The government was today urged to back expansion of Gatwick rather than rival Heathrow as the West Sussex airport delivered improved half-year results.
Earnings [EBITDA] at Gatwick increased by 6.8% to £241 million in the six months to September 30 on revenue up by 5.2% to £411.8 million.
This came as Gatwick saw the busiest six months in its history with 23.5 million passengers, an increase of 4.7% or 1.1 million passengers.
There were ten days in July and August where Gatwick handled more than 150,000 passengers and more than 900 aircraft movements on its single runway.
Today’s figures followed Gatwick announcing that it had handled 40 million passengers a year for the first time.
The airport’s chief executive Stewart Wingate (pictured), pledged to continue pressing for a second runway despite the Airports Commission backing expansion at Heathrow.
“The government should back Gatwick when making its airport expansion decision – no ifs no buts,” he said.
“In the week of our results, Gatwick achieved 40 million passengers a year – a global record for a single runway airport.
“Such is the flawed analysis of the Airports Commission, it predicted that Gatwick wouldn’t achieve this milestone until 2024.
“The Airports Commission also estimated that, with a second runway, Gatwick will generate two million passengers in first year of operating. In reality, as today’s results show, Gatwick grew by 2.7 million passengers last year alone with only one runway.”
He added: “Gatwick is the best solution, does not breach air quality legal limits – even with a second runway – requires no taxpayer funding and can be delivered quickly.
“A decision for Gatwick is a decision for a runway which can actually be delivered and built by 2025.”
Gatwick citied Norwegian’s “ground-breaking” low-cost services to US as being a catalyst for long-haul growth from the airport, contributing to a 10.6% increase on North American routes.
That trend will continue next year with Canadian carrier WestJet serving Toronto, Calgary, Vancouver, Edmonton, Winnipeg and St John’s from May 2016.
Other new routes include British Airways to Costa Rica and Lima next year.
Tui’s Gatwick-Costa Rica started this month with the operator adding Colombo in Sri Lanka in 2016.
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