London Gatwick has achieved its busiest-ever start to a year, as passenger numbers grew by four per cent in Q4, compared to 2018, as 9.7 million passengers travelled through in the first three months of 2019.
Long-haul growth was also strong in Q4, up 7.5 per cent. This contributed to another month of healthy cargo growth, 7.2 per cent quarter on quarter.
North Atlantic routes drove this busiest-ever start to a calendar year +15.3 per cent on Q4 2018. Responding to this transatlantic demand, Virgin Atlantic and Delta have announced plans to grow at Gatwick – with new routes to Boston Logan and New York JFK from summer 2020 – adding to Gatwick’s over 250 flights each week to the USA.
It comes as Gatwick welcomed more passengers than ever during February half-term. 1.2 million passengers travelled through the airport between 15th and 24th February and an increase of +7 per cent on the equivalent week last year.
Gatwick passengers are increasingly looking to go further afield at half-term with long-haul destinations up nearly 20 per cent for the holiday period, as 1 in 6 Gatwick passengers are currently travelling to long-haul destinations. Popular long-haul half-term destinations include Dubai and Bridgetown joining short haul favourites Dublin, Barcelona and Geneva.
February also saw the start of easyJet’s new Dusseldorf service, which operates 11 times per week to the business and leisure destination, and is the fifth new route from the airline at Gatwick in recent months, joining Aqaba, Rovaniemi, Warsaw and Aarhus. This follows the addition of a new service to the Turkish capital, Ankara, from Turkish Airlines in January as the number of capital cities served by Gatwick now stands at 50.
In the three month period, domestic routes to Isle of Man and Glasgow saw growth of +9.0 per cent and + five per cent, respectively. Meanwhile passengers using GatwickConnects, the airport’s service which enables passengers to book connecting flights via Gatwick, increased +80 per cent from Edinburgh, +58 per cent from Jersey and +50 per cent from Belfast in Q4.
Stewart Wingate, chief executive officer, Gatwick Airport said: “Gatwick’s year has started as we mean the rest of 2019 to go on. Our pioneering spirit at the airport is driving for success in both the short and long term.
“In the immediate period, we continue to innovate, enabling new and established airlines to grow to all parts of the world – including most recently a new service to Rio de Janeiro.
“Looking ahead to further opportunities, we will publish the final version of Gatwick’s masterplan later this year, outlining potential options for future growth.’