Gatwick growth continues to fly as it eyes 50m passengers a year milestone

 
Rebecca Smith
Revenues at Gatwick rose 5.5 per cent for the first six months of the year
Revenues at Gatwick rose 5.5 per cent for the first six months of the year (Source: Gatwick)

Gatwick soared to rising revenues and earnings for the first six months of the year, reporting growth across long-haul traffic, European business routes and destinations in Asia.

The airport hasn't given up the expansion debate either, saying again today it stood ready to expand, and is already planning to reach a new target of 50m passengers a year.

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The figures

Revenue rose 5.5 per cent to £469.7m, with earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation rising 9.9 per cent to £290.6m.

The airport reported profit before tax of £140.7m for the six months ended 30 September 2017.

Despite repeatedly warning of its capacity constraints, Gatwick said the six-month period to the end of September 2017 was the busiest in its history with 26.4m passengers. That marked a 5.1 per cent increase on last year.

The airport said this was thanks to bigger planes, more planes, and fuller ones, saying each aircraft at Gatwick carried four more passengers, on average, than last year.

Eight new long-haul routes were unveiled over the past six months, including Buenos Aires, Singapore and Taipei.

Why it's interesting

While Heathrow got the go-ahead for expansion last October, the government has since reopened a consultation into the development after revised aviation demand forecasts and air quality data.

And Gatwick continues to push for its second runway, with boss Stewart Wingate saying last month that the new information "effectively turns the Airports Commission work on its head".

"They completely undermine the basis of the case for expanding Heathrow," he said.

Today, Wingate reiterated that the airport was still prepared to build its "financeable and deliverable second runway scheme", and was preparing its full submission in response to the government's reopened national policy statement.

What the airport said

Stewart Wingate, chief executive of Gatwick Airport, said:

Gatwick now serves 45.5m passengers each year and is playing a vital role for Britain. As we prepare for Brexit, it is critical that we continue to grow our long-haul links in addition to connections within the UK and Europe. Our results show significant cargo growth on the back of our ever strengthening long haul network.

We have ambitious plans to build on these results to reach 50m passengers per year and beyond which will further set the standard for a single runway airport. This will be done while continuing to deliver the best passenger experience which is at the heart of everything we do at Gatwick.

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