In an exciting move set to fortify South East’s economic landscape, Gatwick Airport yesterday unveiled a new air link between London Gatwick and Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, operated by Saudia airlines. This development arrives in the wake of increased trade between the regions, with 17% of all goods and services exported from Sussex, Surrey, and Kent to Saudi Arabia in the fiscal year 2022-2023.
This trade link aims to strengthen the exchange of key commodities such as manufacturing and engineering goods, bio-life sciences, and pharmaceutical items. The introduction of this new service is predicted to enhance trade volumes and bolster job creation. Remarkably, most cargo at Gatwick is shipped within the cargo holds of long-haul passenger flights.
The service is scheduled to operate six times per week, with plans to upgrade to daily flights from August onwards. Should Gatwick’s Northern Runway be used regularly, the airport anticipates that cargo volumes would more than double, providing additional support for local businesses and job creation.
Jonathan Pollard, Chief Commercial Officer, London Gatwick, stated that the airport continually opens new global routes to stimulate job growth, commerce, and opportunities for businesses across the South East. He added that this new connection, via Saudia’s base in Jeddah, would offer excellent onward links to destinations like Pakistan, Malaysia, India, and Bangladesh.
Ana Christie, Chief Executive of the Sussex Chamber of Commerce, expressed her delight about Gatwick’s expansion into Saudi Arabia, one of the largest export markets for Sussex businesses. According to Christie, this new route will enable businesses to extend their international reach, discover new opportunities in Saudi Arabia, and attract inward investment back into the area, thereby stimulating economic growth.
Adding to its existing 45 long-haul destinations, London Gatwick initiated services to Jeddah and Washington DC yesterday, and plans to commence several new long-haul routes to the USA, Asia, and Africa in the coming months.
To bolster its long-term future, Gatwick is preparing a planning application to bring the airport’s Northern Runway into routine use for departures only. This low-impact plan is expected to enhance resilience, reduce delays, and provide a significant boost to the regional economy by supporting trade, tourism, and job creation.