London's biggest airports both recorded a strong September as the summer season drew to a close, with growth in passenger traffic up two per cent on last year at Heathrow and up 2.7 per cent at Gatwick.
Nearly seven million passengers travelled through Heathrow in September, with a rise in popularity among Latin American destinations, after British Airways launched a new route to Santiago in Chile at the beginning of the year.
The airport also said expansion plans remain on track, with a vote in the House of Commons on the project's go-ahead in the first half of next year, though that had been pushed back due to the snap General Election in June.
"We are pleased that the Civil Aviation Authority has recognised the progress we and our airline partners have made on delivering Heathrow expansion affordably, so that airport charges can be kept close to current levels," Heathrow boss John Holland-Kaye said. "Together, we will deliver expansion in a way that meets the needs of passengers, local communities and investors and get the British economy moving in the early years of Brexit.”
Gatwick meanwhile, has posted its busiest September in history, with 4.5m passengers travelling through the airport that month. Long-haul continues to be a boon for the airport, up 8.1 per cent on last September.
Destinations in Asia were particularly popular with passengers travelling to Hong Kong up 64 per cent and 28.4 per cent to Tianjin in China.
Popular routes were also dominated by destinations for the month's international fashion weeks, passengers to New York, Paris and Milan, up 49.9 per cent, 30.7 per cent, and 3.4 per cent respectively.
Gatwick Airport chief executive Stewart Wingate said: "Gatwick’s September figures demonstrate the year-round global connectivity that the airport provides with passengers choosing Gatwick for destinations right across the Globe – whether this be Asia, the USA and Canada, South America, Europe or Africa."
He also referenced the collapse of Monarch Airlines, which ceased trading at the beginning of the month.
"Earlier this month, we were saddened to hear of the closure of Monarch Airlines – an airline with over three decades of history at Gatwick. We have been working closely with the Civil Aviation Authority to return everyone affected home," Wingate said.
Yesterday, trade body ACI Europe warned that airline woes including those of Monarch were likely to soften passenger traffic growth at European airports.