London Gatwick Airport served 2.3 million passengers in February; an increase of 7.7% compared with 2.1 million passengers during the corresponding period in 2013.
The growth was driven by the traffic to European routes, with about 1.5 million passengers flying to these destinations, representing a year-over-year increase of 8.2%.
The increase in traffic to European routes was primarily due to flights to key business routes with destinations as diverse as Oslo, Istanbul, Moscow and Helsinki, which was complemented by growth on leisure routes, particularly to Spain and Portugal.
This was offset by fewer passengers on charter flights to European leisure destinations, indicating the longer-term market shift towards scheduled, low cost airlines.
Long-haul growth increased by 15.6%, primarily due to the increases on leisure routes such as Thailand and Sri Lanka, which was complemented by growth on long haul business routes such as to Dubai.
London Gatwick CFO Nick Dunn said: "The arrival of the Emirates A380 on its Gatwick-Dubai route and Air China’s reintroduction of direct flights to Beijing in March will further strengthen the growth Gatwick has seen in February on established routes to the Middle East, Far East and Indian sub-continent.
"However we also expect to sustain strong performance on routes to Europe, a market which will continue to dominate in terms of where passengers want to fly for both business and leisure from London."
Gatwick noted that it worked quickly and closely with others in the aviation industry to assist the flood-stricken South West, and waived charges on additional flights to and from Newquay.
Load factors, which indicate how full the average flight was, stood at 80.7%; in line with the prior year.
Image: The passenger traffic at Gatwick Airport was driven by the traffic to European routes, which registered a year-over-year increase of 8.2%. Photo: courtesy of Gatwick Airport Limited.