Gatwick cuts its losses as retail revenues rise

 
Marion Dakers
GATWICK Airport narrowed its losses last year on higher traffic numbers and retail sales, it said yesterday.

The south of London airport, which hopes to build a second runway, said more than 34m people passed through its doors during the year to the end

of March, a rise of 1.2 per cent on the previous year.

New airlines such as Air China and Turkish Airlines have helped make up for dwindling traffic in and out of Europe.

Turnover rose 4.2 per cent to £538.9m, which chief executive Stewart Wingate said was partly thanks to an uptick in retail sales.

While earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation rose

2.5 per cent to £227.1m, spending on upgrades at the airport took it to a pre-tax loss of £29.1m, an improvement on the £45.7m loss posted last year.

Capital expenditure was 5.2 per cent lower in the year at £226.7m. Gatwick, which was bought by Global Infrastructure Partners in 2009, is investing £1bn over the next five years in a bid to expand its capacity to 37m passengers by 2020.

The group also set out its plans for airline fees over the next five years, lowering its planned increase from four

per cent to 1.5 per cent above inflation per year.

The Civil Aviation Authority wants it to limit the hike to one per cent, unless it can show it is collaborating more with airlines.

“I would have much rather been where I was in January because it left me more flexibility,” chief financial officer Nick Dunn said. “But we’re comfortable to live within a tighter set of boundaries and at a level that we actually think the CAA will find compelling on behalf of passengers.”

Gatwick has called on the government’s Davies Commission to consider allowing it and Stansted to expand, rather than focusing on growth at Heathrow.