Gatwick makes final plea for expansion

Gatwick makes final plea for expansion

Gatwick today made a final push for the right to expand over its rival Heathrow by revealing record passenger numbers for May.

In the final set of traffic figures before the Airports Commission’s expected decision on airport expansion, Gatwick revealed that 3.6 million passengers used the airport last month, up 5.8% on May 2014 and the 27th consecutive month of growth.

Gatwick is now on course to see growth of 8 million passengers a year since the break-up of the BAA monopoly in 2009.

Many of the additional 199,000 passengers using Gatwick in May came from those flying transatlantic, which saw the largest percentage growth of 17.6%.

This was driven largely by Norwegian’s budget long-haul flights to  New York, Los Angeles, Fort Lauderdale and Orlando.

Other long-haul destinations also showed growth, with the United Arab Emirates up 11.3% due to the Airbus A380 superjumbo deployed on Emirates’ Dubai route since March 2014.

European destinations were up 6.2% with the fastest growing destinations being Madrid, up 46.5%, and Berlin, up 43%, but domestic traffic was down by 3.5%. Average load factors remained at 84.2%.

Gatwick Airport chief executive, Stewart Wingate, said: “Gatwick’s record growth continues to prove that greater competition is working for passengers and businesses.

“With the expansion decision approaching, it is time to write the next chapter in one of the greatest policy success stories of recent years. Choosing airport competition over monopoly is the only answer that is right for the whole of the UK.

“Expanding Gatwick would enhance competition, meaning Gatwick grows, Heathrow improves, and every part of the UK benefits from a stronger network of competing airports providing passengers more choice, higher standards and lower fares.”

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