Gatwick says bumper passenger numbers make case for second runway

Oliver Gill
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Virgin Atlantic Plane Circles Over Gatwick Airport
Long haul flights have grown by half in the year to August (Source: Getty)

Gatwick Airport said that breaking records for passenger numbers underpinned the case for expansion at Britain’s second largest airport.

Both the month of and year to August smashed previous highs – 4.8m passengers filed through the airport taking the annual number of passengers up to 42m, up 6.4 per cent on the previous year.

“We’re expansion ready - with this summer our busiest ever. Politically, economically and environmentally the case for Gatwick expansion has never been stronger," said chief finance officer Nick Dunn.

North Atlantic flights increased by 51 per cent for the month and by 30 per cent for the year. The only destination that was shrinking was European charter flights – down 2.8 per cent in the month and 6.2 per cent down on the year.

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Gatwick expansion would secure the same number of new routes and economic benefit Britain needs, can be delivered faster, with dramatically lower environmental impacts, and without the £5 billion of taxpayer funding Heathrow would require for surface access improvements.

“Momentum is with Gatwick as business leaders and politicians continue to unite behind us. Post-referendum, Britain needs certainty – Gatwick’s straight forward scheme which can be promptly delivered makes it the only choice,” said Dunn.

A government decision on whether a new runway should be built at Gatwick or Britain’s busiest airport, Heathrow, is expected later this year.