Gatwick Airport profits rise fuelled by passenger number lift

London's Gatwick Airport reported a 43 per cent rise in first-half profit, helped by strong growth in passenger traffic, which it expects to continue in final six months of the year.

Gatwick airport, owned by US investment fund Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP), on Tuesday said its operating profit rose to £118.6m in the six months to the end of September on turnover 15 per cent higher at £314.5m.

The airport, London's second largest behind BAA's Heathrow, said 19.7m passengers travelled through Gatwick during the period, 8.5 percent up on the first-half a year ago.

The same period last year was hit by disruption caused by the eruption of an Icelandic volcano, which led to the closure of much of Europe's airspace for around a week.

Gatwick Airport said it still expects a total of 33.6m passengers to travel through the airport in the year to the end of March 2012.

"While passenger numbers are ahead of expectations for the six months ended 30 September 2011, the expectation for the full year outturn remains unchanged," the company said in a statement.

It said retail income rose five per cent during the period, down on the 8.5 per cent growth in passenger numbers.