13 June 2013

More than 3.2 million passengers passed through London Gatwick in May 2013 – more than 231,800 passengers than the prior year.


  • Passenger traffic up by 7.8%, mainly due to the earlier half term holidays
  • Passengers flying to the Middle East and Africa increased by 23%
  • Load factors at a record high for the month at 82%

Traffic Commentary:

More than 3.2 million passengers passed through London Gatwick in May 2013 – more than 231,800 passengers than the prior year. Approximately a third of this number can be attributed to the timing of the half term holidays, which fell in May rather than June this year, coupled with the continuing poor weather in the UK which led to more getaways to warmer climes. In addition, the influx of football-related traffic (two international football events) combined with diverted traffic from the emergency closure of Heathrow also contributed to the increase.

Underpinning this was growth of 34,800 passengers on African and Middle Eastern routes, as passengers continued to travel to sunspots as well as key business markets. In total, long haul traffic was 6.6% up year-on-year.

The use of larger planes and increased frequencies on European routes (notably Barcelona and Alicante) helped offset the loss of traffic to North America, as US Airways has now ceased operations at Gatwick. The introduction of easyJet’s new Moscow route added an additional 15,000 passengers compared to the prior year but domestic flights were down following British Airways’ cancellation of its Manchester route.

Load factors - showing how full the average flight was - were at 82%. This was a record for the month and 2.6 percentage points higher than the prior year.

Other news in May included:

  • Turkish Airlines increased its services to Istanbul, adding a daily service to Sabiha Gökcen airport to double-daily services already offered to Ataürk airport.
  • Flybe confirmed its intention to sell its entire slot allocation to easyJet, effective from April 2014.
  • Thomson, the only UK airline to fly the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, has taken delivery of its first of the aircraft which will be based at Gatwick from the summer.

Nick Dunn, Chief Financial Officer for London Gatwick Airport, said: “While May has seen good growth in passenger numbers at Gatwick, this can be linked in the most part to the half-term holiday being in May this year rather than June and poor weather in the UK. June traffic growth month-to-date has been more subdued, returning to underlying trend.

“Gatwick is pleased to see continued growth of routes to key emerging markets, including increased services to Istanbul with Turkish Airlines this month. This builds on other successful services to key destinations such as Moscow with easyJet, which attracted around 15,000 extra passengers to Gatwick in May.”

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