Gatwick Airport is preparing to ramp up flights after the government said quarantine rules will be relaxed in the run-up to Christmas.
Chief executive Stewart Wingate said the airport had already seen boosted demand and was expecting to handle around 100 flights per day by mid-December.
This is compared to just four a day during the current nationwide lockdown.
“We are seeing already an uptick in flights, so we should expect to see about 100 flights per day by the time we get to the middle of December, and across the Christmas period,” Wingate told Reuters.
Earlier this week transport secretary Grant Shapps said quarantine measures will be relaxed from 15 December to allow people to travel from high-risk ‘red list’ countries to visit relatives for Christmas.
The changes mean passengers arriving in the UK can end self-isolation after five days if they get a negative result from a Covid-19 test.
Wingate today said he hoped the airport’s new testing facility would also hope to stimulate demand after a sharp downturn that has battered the aviation industry.
Gatwick, which is the UK’s second largest airport, last month launched a new pre-departure and post-arrival Covid-19 screening service for passengers and staff.
The test costs £60 for passengers and provides results the following day.
The Gatwick boss also said budget carrier Ryanair was keen to grow its presence at the airport.
Rival Wizz Air is also known to be targeting slots at Gatwick, where many airlines have reduced services due to the pandemic.