Gatwick Airport today announced record passenger growth – which senior executives said adds to Gatwick's case that it should be recommended for expansion.
The airport had the busiest year in its history, with 38.7m passengers travelling through it in the year to the end of March. On one day in August there were 906 traffic movements – a world record for a single runway airport.
It announced turnover of £638m, a 7.5 per increase from the year before. Consequently, earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA), were up 13.2 per cent to £297.3m, with profit before tax of £83.8m.
Nick Dunn, the airport's chief financial officer, told City A.M. the positive financial numbers made a clear case for Gatwick being chosen by the Davies commission for a new runway, instead of what he describes as the "monopoly" of Heathrow:
It's quite clear we need more capacity, and that we can offer the best solution for the UK to get the sort of connectivity it needs.
He said if the independent Davies commission, which is looking into the issue for the government, recommend Heathrow, regional airports like Birmingham, Manchester and Edinburgh will suffer as passengers are drawn there instead.
If they further entrench the monopoly that is Heathrow, by giving Heathrow a third runway, then all the airports round the UK suffer.
Dunn added that Gatwick can also deliver expansion "5 years ahead of another alternative. The quicker we get on with this, and the quicker we get it built, the qucker the benefits start to flow."
The Davies commission is likely to put its recommendations to the government any day now. Chairman Sir Howard Davies has even put back the date at which he is going to start at RBS in order to deal with the potential fall out.