Gatwick sustains passenger figures with help of new airlines

Gatwick Airport in the UK has managed to sustain its 2012/13 passenger figures slightly ahead of last year thanks to new carriers that have opened services to the airport.

The airport had lost routes from its previous carriers but still achieved an increase of 400,000 passengers or 1.2 percent on the previous year, for a total footfall of 34.2 million. Ryanair’s Irish routes and Korean Air’s Seoul service were among Gatwick’s larger casualties, but new business from Air China, Iraqi Airways, Caribbean Airlines, Vueling, Gambia Bird and Icelandair more than filled the gap. In addition, Easyjet added a Moscow service, Norwegian Air Shuttle added 12 new routes and British Airways added new services to Europe and the Caribbean.

Stewart Wingate, chief executive at Gatwick, said, ‘Today, passengers can fly direct to Beijing, Istanbul, Moscow and Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi in Vietnam from Gatwick. This is important in the context of ensuring the UK has the international connectivity it needs to remain globally competitive. We will continue into this next financial year with the same drive and focus to create a world-class airport.’

The airport is currently undergoing a £1.2 billion upgrade, some of which has been spent on remodelling the South Terminal departures area that will reopen this summer. It is now also capable of accommodating the new giant Airbus A380 aircraft, following the completion of a new pier that received a test flight just a few days ago. Gatwicks owner, Global Infrastructure Partners, will now be keen to secure regular traffic for that investment, which could dramatically increase passenger figures without impinging greatly on the airport’s flight capacity.