Gatwick Airport Results: Record year of investment takes Gatwick past 45 million passengers milestone

04 July 2017

Gatwick Airport today published its results for the year ended 31 March 2017 as the airport smashed through the 45 million annual passengers milestone.

Gatwick has also just completed the biggest year of investment in the airport’s history as it continues to deliver on its ambitious plans for growth.

The airport’s annual results published today, are the latest demonstration of Gatwick’s impressive growth record with 44.1 million passengers passing through the airport in 2016/17 - an increase of 3.2 million passengers or 7.7%. This growth has been matched by record levels of service for our passengers with customer satisfaction and advocacy at an all-time high.

Long-haul continues to be a success story with routes growing 13.6% and now represent one in five of Gatwick’s passengers. As capacity issues become a challenge, Gatwick will continue to see considerable growth in passenger numbers as airlines swap short haul for long haul services. Norwegian’s new route to Buenos Aires using a B787 Dreamliner, for instance, will replace a short haul European service in Gatwick’s schedule.

Gatwick is due to welcome the world’s longest low-cost long-haul route - to Singapore - this September. North Atlantic routes were up 38.7%, with the two new routes launched by Norwegian in the year, Las Vegas and Oakland, San Francisco, contributing to this growth. Norwegian are set to further increase their US routes from Gatwick with Denver and Seattle starting September 2017 and a further direct route to Buenos Aires starts in February. Meanwhile, China Airlines will be adding to Gatwick’s Asia routes and starting a new service to Taipei in December 2017, bringing Gatwick’s total long-haul routes to 60.

Stewart Wingate, CEO of Gatwick Airport, said:

“It has been another record-breaking year and another chapter in the transformation of Gatwick. Our continued growth and success is a testament to record investment, increased competition, and our renewed focus on efficiency and service. It is a simple fact that, of the top 20 airports in the world by passenger growth, Gatwick is the only one with a single runway. We continue to offer the UK a financeable and deliverable second runway scheme which we stand ready to deliver should the Government give us the go-ahead.

“Our world record passenger numbers and increased long haul connectivity has been matched by a transformed airport experience which our passengers have recognised by giving us all-time high service quality results. We have, this week, broken through the 45 million annual passengers mark which is 13 million passengers a year more than we served in 2009 when Gatwick came into independent ownership.

“Gatwick has a bright future – we will invest £240 million this year as we continue our £2.5 billion programme to improve our facilities, improve our service and passenger experience, and improve our performance so we can realise our ambitious plans to grow even further.

“This will lay some of the physical groundwork for our continued growth. Improvements planned include an extension to Pier 6 and changes to the taxiway configuration to improve efficiency on the airfield even further.”

Average seats per air traffic movement increased by four seats per movement reflecting the airport’s increased long-haul flights. Meanwhile, air traffic movements increased by 4.9% to 280,000 ATMs annually, with the airport serving more than 177,000 passengers in its busiest day. Gatwick’s vital role within the UK economy was demonstrated by growth on domestic routes of +10.3%, as passengers took advantage of the regional services available from the London airport best connected to the rest of the UK.

Unprecedented growth

  • Revenue up 7.7% to £725.0 million. Combined with carefully controlled cost management, this resulted in EBITDA up 12.9% to £373.6 million and a profit before tax of £131.8 million
  • The year ended 31 March 2017 was the busiest in Gatwick’s history with 44.1 million passengers, an increase of 3.2 million passengers or 7.7% passengers
  • Gatwick’s growth is a combination of more planes, bigger planes and fuller planes – average load factors have increased to 85.2%
  • North Atlantic routes were up +38.7%, with the two new routes launched by Norwegian in the year, Las Vegas and Oakland, San Francisco, contributing to this growth
  • Passengers travelling to the Caribbean and Latin America increased 11.8% with British Airways having introduced new routes to Costa Rica and Peru.

New routes and terminal developments

  • Following two years of meticulous planning, one of the most complex projects Gatwick has ever undertaken was successfully completed as British Airways moved operations to the South Terminal and easyJet and Virgin Atlantic were consolidated in the North Terminal
  • Growth across a broad range of travel markets with long-haul traffic, European business routes and destinations in combining to fuel a record-breaking year
  • Several airlines have increased frequencies on routes and introduced new destinations with Cathay Pacific increasing, to daily, the frequency of their Hong Kong service and Rwandair providing a new service to Kigali
  • New routes from Gatwick include four new services from Norwegian - Singapore, Seattle and Denver starting this September, and Buenos Aires starting in February 2018
  • China Airlines will be adding to Gatwick’s Asia routes and starting a new service to Taipei in December 2017
  • Gatwick featured on the list of the fastest growing airports based upon Airports Council International‘s statistics for 2016. Growth is based upon the yearly change in passenger traffic between 2015 and 2016; only the world’s top 50 airports by passenger number were included
  • Gatwick has recently announced that Jamie Oliver will bring a new flagship restaurant The Diner to the airport, while Reiss and Jack Wills have joined the airport’s range of retail stores.
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