Long haul growth of 24% last month show the benefits a second runway at Gatwick would give to the UK, the boss of the airport said today.
Chief executive Stewart Wingate was speaking as Gatwick reported 56% year-on-year growth in North Atlantic traffic with the help of WestJet starting flights to six destinations in Canada.
The top performing European business destinations included Paris, up 80%, and Prague, up 60% on June last year. The holiday destinations Burgas, Bulgaria; Almeria, Spain; and Kavala, Greece grew by 90%, 55% and 54% respectively.
Meanwhile, strong growth was also seen from Gatwick’s UK domestic regional connections grew by a total of 7.4% with Belfast routes up 103%, Newquay 34% and Inverness 13%. Average load factors were consistently strong at 88%.
Wingate said: “June’s passenger figures are the latest part of Gatwick’s ongoing long-haul success story demonstrating once again the unrivalled potential that an expanded Gatwick would deliver for Britain - providing an operational runway by 2025 with reduced environmental impacts and no taxpayer funding.
“We’re seeing strong growth right across the board - be it from our regional connections, business routes or holiday destinations - especially our long haul destinations which have rocketed this month by 24% year on year.
“This month saw the arrival of Tianjin Airlines’ route to China and in just weeks Cathay Pacific will commence flights to Hong Kong, joined by British Airways’ service to Cape Town this autumn.
“June’s results show the benefits a two runway Gatwick would provide for Britain - guaranteed growth with reduced environmental impacts and no taxpayer funding. Let’s get on with it and deliver for Britain.”
A government decision on runway expansion at either Heathrow or Gatwick has been put off until at least October following the Brexit vote and Conservative leadership campaign.
Former Heathrow chairman Sir Nigel Rudd stepped into the debate last night by claiming that the private equity firm in control of Gatwick “want to sell with planning permission”.
The industrialist suggested that Global Infrastructure Partners had no “desire to secure the future of the British economy” and was purely motivated by serving its investors.
In an article for Business Travel News, Sir Nigel said: “The reality, I suspect is that, like any property speculator, Gatwick’s owners just want to sell with planning permission. Earlier this year they sold their other London airport — London City — in a transaction that resulted in a £1.25 billion profit.
“They have a duty to their investors to achieve that profit. They are in this to sell Gatwick — preferably with Heathrow constrained. That’s what motivates them, not a desire to secure the future of the British economy.”
A Gatwick spokesman said: “Now is not the time for a risky decision to expand the most expensive facility in the world at the expense of competition, regional development and the environment of nearly a million people.”
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