The government is being urged not to rule out expansion of Gatwick despite rival Heathrow being backed for a third runway by the Airports Commission.
Gatwick chief executive, Stewart Wingate, announcing record June passenger throughput, today claimed the low-cost long-haul revolution meant that his airport was the “only choice” for a new runway for the southeast of England.
“Gatwick remains the best option for expansion as it can cater for all airline types flying to all types of destination – this is clearly illustrated by the growth in the numbers of passengers choosing long-haul services at Gatwick,” he said.
“The growth of our transatlantic routes, which from May will include Boston, is the latest demonstration of the way the industry is moving – with a new generation of carriers and aircraft fuelling the low cost long-haul revolution.
“We will continue to engage actively with government at all levels to show why Gatwick expansion is the only means by which we can sustain the low-cost revolution that has driven aviation growth over the last two decades, and the only choice which can actually deliver the aviation capacity that the UK desperately needs.”
Long-haul routes saw 8% growth on the 12 months to last June with the airport recording its 28th consecutive month of traffic growth in June.
Overall passenger numbers rose by 5% year-on-year as Gatwick achieved its busiest ever June with 3.8 million passengers.
Destinations contributing to long-haul growth include North Atlantic routes up 14.3% with services to the US rising by +20.6%, largely driven by Norwegian’s low-cost long-haul routes. The demand has resulted in a new Norwegian route from Gatwick to Boston from May 2016.
Caribbean and Latin America routes saw +8.1% growth with long-haul leisure destinations driving the increase, with Tobago up 79.1%, Grenada up 44.3% and Havana up 38.2%.
Further long-haul growth was seen by Middle East and Central Asia routes which rose by 9.1% year-on-year with Gulf routes up by 11.7% due to three services a day to Dubai.
An additional 184,000 passengers used Gatwick last month compared to June 2014. Passenger growth came as the result of more air traffic movements per hour and larger aircraft being used on average across the airlines. Average load factors were consistently strong at 86.5%.
UK and Channel Islands traffic dropped by 3%, European charter was down by 0.1% while European scheduled passenger numbers rose by 6.1% and 1.9% to Ireland.
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