London Gatwick announced the busiest month in its history with more than 4.53 million passengers travelling through the airport in August, a +3.7% increase on the previous year.
The airport has achieved 30 months of consecutive growth with 39.5 million passengers passing through the airport in the last twelve months, +6% year on year.
Travel to the North Atlantic was a key driver in this history-making month, seeing growth of +9.5% on passengers flying to the US and Canada. The increase in passenger numbers highlights the benefits of offering travellers choice across a number of airlines to different destinations.
The biggest long-haul increase saw Orlando up 13.3% with passengers taking advantage of the offering from British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and Norwegian Air, the only airline at Gatwick to serve all long-haul routes with the Dreamliner.
The short-haul sector also performed strongly with growth to European destinations +5.5%, the equivalent to over 167,000 extra passengers compared to last year.
Gatwick CEO Stewart Wingate said:
“Airports Commission analysis predicted Gatwick would reach 40 million annual passengers in 2024 yet, in August 2015, we reached the 39.5 million passengers mark. We are in touching distance of 40 million and on track to reach this milestone within a matter of weeks. This is more evidence of the flaws in the Airports Commission and we will continue to make our case to Government as it approaches a decision. Gatwick remains the best and most deliverable option to actually deliver the runway that the UK needs.
“While we are already at capacity at peak times, we continue to make substantial investment in the airport to allow us to continue to grow. This week, we reached the half-way point in our project to renew and revitalise our North Terminal which is part of our £2 billion transformation programme.
“The fact remains, however, that the UK needs extra runway capacity and Gatwick can deliver this more simply, quicker, and with no burden passed on to the tax-payer.”
Madrid saw the biggest growth in passenger numbers with 32% more travellers flying to the Spanish capital. This thanks in-part to the introduction of Spanish carrier Iberia Express, as well as increased frequency from other airlines, which provides passengers with extra choice and more competition on an already popular route.
Other strong European performers saw passenger numbers up 58.5% to Berlin (Schonefeld) and Rome up 22.5% as travellers took advantage of the variety that over 220 destinations from Gatwick provides. An additional 222,440 passengers travelled through London Gatwick in August compared to the same month in 2014.
Seventy four additional flights are operating from the airport compared to this time last year. Passenger growth is the result of more air traffic movements per hour and larger aircraft being used on average across the airlines. Average load factors were consistently strong at 91.3%, +0.5 points on the previous year.