Friday 12 January 2018 4:55 pm

Gatwick just announced it had a record-breaking 2017 as passenger numbers near 46m

Gatwick Airport rounded off a trio of records for London airports, announcing today it welcomed 45.6m passengers last year.

It comes after both Heathrow and Stansted reported their best years to date yesterday.

Gatwick had its busiest December on record, with 3.2m passengers travelling through the airport, up 1.5 per cent on the same time in 2016. Its passenger numbers for the year as a whole were up 5.2 per cent on the year before.

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The airport said its long-haul push has been rapidly taking off, with new routes to Singapore, Denver and Seattle added, leading to a 16 per cent year-on-year rise in passenger numbers. Gatwick's long-haul network grew to 63 connections last year, with 7.3m people opting to fly long-haul, up nearly a million on 2016.

Gatwick chief executive Stewart Wingate said: "Gatwick’s soaring long-haul and cargo growth in December is an impressive conclusion to 2017 and we’ll be strengthening the airport’s global connectivity even further this year, with new services to Buenos Aires, Austin and Chicago already confirmed to begin in the first quarter alone."

He added:

We have ambitious plans to build on the success achieved in 2017 and reach 50 million passengers per year and beyond, setting new standards for Gatwick and playing an increased global role for Britain. This will be done while continuing to deliver the best passenger experience, which is at the heart of everything we do at Gatwick.

Rival Heathrow meanwhile said 78m passengers travelled through the airport last year, a 3.1 per cent rise on 2016, thanks to larger and fuller aircraft. Stansted brought in 25.9m passengers, a rise of 6.5 per cent over the previous 12 months.

Read more: Heathrow hits new record of 78m passengers despite capacity crunch