UK’s Heathrow and Gatwick airports have released the latest traffic figures that reveal both handled a record number of passengers in June amid discussions regarding the proposed expansion of the country’s airspace.
Gatwick airport said that it handled around 3.8 million passengers, an increase of 5% over 2014,while Heathrow recorded a 1.1% increase with more than 6.68 million passengers.
Gatwick airport attributed its growth to long-haul routes that grew by 8% since June 2014, Heathrow acknowledged the contribution made by larger, quieter aircraft to its growth. Seats per aircraft at the Heathrow airport increased by 2.2% to 208, while passengers per aircraft increased by 0.4% to 165.1.
Both the airports claimed that their positive growth patterns indicated that the expansion should be carried out at their respective airports.
Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye said: "On the first of July, the Airports Commission ended the debate on where a new runway should be built by unanimously recommending Heathrow’s new expansion plan.
"It’s now a binary choice for the British Government. We either expand Heathrow – creating jobs, growth, a rebalanced economy and lucrative export routes – or we do nothing and retreat as a nation. The answer is obvious, so let’s get on with it."
Gatwick CEO Stewart Wingate said: "Gatwick remains the best option for expansion as it can cater for all airline types flying to all types of destination – this is clearly illustrated by the growth in the numbers of passengers choosing long haul services at Gatwick.
"The growth of our transatlantic routes, which from May will include Boston, is the latest demonstration of the way the industry is moving – with a new generation of carriers and aircraft fuelling the low cost long-haul revolution."
Meanwhile, the construction of a third runway at the Heathrow airport, as recommended by the Airports Commission is facing resistance, with action group Plane Stupid protesting on the airport’s runway on Monday.
The protest led to the arrest of 13 activists under the Aviation Act offences.
Image: Both Heathrow and Gatwick airports said that their positive growth patterns indicated that the expansion should be carried out at their respective airports. Photo: courtesy of LHR Airports.