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Brexit Diaries #2: Gatwick (February 1, 2020)

Gatwick, Crawley – Gatwick where I have landed is London’s second busiest airport. From a small airfield in the countryside outside the capital, it has been growing steadily over the years, becoming an important hub especially for intercontinental leisure flights. This growth has required an increase in the employed staff. By looking at them in the airport hall, it is easy to see that the majority of the workers are from Eastern Europe: they came to England in search of opportunity thanks to EU’s free circulation of labor, and due to their lower salary expectations, they beat English competition.

This is one the reasons why the Crawley constituency, to which Gatwick Airport belongs, voted Leave in 2016 Brexit referendum, in order to protect the local labour market from EU migrant workers from the East. The short-term economic consequences of this choice on the health of the airport could be quite negative, in terms of loss of arrivals and, mainly, shortage of manpower.

Follow a European Generation member Gioele Giussani as he travels to London in the first days after the United Kingdom exited the European Union. What are his impressions of post-Brexit London? How do Londoners and other Europeans feel about entering this new era? Read more from this series to find out.

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