Gatwick 'just a few years from full capacity'

Gatwick 'just a few years from full capacity'

Gatwick is just years away from reaching full capacity and is unable to meet demand across much of the year.

The warning from the airport’s boss was delivered today as part of a continued lobbying against rival Heathrow for expansion.

Gatwick revealed that it achieved two years of growth in February with more than 2.4 million passengers handled, up 7.2% on the same month last year.

About 165,177 more passengers travelled through the airport last month, helped by fuller aircraft, with an overall load factor at 81.8%.

Long-haul traffic at grew by 8% last month, with Dubai the biggest growth route as passenger numbers increased by 13.6%.

European scheduled services increased 9.6% year-on-year with Paris the biggest growth destination following new flights introduced by easyJet.

There were 16 additional routes in operation over February last year, including Paris Charles de Gaulle, Florence, New York, Warsaw, Fort Lauderdale, Kaunas, Tel Aviv, Jakarta, Strasbourg, Puerto Vallarta, Pamplona, Bodo, Tunis, Plovdiv, Luxor and Erbil in Iraq.

Airport chief executive Stewart Wingate said: “Two years of consecutive month-on-month growth is a tremendous achievement and shows the benefits of greater competition and low cost travel. We are also benefitting from the huge investment we’ve made in operating the world’s most efficient single runway airport.

“But our continued growth has limits - we are now unable to meet demand across much of the year and are just a few years away from hitting full capacity.

“Creating more airport capacity in London and the southeast will be one of the biggest decisions facing any new government.

“Expanding Gatwick would be a genuinely exciting opportunity, and help to create a choice of two world-class gateways for UK and international travellers, promoting competition to keep travel affordable for all.”

He added: “A new runway at Gatwick is deliverable sooner, at lower cost, and without the overwhelming environmental obstacles that face Heathrow.”

Gatwick released a new time-lapse video showing a day in the life of the single runway airport.

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