Heathrow and Gatwick step up expansion bids via rising traffic numbers

13 April 2015 (Last Updated April 13th, 2015 18:30)

UK’s Heathrow and Gatwick airports released record-breaking numbers for March, both making a case for expansion to accommodate growth.

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UK's Heathrow and Gatwick airports released record-breaking numbers for March, both making a case for expansion to accommodate growth.

While Gatwick said it registered traffic of 2.96 million passengers which was a 9.2% increase over last year's numbers, Heathrow said it served 5.95 million passengers which was an increase of 3.4%.

Armed with the data, both airports claim to be the busiest, stressing on the need for expansion.

"Along with easyJet's recent announcement that it plans to operate new domestic routes from Heathrow, this demonstrates our commitment that expanding Heathrow will connect all of Britain to global growth."

Gatwick Airport's CEO, Stewart Wingate said: "March is our 25th consecutive month of growth, and in just one year we expect to hit more than 40 million passengers per year, which will see us reach this milestone a decade ahead of when the DfT forecasted we would.

"Our continued growth has limits, and we urge the new Government to act swiftly after the election to unlock the capacity challenges for the South East. Expanding Gatwick would promote competition in the airport sector and keep travel affordable at a time of economic recovery.

"The figures speak for themselves - we need to build a second runway in order to realise our potential and to maximise the nation's connectivity to the rest of the world. Let us deliver against our promise to build a new runway sooner, at lower cost, and without the environmental obstacles that Heathrow would face."

Heathrow said that larger, fuller, quieter aircraft at Heathrow was the primary driver for passenger growth.

Speaking about the increase in numbers, Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye said: "All the growth in the world is in faraway markets like China, Vietnam and Mexico - we can create jobs right across Britain if we make it easy to get there from anywhere in the UK.

"This month we have announced measures to help airlines establish services from UK airports to Heathrow, including lower charges for domestic passengers and a route development fund.

"Along with easyJet's recent announcement that it plans to operate new domestic routes from Heathrow, this demonstrates our commitment that expanding Heathrow will connect all of Britain to global growth. Now, let's get on with it."

Both Heathrow and Gatwick airports have been embroiled in a bidding battle for expansion. Recently, both announced measures to increase regional connectivity if they were chosen for expansion.


Image: Both Heathrow and Gatwick airport reported increased passenger traffic for March. Photo: courtesy of LHR Airports Limited.