburg/Clearwater Airport many times because my parents have a winter get-away home nearby in Largo (a 15 minute drive away). KPIE is a very nice and relaxing airport. I guess they use 17R/35L for GA aircraft when a UPS 757, etc, or a United States Coast Guard C-130 are cleared for 17L/35R.

Chris  Smile
"Just a minute while I re-invent myself"
 
covert
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Joined: Sun Oct 21, 2001 1:02 am

RE: Is Gatwick The 6th Busiest Intl Airport?

Mon Oct 07, 2002 4:32 am

Atlanta's Hartsfield International Airport is the world's busiest in terms of sheer passenger numbers, with 80,162,407 people passing through in 2000, the latest year for which statistics are available. This represents a 2.7% increase over 1999.

Guinness

I'll find passenger sometime...
none
 
covert
Posts: 1528
Joined: Sun Oct 21, 2001 1:02 am

RE: Is Gatwick The 6th Busiest Intl Airport?

Mon Oct 07, 2002 4:35 am

none
 
Mr Spaceman
Topic Author
Posts: 2723
Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2001 5:09 am

RE: Is Gatwick The 6th Busiest Intl Airport?

Mon Oct 07, 2002 5:05 am

Hello Covert.

"Holly Smokes!!!" Thats a great website. I appreciate the effort you put in to link it.

I noticed that Gatwick isn't near the top of the list for either passenger volume or aircraft movements.

Companies can claim anything they want....but actual figures are good to see.

Thanks again,

Chris  Smile

"Just a minute while I re-invent myself"
 
covert
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Joined: Sun Oct 21, 2001 1:02 am

RE: Is Gatwick The 6th Busiest Intl Airport?

Mon Oct 07, 2002 5:23 am


Don't you find it interesting that most of the busiest airports in terms of aircraft movements are normal US airports, but when you get down to how many people are actually flying through them, only a couple make it into the top 30...

Sincerely,
covert
none
 
airchabum
Posts: 754
Joined: Sat Oct 20, 2001 8:21 am

RE: Is Gatwick The 6th Busiest Intl Airport?

Mon Oct 07, 2002 10:30 am

You can make statistics show anything you want and the BAA obviously prefer to describe LGW as the '6th busiest Intl airport' rather than the '20th busiest' (in terms of pax). Yes it has technically got 2 runways but they're never used simultaneously as they are too close together. This '2nd runway' is only opened when the main rwy is blocked or closed for maintenance/resurfacing.

The single rwy is indeed extremely busy and at peak times (ie most of the time) the take-offs and landings are constant. From memory I think the rwy capacity is around 40 movements per hour and apart from a bit of a lull in the afternoon it operates at peak capacity from 6am onwards...the ATC guys do a brilliant job!

Not all mvts are fully laden 747's but a high proportion of them are Transatlatic wide-bodies or high density charter flights (A300s, 757s, 767s), the number of commuter mvts having declined over the years.
Biggidy biggidy bong
 
covert
Posts: 1528
Joined: Sun Oct 21, 2001 1:02 am

RE: Is Gatwick The 6th Busiest Intl Airport?

Mon Oct 07, 2002 10:45 am

If you think about it, it would be simpler to keep track of things from the tower when there is only one runway. Less confusing...
none
 
Whiskeyflyer
Posts: 223
Joined: Mon May 13, 2002 3:07 pm

RE: Is Gatwick The 6th Busiest Intl Airport?

Mon Oct 07, 2002 4:53 pm

I think the expression is "There are lies, big lies and then statistics". Its the marketing people of the airports who go around doing this, so they can attract more shops, government grants etc etc etc. They don't put a little asterix after there quote and then put in small print the criteria they used.
To get a government grant the airport I work at used take offs to show how busy they where (amazing how many more landings you get when you include training aircraft doing touch and goes.......) but they didn't tell a lie its just they didn't tell the whole truth.
Depends how smart the person using the supplied data is that counts, so they can ask the right questions.
PS Outside of aviation example of teh same technique but a nice marketing ploy. The USA has the World Series (how many countries in the world take part......that makes us non americans smile)

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