New routes to Russia, Korea and China helped Gatwick airport fly almost 20 million passengers in the six months to October, sending underlying earnings up 4.8% to £172 million.
The airport — which is the world’s busiest single-runway base — said it saw the number of fliers passing through its baggage halls rise by 230,000 to 19.9 million in the half year, with most of the surge from European budget carriers and Asian airlines serving Beijing, Seoul and Vietnam.
Gatwick’s chief executive Stewart Wingate claimed the airport had been transformed since its £1.5 billion acquisition in 2009 by private equity group Global Infrastructure Partners. Gatwick’s previous owner, the Heathrow operator BAA, was forced to sell it by the Competition Commission.
“Three years of competition has seen Gatwick grow its European short-haul business, and open up new routes to Russia, China, Vietnam and Korea,” he said. “This proves passengers are best served by allowing airports to compete.”
Heathrow is being forced by the CC to sell Stansted airport, and Gatwick has put its hat into Britain’s row over aviation strategy by proposing a second runway. “We believe growth at Gatwick is the best option for increasing connectivity for the next generation,” Wingate added. The airport said that although passenger numbers in July and early August were hit by Britons staying put for the Olympics, the traffic came back afterwards as passengers booked post-Games holidays.Reuse content