Gatwick Airport Interim Results: Global connectivity grows as airport reaches 46 million passenger milestone

03 December 2018

Gatwick Airport today announced its interim financial results for the six months ending 30 September 2018.

The airport has continued to demonstrate the important role that it plays for Britain and its local economy with passenger numbers reaching an all-time high, for a six month reporting period, of 26.5m, up 100,000 passengers (+0.5%) on last year. More recently, the airport has announced that as of November 2018, it has welcomes 46 million annual passengers – the first time ever the airport has achieved this milestone in a twelve month period. 

Passenger growth was driven by the airport’s long-haul connections up 21.3% which drove a +21.0% increase in cargo tonnage compared to last year. 1 in 6 airport passengers now travel to a long-haul destination.

New long-haul connections for this six month reporting period include Qatar and Chicago. Plus, building on increased passenger numbers to China, up 54.3% year on year, China Eastern will start a brand new service from the airport to Shanghai in December. Meanwhile, Norwegian have announced, this week, that the airline will be providing the UK’s cheapest flights to Rio, Brazil, from Gatwick starting March 2019.

Overall passenger growth at the airport has been more moderate than in recent years as airlines build towards full utilisation of slots made available and acquired when Monarch ceased trading. This also resulted in fewer flights (air traffic movements) through the airport in the period compared to last year. 

In response to passenger demand for Gatwick’s global connectivity, the airport has published its draft master plan, setting out the airport’s vision for growth to the 2030s.

The publication of Gatwick’s draft master plan reflects Department for Transport guidance for airports to provide regular updates on their long-term plans, and responds to the Government’s recent Aviation Strategy calling on UK airports to ‘make best use of their existing runways’.

The airport is now keen to encourage responses to a 12-week public consultation it has launched to gather feedback and views on the draft master plan. The consultation is live until 5pm on 10 January 2019 and can be completed

Gatwick Airport, Chief Executive Officer, Stewart Wingate said:

“The last six months have seen Gatwick continue to break new ground, while today the airport is serving 46 million annual passengers. 

“Gatwick’s ever-growing global connectivity is set to further increase with China Eastern starting a new service to Shanghai in December and Norwegian to Rio in early 2019. Growth has been more moderate than in prior years as airlines are currently in the process of gearing up aircraft to be available to serve the capacity created by former Monarch slots. We are expecting to see stronger growth once these slots are fully utilised.

“In response to passenger demand for Gatwick’s global connectivity, we have published the airport’s draft master plan, setting out our vision for growth to the 2030s. We are now seeking feedback from the public, including our local neighbours and our airport partners on this draft master plan, as we seek to fulfil our role for the country, in the most sustainable way.” 

Continued growth

  • Revenue up 5.4% to £512.5 million. Combined with careful cost management, this resulted in EBITDA up 5.9% to £325 million and a profit after tax of £139.1million
  • The half year to the end of September 2018 was the busiest six months in Gatwick’s history with 26.5 million passengers, an increase of 100,000 passengers (0.5%) 

New airlines and routes

  • Growth across a broad range of travel markets with long-haul traffic, European business routes and destinations in Asia combining to fuel growth in the last six months even with capacity lost as a result of Monarch ceasing to trade
  • Gatwick adds 800,000 long-haul passengers, as 1 in 6 of the airport’s passengers are travelling long-haul
  • New long-haul services from Gatwick since the same six months last year ending September 2017:
  • Qatar Airways to Doha
  • China Airlines to Taipei
  • Norwegian to Singapore, Buenos Aires, Chicago, Austin, Denver, Seattle
  • China Eastern airlines to start to fly to Shanghai from December 2018 while Norwegian are to fly to Rio from early 2018 


  • Retail income increased by 10.0% period-on-period to £107.9 million with an increase in income per passenger of 9.0% to £4.00.
  • Work started in the airport’s north terminal departure lounge to create a new mezzanine level to accommodate new restaurants.

Airport developments

  • Work has started on Boeing’s new hangar at Gatwick providing on-site engineering and maintenance capability and creating 100 new on airport jobs.
  • £3.1 billion investment committed at the airport between 2010 – 2023 with £1.1 billion due to be spent over the next five years. Projects include: 
  • Gatwick is designing and planning an extension to Pier 6, as the airport requires additional aircraft stands to meet passenger forecast demand and maintain pier service levels, taking the pier to seventeen stands from eleven currently


  • In June 2018, Gatwick became the first airport to secure ‘Zero Waste to Landfill’ accreditation from the Carbon Trust and was recertified as a carbon natural airport
  • The Gatwick Foundation Fund awarded £300,000 to deserving community projects during the past year.  Working in partnership with the Community Foundations in Kent, Surrey and Sussex, the Airport was able to fund 80 projects supporting the needs of young people, families, and the elderly. 

About Gatwick Airport

Gatwick’s 2018 draft master plan sets out proposals for the airport’s ongoing development and sustainable growth. It also outlines the airport’s latest thinking on how it can meet the increasing demand for air travel and provide Britain with enhanced global connectivity. A public consultation will run on the draft master plan until 10 January 2019 and will help inform the publication of the final master plan next year.

Gatwick Airport is the UK’s second largest airport. It serves more than 228 destinations in 74 countries for 46 million passengers a year on short and long-haul point-to-point services. It is also a major economic driver and generates around 85,000 jobs nationally, with 24,000 of these located on the airport. The airport is south of Central London with excellent public transport links, including the Gatwick Express, and is part of the Oyster contactless payment network. Gatwick Airport is owned by a group of international investment funds, of which Global Infrastructure Partners is the largest shareholder.

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