Gatwick has announced passenger numbers have reached an all-time high, with the airport welcoming 26.5 million visitors in the six months to September 30th.
Growth was driven by the airport’s long-haul connections, which also drove a 21 per cent increase in cargo tonnage compared to last year.
One in six Gatwick passengers now travel to a long-haul destination.
New long-haul connections for this six-month reporting period include Qatar and Chicago.
Plus, building on increased passenger numbers to China, up 54.3 per cent year on year, China Eastern will start a brand-new service from the airport to Shanghai in December.
Meanwhile, Norwegian has announced, this week, that the airline will be providing the UK’s cheapest flights to Rio, Brazil, from Gatwick starting in March.
Overall passenger growth at the airport has been more moderate than in recent years as airlines build towards full utilisation of slots made available and acquired when Monarch ceased trading.
This also resulted in fewer flights (air traffic movements) through the airport in the period compared to last year.
Gatwick Airport chief executive, Stewart Wingate, said: “The last six months have seen Gatwick continue to break new ground, while today the airport is serving 46 million annual passengers.
“Gatwick’s ever-growing global connectivity is set to further increase with China Eastern starting a new service to Shanghai in December and Norwegian to Rio in early 2019.
“Growth has been more moderate than in prior years as airlines are currently in the process of gearing up aircraft to be available to serve the capacity created by former Monarch slots.
“We are expecting to see stronger growth once these slots are fully utilised.”