Gatwick boss slams commission conclusions as out of date and hails long haul growth

Oliver Gill
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Departure Lounge
The departure lounge in 1934 when Gatwick was first opened as a public airport (Source: Getty)

The conclusions drawn by the Airports Commission are "fundamentally flawed" and 14 years out of date, according to Gatwick Airport.

Boss Stewart Wingate said that the fact that Gatwick had flown 42m passengers in the last 12 months completely undermined the commission's credibility and findings.

“Our performance proves beyond any doubt that the Airports Commission’s report is fundamentally flawed. Gatwick has had its busiest ever August, long haul routes have gone through the roof and we have just passed the 42m passenger mark 14 years ahead of when the Airports Commission said we would," he said.

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The commission delivered its final report in July 2015 and concluded that Heathrow would be the best place for Britain's airport expansion. However, the transport secretary said that a decision is not likely to be made until at least October.

Wingate argued that the commission's conclusions were based on a number of assumptions, including that Gatwick wouldn't be able to increase flights to long haul destinations.

“We have added 20 [long haul routes] this year alone putting us in the premier league of airports in Europe that serve 50 or more long haul links. The Airports Commission also said that we would not serve 42m annual passengers until 2030 yet we passed this mark just days ago." he said.

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Gatwick said a record 4.8m passengers passed through its terminals in August, an increase of 5.7 per cent on the previous year. It grew its last 12 month passenger numbers by 6.4 per cent from 39m to 42m.

Although rival Heathrow today also announced record levels of passengers, the 7.1m passengers it attracted in August represented a more modest 0.1 per cent increase on 2015 numbers.