Gatwick has continued its emergence as a serious rival to London Heathrow airport with the launch of its summer schedule.
Korean Air commenced services between Gatwick and Seoul on April 28th, followed shortly afterwards by Air China, which started flights to Beijing on the May 2nd.
However, passenger numbers were down 1.3 per cent on the previous April, primarily driven by the Easter holidays starting in April last year but in March this year, and the additional public holiday in April 2011 to mark the royal wedding.
Average load factors were up 1.2 percentage points to 80.9 per cent in April 2012, despite the year-on-year shift in holidays.
Air traffic movements were down 2.6 per cent year-on-year due to reductions in charter operations and some away-based carriers, offset by growth from Gatwick-based low cost operators and new long haul airlines.
Air Nigeria confirmed they will commence daily flights to Lagos from May 17th.
Gatwick will also welcome Caribbean Airlines on June 15th who are planning to operate a six times per week service Port of Spain, Trinidad.
Nick Dunn, Gatwick Airport’s chief financial officer said: “The year-on-year decrease in passenger traffic is largely accounted for by the timing of public holidays in April 2011, including the late Easter holiday weekend, the additional holiday to mark the royal wedding and the early May bank holiday. Despite this, planes were flying fuller with load factors up 1.2 percentage points.
“This month we were given a vote of confidence by Korean Air and Air China as they launched operations to Seoul and Beijing respectively.
“With room to accommodate more flights, we are in a strong position to help London remain one of the best connected cities in the world.”