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On Wednesday 26 February, David McMillan published his independent review of Gatwick’s response following flooding at the airport on Christmas Eve 2014. Commenting on the report David McMillan said:
"Following the major flooding which occurred at Gatwick Airport on Christmas Eve I was asked to conduct a review of the airport's handling of the events that day. I would like to thank the airport, its airlines, baggage handlers and other members of the airport community for their candid participation in this review.
“It is clear that the efforts of the airport community to maintain a full flying programme was not a success, with many passengers experiencing poor levels of service and information before seeing their flights delayed or cancelled. Nonetheless, more than 70% of passengers did fly that day and, after an impressive effort by all, the airport has operated successfully since the time of the incident, despite further episodes of challenging weather.
“In the report I have outlined 27 clear recommendations which cover three key areas - flood and weather resilience; contingency planning arrangements; and passenger welfare. I am pleased that the airport has accepted all these recommendations and has set aside £30 million to help implement any major works which might be needed.
“Whilst the events of Christmas Eve may well be an isolated incident, there are some crucial lessons the airport must address in the coming months with its airline and other partners. It is clear from my conversations across the airport community that all parties are committed to working together to make the airport more resilient and the response to major disruptions more effective.”
26 February 2014
Following the unprecedented weather and the subsequent flooding that caused disruption to passengers at London Gatwick on Christmas Eve, David McMillan, a Non-Executive Director of Gatwick Airport, was commissioned by the Gatwick Airport Board to review the airport community's response on the day. He was also asked to recommend clear actions the airport, airlines, baggage handlers and wider community should implement to ensure the airport becomes more resilient and responds more effectively in times of disruption.
Immediately following the events of Christmas Eve, in addition to offering £100 of high street vouchers to every passenger whose flight had been cancelled, Gatwick made £5 million available to fund further improvements in flood resilience. Projects already underway include installing new water storage chambers at critical points at the airport; enhancing resilience in the North Terminal basement to offer better protection to critical assets; and improving systems used to monitor pumping stations and river levels.
The McMillan Report has now been published, and London Gatwick today has accepted its recommendations in their entirety. Although the flooding that occurred was assessed as a 1 in 100 year event, the airport fully endorses the report’s recommendations as to the need to increase resilience and is announcing the setting aside of a resilience fund of up to £30 million. This will be invested as necessary following detailed implementation planning of David McMillan’s recommendations.
The airport is committed to implementing all the short-term actions which have been recommended by October this year, and we will be working closely with the Environment Agency and other relevant agencies on long-term flood planning for the airport. Alongside projects to better protect the airport and its assets from flooding, significant focus will also be given to improving the airport, airline and wider airport community's Control and Command processes and to the crucial area of passenger welfare.
Stewart Wingate, Chief Executive Officer, London Gatwick, said: “We fully accept the recommendations of the McMillan Report and we have already started to take actions in light of his findings. There are clearly lessons that we and the airport community can learn from the events of Christmas Eve. It is important we now look to the future and make the necessary improvements to ensure the airport is more resilient to flooding. In addition, we will work with the airport community to improve all aspects of contingency planning, with a particular focus on passenger welfare in times of disruption.”
The full report can be read here.
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