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BBT March/April 2019 cover
March/April 2019

Record numbers give Gatwick ‘momentum’ for new runway

How Gatwick would look with two runways

Gatwick has used record annual passenger numbers of 38.7 million to launch a final push to be allowed to build a second runway.

The Airports Commission, headed by Sir Howard Davies, is due to announce its recommendation on whether Gatwick or Heathrow should be allowed to expand by the end of this month, amid rumours that the decision may be delayed.

Gatwick said that the fact that its passenger numbers were set to pass through the 40-million mark during 2015 showed the need for a second runway.

Stewart Wingate, CEO of Gatwick, said:  “Our record growth has shown why Gatwick remains the best choice. Gatwick expansion will deliver more passengers to more destinations and provide the economic boost the UK needs at a fraction of the environmental impact of Heathrow. 

“Our results are the latest illustration of the momentum gathering behind Gatwick’s case. We have seen a great response from our passengers to new Norwegian long haul services to the US which has resulted in impressive growth for these new routes.”

Gatwick is also set to benefit from new low-cost flights to Canada with Westjet due to start services from the Sussex airport in June 2016.

The airport saw turnover rise by 7.5 per cent to £638 million for the financial year ending on March 31, 2015, as passenger numbers increased by 7.8 per cent to 38.7 million. Gatwick made a pre-tax profit of £83.8 million for the year.

Gatwick said that it had set a world record for the number of flights from a single-runway airport in one day, with 906 air traffic movements during one day last August.

“The time is right for a decision on expansion. Gatwick is fast approaching capacity with almost 40 million passengers travelling with us this year, which puts us a decade ahead of Department for Transport predictions,” added Wingate.

“Our plan requires no taxpayer funding, can be delivered quickly, and would enhance competition - the UK will benefit from a strong network of competing airports which will keep fares low while boosting service and innovation.”

Meanwhile, aviation minister Robert Goodwill said that the government would act “decisively” when the Airports Commission report is finally released.

“We will consider it carefully and take the decision that has been put off for far too long,” said Goodwill at a conference held by travel association ABTA.

“Too many tough decisions on transport have been delayed or deferred. If we fail to invest in our transport networks now the growth we have seen may stall, we cannot afford to stall on making a decision any longer.”

Sir Howard Davies, chairman of the commission, is due to speak at the Runways UK event in London on July 6.

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