by Adrian Bishop
Gatwick Airport has seen its busiest ever six months, with passenger numbers taking off to reach 26.4 million.
September 2017, it also notched up its busiest day, with 950 aircraft movements, according to Gatwick Airport’s interim financial results report for the six months to 30th
Passenger numbers rose 1.3 million or 5.1% compared to the same period last year. A 12.4% rise in long-haul flights contributed to Gatwick increasing its lead as the world’s busiest single-runway airport.
Chief Executive Officer, Stewart Wingate, says, “Gatwick now serves 45.5 million passengers each year and is playing a vital role for Britain. As we prepare for Brexit, it is critical that we continue to grow our long-haul links in addition to connections within the UK and Europe.
“We have ambitious plans to build on these results to reach 50 million passengers per year and beyond, which will further set the standard for a single runway airport.“
Before the end of the financial year, Gatwick is adding further long-haul connections to Taipei, Buenos Aires, Chicago and Austin. These are in addition to new routes to Singapore, Rwanda, Seattle and Denver in the last six months.
Passenger numbers on long-haul routes grew by 0.4,million, most notably on North American routes, where both Norwegian and British Airways increased frequencies on their USA services. WestJet, which began flying from Gatwick last year, grew its Canadian routes by 23,000 passengers.
New European routes included Aeroflot’s Moscow service, which carried 43,000 passengers in the last six months. New easyJet destinations include Montenegro (17,000 passengers) and Granada (26,000). Among new airlines is Georgian Airways, which started flying to Tbilisi from May 2017.
Gatwick also saw domestic route traffic rise 5.3%, says the report.
Its growth is also due to more planes, bigger planes and fuller planes – each aircraft at Gatwick is carrying four more passengers, on average, than last year.
In total, Gatwick offers flights to more than 228 destinations in 74 countries.