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Gatwick releases historic pictures to mark passenger flight anniversary

Published 17/05/2016

Diana, Princess of Wales listens to the dialogue of pilots as they come into land at Gatwick Airport during her visit to the Control Tower in 1988
Diana, Princess of Wales listens to the dialogue of pilots as they come into land at Gatwick Airport during her visit to the Control Tower in 1988
Gatwick Airport celebrates the 80th anniversary of its first flight
Assistant air traffic controller Rod Hayward adjusts Diana, Princess of Wales's headphones during her visit to the control tower at Gatwick Airport in 1988
Queen Elizabeth steps from a Heron of the Queen's Flight on her arrival at the rebuilt Gatwick Airport, for its official opening in 1958
The Queen and Prince Philip talk to British Airports Authority chairman, Sir Norman Payne, after the Queen unveiled a plaque to open the North Terminal at Gatwick Airport
US president John F Kennedy with the then Prime Minister Harold Macmillan at Gatwick Airport in 1963
Pope John Paul II kisses the ground in a traditional gesture upon his arrival at Gatwick Airport in 1982
Ann Farrington, 22, of Blackpool, was named Miss Gatwick Airport in 1971
Wham! singer George Michael arriving back at Gatwick Airport following a two week tour of China in 1985
Gatwick airport in 1978

Gatwick has marked the 80th anniversary of its first scheduled passenger flight by releasing a series of historic images taken at the airport.

The photographs include Pope John Paul II kissing the ground at the West Sussex airport in 1982 and U S president John F Kennedy in 1963.

They also show Diana, Princess of Wales, listening to air traffic control dialogue on a visit to the control tower in 1988 and the Queen opening the rebuilt airport in 1958.

Passengers flew from Gatwick to Paris on the first scheduled flight on May 17 1936.

Amsterdam, Hamburg, Copenhagen and Malmo were also served from the airport in its first year of operation.

Gatwick said its annual passenger total reached 41 million for the first time on Friday.

The airport is currently engaged in a long-running campaign for permission to build a second runway.

In July last year the Airports Commission recommended that a third runway should be built at Heathrow.

But the Department for Transport has only confirmed that the commission's shortlisted options - new runways at Heathrow or Gatwick, or extension of an existing runway at Heathrow - are "viable".

Further work on noise, pollution and compensation is being carried out before a decision on which project to support is made.

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