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London Gatwick Airport: BA and Norwegian drive widebody growth

British Airways CEO Alex Cruz has said that the airline is considering adding one or two more widebodies to its fleet at London Gatwick (LGW). This would extend a multi-year trend of growth by BA in its widebody operations at London's number two airport.

According to data from OAG Schedules Analyser, 15.5% of BA's LGW frequencies and 25.8% of its LGW seats will be operated by widebodies in summer 2019. This compares with 8.5% of frequencies and 15.2% of seats 10 years ago and 12.6% of frequencies and 21.1% of seats in summer 2012 (the year before LCC Norwegian entered).

LGW's twin aisle market has been stimulated in recent years by Norwegian's 2013 entry and BA's response and by more recent widebody entry by China Eastern, Qatar Airways, China Airlines, Rwandair Express, Cathay Pacific, Westjet and Thomas Cook Airlines. BA is still the biggest widebody operator by frequencies, but has been overtaken by Norwegian on widebody seat count.

Rapid widebody growth at LGW has driven faster growth in average seats per frequency than at all other London airports apart from London City. In addition, it has outpaced Heathrow's widebody growth, taking LGW's share of all London twin aisle frequencies from 10% to 15% over the past decade.

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