London Gatwick Airport achieved its busiest-ever start to a financial year as passenger numbers grew by 1.7 per cent in the first quarter (Q1) compared to 2018.
The airport welcomed 12.5 million passengers in the first three months of 2019/2020 and traffic on a moving annual basis over the last 12 months is up 1.9 per cent to 46.6 million.
Long-haul growth was also strong in Q1, up 2.2 per cent. North Atlantic routes drove this busiest-ever start to a calendar year. Traffic is up to Tampa by 58 per cent, Winnipeg 29 per cent, Calgary 28 per cent, New York 28 per cent and Orlando 15 per cent. Further afield passengers to Doha increased 190 per cent, Colombo 151 per cent and Buenos Aires 58 per cent.
Responding to the passenger demand for flights to Doha, and beyond, Qatar Airways increased flight frequency from Gatwick, in June, with the carrier now flying three times daily up from 16 flights weekly.
During Q1, Gatwick welcomed more passengers than ever before during the Easter holidays, 2.5 per cent more compared to Easter 2018. European sun featured most prominently among the fastest growing Easter destinations with Bilbao up 119.4 per cent, Bodrum 112.9 per cent, Budapest 105.8 per cent, Mahon 86.3 per cent and Vienna 73 per cent.
Cargo tonnage was down 2.8 per cent in Q1 to 26,121 tonnes, but in the last 12 months it is up 6.3 per cent to 113,785 tonnes.
Gatwick Airport chief executive officer, Stewart Wingate said: “In the near future, we will publish the final version of Gatwick’s masterplan, outlining potential options for future growth enabling the airport to make more of the world’s most exciting destinations accessible to more people than ever before while boosting trade and tourism opportunities locally and nationally.”