GATWICK airport revealed record passenger numbers and a strong set of results yesterday, as the debate over whether to expand it or its rival Heathrow hots up.
Despite a drop in pre-tax profit, owing to accounting adjustments, the group posted an 8.6 per cent increase in turnover to £391.6m and profit before tax of £122.4m. The six-month period was the busiest in the airport’s history, with 22.5m passengers and 906 air traffic movements on one day, a world record for a single runway airport.
Nick Dunn, chief financial officer for the airport, said Gatwick had seen a steady increase in business passengers over the past couple of years, and this trend had continued. The airport is also expanding its long-haul routes: “We are seeing growing long-haul flights, but Europe remains very important to us too, as 65 per cent of travel is to Europe and there’s a lot of trade in that.
“Transfer is becoming far less important for European airports as manufacturers announce new types of plane that support point to point flying,” he added. Heathrow often boasts its high level of transfer passengers as a key advantage to expanding there over Gatwick.