London Gatwick Airport (IATA: LGW, ICAO: EGKK) is London's second largest international airport and second busiest by total passenger traffic in the United Kingdom after Heathrow.In 2008, it was the world's 28th-busiest airport in terms of passenger numbersand 9th busiest in terms of international passengers.It is the world's busiest single-runway international airport.
Gatwick is located 5 km (3.1 mi) north of the centre of Crawley, West Sussex, and 45.7 km (28.4 mi) south of London's geographic centre.Gatwick is owned and operated by BAA, which owns and operates six other British airports,and is itself owned by an international consortium led by the Spanish Ferrovial Group.
Passenger numbers peaked in 2007 when the airport handled over 35 million passengers for the first time, however this total reduced by 2.9% in 2008 with 34,205,887 passengers using Gatwick. Of these, 26.4 million used scheduled flights (77.2%) and 7.8 million (22.8%) non-scheduled services.The airport recorded 263,653 aircraft movements during that period.
In 2008, Gatwick celebrated 50 years - Queen Elizabeth II opened the airport on 9 June 1958.
Charter airlines generally do not operate from Heathrow and use Gatwick as a base for London and the South East. From 1978 to 2008, many flights to and from the US used Gatwick because of Heathrow restrictions implemented in the Bermuda II agreement between the UK and the US.(As of mid-2009, Delta Air Lines and US Airways are the only US carriers to continue serving Gatwick from the US.) The airport is a base for scheduled operators Aer Lingus, British Airways (BA), EasyJet, Flybe and Virgin Atlantic. The airport is also a base for charter airlines including Monarch Airlines, Thomas Cook Airlines and Thomson Airways. Gatwick is unique amongst London's airports in having a significant airline presence representing each of the three main air transport provider business models, ie full service, low/no frills and charter.