Feature, Transport

Unveiled: Gatwick North Terminal refurb

The customised retrofit solution at Gatwick’s North Terminal, designed by StudioFractal and supplied by Dextra, saved the airport 54 per cent in energy usage, reduced maintenance and minimised waste by re-using some existing luminaire housings.

THE LIGHTING at Gatwick Airport’s North Terminal is now producing more light with less than half the electricity following a refurbishment unveiled this week.

The customised retrofit solution saved the airport 54 per cent in energy usage, reduced maintenance and minimised waste by re-using some existing luminaire housings.

Before and after pictures showing the enhanced lit environment for passengers at the terminal

In spring 2017, Gatwick Airport launched a five-year investment plan worth over £1bn to upgrade and expand its facilities. This year alone, the airport will spend an estimated £240m on the transformation project, aiming to attract new customers, cope with rising demand and boost operational efficiency.

Gatwick allocated a total of £19.2m for the upgrade of its North Terminal baggage reclaim and check-in areas. A portion of this budget was dedicated to updating the existing fluorescent lighting to a sensor-controlled LED system.

Lighting design consultancy StudioFractal set out to increase light levels and quality in this area while reducing energy usage and maintenance costs. The airport specifically wanted to include high-output luminaires in the design but make drastic cuts to energy consumption. All products were to conform with the airport’s modernised brand and renovated interior design and offer full compliance to airport safety and emergency regulations.

Retrofit solutions would adapt to the airport’s building management system (BMS), connection points, and architecture and existing central battery units.

Dextra Group supplied the luminaires, all featuring LM80-verified LED sources.

Old fittings and electrical equipment were to be disposed of or recycled quickly and efficiently according to WEEE regulations.

Dextra’s Runway light fitting was used throughout this area. It can be surface-mounted or suspended, standalone or in continuous runs, combined with corner sections, output packages in various lengths and optional bi-directional distribution.

LEDextra, Dextra Group’s specialised components subsidiary, stepped in to customise this product to Gatwick’s exact requirements. The gear trays were manufactured in custom-sized lengths to fit the measurements of the previous fluorescent installation, which were then assembled in raft formations. The square configurations were suspended within deep skylight niches in the ceiling which, due to the reflectances produced by the luminaire’s bi-directional optics, acted as glowing light chambers.

The luminaires are equipped with Lumileds RGB LED sources and Dali dimming drivers, allowing each niche to be tuned to a desired colour and dimmed as required.

Bespoke connection points and DALI compatibility were also made in-house for easy wiring and full control from the terminal’s centralised BMS system. Staff can now adjust the level and colour of the lights to suit changes in corporate theme as well as benefit from the existing energy-saving sensor functions for daylight regulation.

The luminaire features a bi-directional distribution that produces white 4000k light, directed downward, to aid the checking of documents and interactions with staff whilst a red or blue uplight offered a decorative and colour branding purposes. The colours also help passengers locate certain check-in areas from a distance, making it easier to navigate by dividing the large open plan into clear sections.

Other fittings used include the Comtec downlight, again with a 4000K output and Dali connection, and, outside the lifts,  the recessed Rubix.

The installation generate an energy saving of 54 per cent  compared to the previous fluorescent system despite more luminaires being installed at higher outputs.
The saving is equal to £39,132 per annum which will free up capital for other improvements at the airport. Luminaires are now virtually maintenance free as their durable LM80-verified Lumileds LED sources have now eliminated the need for costly and time-consuming lamp changes.

By reducing its carbon footprint further, Gatwick Airport will improve its already stellar green credentials, benefitting also financially from ranking higher in the government’s Carbon Reduction Commitment league table.


  • A special conference, Lighting for Transport and Infrastructure, takes place on day two of the LuxLive 2018 exhibition, taking place at London ExCeL on Wednesday 14 November and Thursday 15 November 2018. Entry is free to lighting estate owners and specifiers if you pre-register. View the full programme HERE.