New runway has to be at Gatwick says airport boss as traffic numbers rise

Gatwick saw pre-tax profits of £127.3m and a 4.4 per cent rise in passenger numbers in the six months ended 30 September. Turnover was up 10.7 per cent to £360.6m. Chief executive of London Gatwick Stewart Wingate said: “This is just the start of what Gatwick has to offer… The UK’s next runway has got to be at Gatwick.” Last month Wingate said he would resign if Gatwick fails to make the government's shortlist for a new UK runway.

Charter and low cost carriers drove traffic of 20.8m in the period, although underlying traffic growth was 3.5 per cent, as the Olympics reduced traffic by an estimated 170,000 passengers in 2012.

Substantial growth continues to come from Europe - Gatwick now flies to 45 of the top 50 EU business destinations. Next year, it will grow its long haul network, with routes including Jakarta, New York and Los Angeles. It's continuing with its £1bn investment programme, including the £45m transformation of the South Terminal's outlets, which has contributed to a two per cent increase in income per passenger to £3.55.

When it comes to a new runway, Wingate said: "A new runway here would deliver the routes that passengers actually want at a better price, more quickly and with significantly less environmental impact." He continued:

Gatwick will celebrate four years of new ownership in December. In this time we have turned around decades of underinvestment to enable Gatwick to emerge as a competitive, world-class airport. Our results today show a strong financial performance but we must not become complacent.