Gatwick Airport, the plucky underdog of British airports, came out fighting in its first-half results.
Revenues rose 5.2 per cent to £411.8m in the six months to the end of September, pushing earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation up 6.8 per cent to £241m. Meanwhile, profit before tax hit £135.2m.
Gatwick said it had been the busiest six months in its history, with a 4.7 per cent rise in passenger numbers, which hit 23.5 million – 1.1 million more than the same period last year. During one 10-day period in July and August, more than 150,000 passengers went through each day.
Meanwhile, load factors – how full the planes were – increased to 87.2 per cent.
Why it's interesting
Gatwick has been at the centre of a very public row after its bid to have a second runway was turned down by the Airports Commission, which in July published a report recommending a third runway at Heathrow was preferable to a second one at Gatwick.
The airport didn't take the news lying down: since the publication of the report, it's been on a mission to convince politicians the commission was wrong.
Today chief executive Stewart Wingate pointed out that the report's estimates suggested that with a second runway, Gatwick would generate two million passengers in the first year of operating.
"In reality, as today's results show, Gatwick grew by 2.7 million passengers last year alone with only one runway." Take that, Airports Commission chair Sir Howard Davies.
What Gatwick said
“The government should back Gatwick when making its airport expansion decision – no ifs no buts. In the week of our results, Gatwick achieved 40 million passengers a year – a global record for a single runway airport. Such is the flawed analysis of the Airports Commission, it predicted that Gatwick wouldn’t achieve this milestone until 2024.
Gatwick 4 Prez? The airport has beaten the Airport's Commissions expectations.