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Hundreds of new carriages for Gatwick Express

New carriages for Gatwick Express Credit: ITV

Plans for hundreds of new carriages on Gatwick Express and Thameslink routes have been welcomed by Rail Minister Claire Perry, following more than £300 million of investment by the rail industry.

Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) has today agreed a £145 million order for 108 new carriages to replace the existing Gatwick Express fleet. The new carriages will be built in the UK by Derby-based Bombardier and are due to enter service in 2016.

In a further boost for passengers, GTR and Southern Railways has also confirmed that 116 new carriages will start to roll out on the Thameslink route between Bedford and Brighton from December. The carriages were ordered from manufacturer Bombardier last year and are due to replace the existing stock from May 2015 until the Siemens-built Thameslink trains enter service.

Once this fleet is operational, it will free up existing electric carriages to be released onto newly-electrified routes, creating additional capacity for passengers.

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Airline's statement after Gatwick emergency landing

easyJet plane made emergency landing at Gatwick Credit: easyJet

“easyJet can confirm that the Captain of flight EZY7215 from Liverpool to Naples took the decision to divert to London Gatwick Airport as a precaution due to a technical issue which resulted in smoke in the flight deck.

“The flight diverted to London Gatwick in line with our standard operating procedures. The aircraft landed safely and was met by emergency services as a routine and precautionary measure. Once at its stand all passengers remained calm and disembarked normally.

“The safety of its passengers and crew is easyJet's highest priority and easyJet operates its fleet of aircraft in strict compliance with all manufacturers’ guidelines.

“The passengers will continue their journey to Naples on a replacement aircraft.

“easyJet would like to thank passengers for their patience and apologise for any inconvenience caused. The Airbus A320 had 157 passengers and 6 crew on-board."

– easyJet spokesperson

New budget airline offers cheap US flights from Gatwick

A new budget airline is offering cheaper flights from our region to the United States. It's claimed Norwegian Airlines wants to use a loophole to employ cheap labour for new flights from Gatwick Airport to New York, Los Angeles and Florida.

But, with taxes and extras, it might not be as cheap as it says. Our Transport Correspondent Mike Pearse caught the inaugural flight to New York and sends this report.

  1. Mike Pearse

Security alert at the region's airports after USA warning

There's a security clampdown at airports tonight - after a new terror alert, issued by the Government of the United States of America. There are fears that al-Qaeda groups are targetting the aviation industry once again.

The alert came on the day new low-cost routes were introduced from Gatwick - to the United States. Our Transport Correspondent Mike Pearse reports.

Airline to fly to LA and New York for as little as £150

The first new low cost airline for 40 years to fly from the the UK to the United States is taking off today from Gatwick.

Norwegian will fly the new Dreamliner to New York, Fort Lauderdale and Los Angeles from as little as £150.

But unions claim the airline want to use cheap labour from South Asia and have concerns over safety, which the airline deny.

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Campaigners angry over Gatwick expansion plans

Campaigners against an expansion of Gatwick Airport say plans for a second runway are "horrendous" - and much larger than they were led to believe.

The proposals - set out in a 3000 page document - have been sent to the Airports Commission but have NOT yet been published.

It would see Gatwick almost triple in size - with passenger numbers up to 97 million a year - thats bigger than Heathrow. From Westminster - our Transport Correspondent - Mike Pearse sent this.

Man jailed after hiding drugs in trousers

A man who tried to smuggle a kilo of cocaine through Gatwick Airport, by hiding it in a pair of trousers, has been jailed for 5 years. Hungarian national Sandor Malnai, who's 49, was stopped by Border Force officers who spotted a pair of "unnaturally stiff" green trousers in his luggage.

Malnai believed he could get his illicit cargo past our border controls and as a result he now faces a substantial amount of time behind bars. Our highly-trained Border Force officers are on the front line of the fight to stop illegal drugs like cocaine making it on to the UK's streets and causing harm to our communities. Working with the NCA, we are determined to do all we can to tackle traffickers and the criminal groups behind smuggling."

– Carole Upshall, Border Force South regional director

'Gatwick's big enough' say conservation group

A conservation group are campaigning against Gatwick's proposal to add a second runway to the airport.

Gatwick Airport Conservation Campaign (GACC) group are against Gatwick's plan for another runway, which would make the airport as large as Heathrow.

The group have already campaigned twice against Gatwick in its bid to build a second runway.

Volunteers from the group have been giving out leaflets and recruiting members outside runway exhibitions, including Crawley and Ifield.

The GACC vice chairman, Peter Barclay, said: "Many people are confused by the airport response form which has 278 boxes which you can tick but only one well-hidden little box labelled 'None of these options' if you wish to say No to a new runway."

A number of local action groups, from Tunbridge Wells to Horsham, have been formed opposing a new runway - all working with GACC. For instance, in Crawley the all-Party ‘One’s Enough’ group has been re-started: it had great success in 2003 in persuading Crawley Council to switch from a position of support for a new runway to one of unanimous opposition."

– Brendon Sewill, chairman of Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign

Gatwick sees 5% rise in passengers

The airport has seen a 5% rise in passengers in March Credit: ITV Meridian

There has been an increase in the number of passengers flying through Gatwick last month.

The West Sussex airport handled more than 2.7 million passengers in March - a 5% rise since March 2013.

The rise came despite a dip in North Atlantic traffic and no US Airways flights from Gatwick in 2013.

Gatwick bosses are hoping that the summer's launch of three new Norwegian Air Shuttle routes to America will help increase traffic to the region.

Last week, the House of Commons Transport Committee criticised Gatwick and its handling of the Christmas Eve crisis when flooding caused a power failure which led to flight cancellations.

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