Gatwick will reopen the North Terminal and increase its operating hours next week as it prepares for more flights to resume.
The UK’s second-busiest airport said it had installed sanitiser stations and protective screens throughout its buildings and introduced regular deep cleaning and physical distancing measures to protect passengers and staff.
With travellers required to wear a face covering in the airport, face mask vending machines will be made available.
The biggest airline at Gatwick, EasyJet, is restarting domestic flights from 15 June, adding to a handful of carriers and routes currently operating.
The North Terminal, one of two at Gatwick, was closed at the start of April after coronavirus ended most leisure and holiday flights. Operating hours were cut to a short afternoon window, but the airport will now be open from 6am to 10pm daily.
Despite remaining open, Gatwick has been largely deserted, with just 21 passengers flying out on the last Saturday of May, compared with a pre-pandemic daily average of about 60,000 departures.
The chief executive, Stewart Wingate, said: “Having remained open throughout this pandemic, the wellbeing and safety of our passengers and everyone that works at the airport remains our top priority. We want people to understand that airports and air travel is a safe environment in this Covid-19 travelling world.”
Wingate said the hub’s recovery had been affected by the controversial quarantine rules introduced in the UK this week, forcing international arrivals to self-isolate for 14 days.
We accept the government’s absolute priority is the protection of public health, but we continue to push for regular, country by country reviews of quarantine regulations, based on medical evidence,” he said.
The airport is expected to be one of the hardest hit by the coronavirus crisis in the UK, with major airline customers including Norwegian, Virgin Atlantic and British Airways likely to resume operations with fewer flights as part of cost-cutting measures.