Gatwick Airport reports passenger traffic rise

16 April 2012 (Last Updated April 16th, 2012 18:30)

Gatwick Airport in the UK reported a 2.172 million or 6.9% rise in passenger traffic during the year ended in 31 March 2012 serving about 33.8 million passengers.

Gatwick Airport in the UK reported a 2.172 million, or 6.9%, rise in passenger traffic during the year ending on 31 March 2012, serving about 33.8 million passengers.

Passenger traffic during the previous year was affected by several reasons but mostly due to the disruption caused by the eruption of Eyjafjallajökull in Iceland and adjusting the impact of eruption the underlying traffic growth is estimated at 3%.

Gatwick Airport chief executive, Stewart Wingate, said: "This has been a successful year for Gatwick, having achieved passenger growth every single month despite the economic headwinds being faced in our industry."

"We have been competing vigorously with other London airports including Heathrow, Stansted and Luton and we have been winning new routes to the UK's key trading partners, providing direct connections between London and high growth economies," said Wingate.

Gatwick airport passenger traffic was also affected due to industrial action at British Airways and snowfall in November and December 2010.

Gatwick Airport authorities said an estimated 600,000 passengers did not travel in April 2010, and passenger numbers in May and June 2010 were impacted by sporadic closures to airspace above Gatwick and elsewhere in the UK and Europe.

There was no significant period of winter weather disruption during 2011 while during the previous year UK witnessed heavy snowfall in November and December 2010 leading to an estimated 281,000 passengers not travelling.

Gatwick airport witnessed passenger growth in short haul markets, particularly from low cost carriers.

The airport operator said though there was a reduction in long haul capacity by charter airlines, it was offset by the introduction of new carriers from Asia.

European scheduled passengers contributed significantly to the growth of traffic at the airport with a rise a 13.8% and represents 52.6% of total passengers for the year compared 49.4% in 2011.