Gatwick Airport is set to welcome passengers from across the world this Christmas as it prepares for its busiest day of the festive season.

Friday (December 22) is expected to see thousands of people travel to and from Gatwick on its busiest day, with more than 250 flights also scheduled for Christmas Eve.

The most popular destinations where travellers are jetting off to for the holidays are Geneva for short-haul flights and Dubai for long-haul flights.

To prevent delays, highly trained staff have been preparing for the possibility of extreme weather over the winter to keep the airport running smoothly.

Across the airport, 350 staff trained in snow and ice clearance, from airfield engineers to fire crews. They use specialist equipment including nine snow ploughs and two snow cutters to clear the runway if and when it is hit with snow and ice.

The Argus: A team of more than 300 staff will be on hand to ensure the airport remains open in extreme conditionsA team of more than 300 staff will be on hand to ensure the airport remains open in extreme conditions (Image: Gatwick Airport)

A team of 150 specially-trained staff, nicknamed “polar bears”, will help clear aircraft parking stands and surrounding roads, operating up to 20 smaller snow ploughs and 30 tractors when required.

More than 352,000 litres of surface de-icer are also on standby to treat runways and aircraft.

Graham Alder, head of aerodrome at Gatwick Airport, said: “This Christmas everyone at Gatwick Airport is looking forward to welcoming passengers as they travel over the festive period.

“We can’t dictate the weather or issues outside of our control, but we can plan and prepare for them.

“Our training schedule starts in August to ensure everyone is ready to react to the unpredictability of the weather.

“Our hardworking teams have just completed four separate live training days where we test our plans, practice formation driving and use the snow ploughs to rehearse snow clearance on the runway.

“Christmas is a busy time for everyone at Gatwick Airport and the airport team is working hard will all of our partners to deliver the best possible experience for passengers.”

Gatwick Airport is the UK’s second-largest airport and flies to over 200 destinations across the world.