Nearly three million passengers travelled through Gatwick Airport in March, a 9.2 per cent increase on last year, and the busiest March the airport has ever had in its 57-year history.
The March figures mark the 25th consecutive month of growth. Gatwick now expects to serve more than 40 million passengers next year, which is more than a decade ahead of the DfT’s 2013 predictions.
Some 250,000 more passengers travelled through Gatwick in March compared to 2014. Passenger growth is the result of more air traffic movements per hour and larger aircraft being used on average across the airlines.
Long-haul traffic grew by 7.4 per cent, with Dubai the biggest growth route seeing passenger numbers increase by 14.7 per cent as Gatwick continues to serve high-growth markets. Emirates have taken advantage of the A380 facility that has been in place since March 2014 with passengers able to fly daily on the superjumbo.
European scheduled services increased 12.1 per cent over March 2014 with Barcelona the biggest growth destination and Geneva the biggest destination in terms of passenger numbers across the whole network. The success of Geneva is largely because of the ski season.
March also saw the launch of two new airlines at Gatwick. Passengers are now able to benefit from Iberia Express flying direct to Madrid and SmartWings flying direct to Prague.
Gatwick Airport’s Chief Executive Officer, Stewart Wingate said: “March is our 25th consecutive month of growth, and in just one year we expect to hit more than 40 million annual passengers, which will see us reach this milestone a decade ahead of when the DfT forecasted we would.
“Our continued growth has limits, and we urge the new Government to act swiftly after the election to unlock the capacity challenges for the South East. Expanding Gatwick would promote competition in the airport sector and keep travel affordable at a time of economic recovery.
“The figures speak for themselves – we need to build a second runway in order to realise our potential and to maximise the nation’s connectivity to the rest of the world. Let us deliver against our promise to build a new runway sooner, at lower cost, and without the environmental obstacles that Heathrow would face.”