Short haul powers London Gatwick’s return to profit after £830m pandemic loss
London’s second busiest airport, Gatwick, is “cautiously optimistic” about a full recovery from the pandemic as passenger demand levels reach 70 per cent of pre-covid levels.
The West Sussex hub reported 32.8m passengers in 2022 as it announced a £250m investment in the site to reach net zero by 2030.
In its annual results this morning Gatwick said its revenue was at £776.6m as millions of passengers flocked abroad after the pandemic.
It reported a more than £400m aeronautical income, with £159m coming in through retail, and £102m in parking income alone.
The airport also said it had returned to a profit of £196.5m last year after losing more than £830m from 2020 and 2021 due to the suppression of air travel during Covid.
This comes after Heathrow reported its busiest day since Christmas 2019 as the travel industry continues its recovery from coronavirus, and Brits look for affordable getaways.
Its earnings before tax were at a healthy £446.3m, but despite returning to profitability, the airport said it was “cautiously optimistic” about a full recover, with only 70 per cent of pre-pandemic traffic recouped.
“Given current economic uncertainty and inflationary pressures” it said, there was cause for optimism, and the return to normality in the industry had “put London Gatwick in a good position”.
In addition to £250m investment to help reach it net zero, it said hit resurfaced its main runway in “half the time and for half the cost” which improved its efficiency and allowed “a saving of embodied carbon during the construction face”.
It will also redevelop the airport train station, ready for later this year, work on an upgrade for its north terminal departure lounge and prepare a planning application to bring its northern runway into use.
Serving 156 destinations around the world, its short-haul network recovered well in 2022 with easyJet flying more than 70 per cent of the routes.
This comes as Air India announced it would launch four new destinations from Gatwick later this month, while Delta would start flying to New York from the hub.
“While we still have some way to go to reach a full recovery, we know long-term sustainable investment is critical to the future of our airport and provides a significant boost to the regional and national economy”, said Stewart Wingate, chief executive, London Gatwick Airport.
“This year we are pushing forward with a number of projects to improve resilience and the overall passenger experience, including preparing our planning application to bring the existing Northern Runway into routine use.”
“Central to this is our commitment for our business to be net zero for scope 1 and 2 by 2030. The aviation industry is addressing the challenges, and we are working closely with our stakeholders to ensure we create a sustainable airport for the future.”