All-time high passenger numbers recorded at Gatwick Airport

One in six Gatwick Airport passengers now travel to a long-haul destination.

Wednesday, 27th June 2018, 2:27 pm
Updated Monday, 16th July 2018, 4:48 pm
Gatwick Airport

This is one of the facts revealed as the airport announced its annual financial results for the twelve months ending 31 March 2018.

The airport says it has continued to demonstrate the important role that it plays for Britain with passenger numbers reaching an all-time high of 45.7m, up 3.6% on last year, resulting in an extra 1.6 million people travelling through Gatwick.

Passenger growth was driven by the airport’s long-haul connections with an additional one million long-haul passengers (up 14.4% on 2016/2017) travelling through Gatwick.

In the last financial year, nine new long-haul routes have started from the airport to destinations including Buenos Aires, Taipei and Singapore. Plus, building on increased passenger numbers to China, up 44.5% year on year, next week Air China will start the UK’s only direct connection to Chengdu.

The airport’s long-haul growth, up 14.4%, drove a +20.4% increase in cargo tonnage compared to last year. Recent research by Oxford Economics has found that in 2017, £7.5 billion worth of goods were transported between the UK and overseas markets, through flights that arrived at or departed from Gatwick.

Nick Dunn, Chief Financial Officer, Gatwick Airport, said: “Gatwick’s global connectivity has grown dramatically with nine new long-haul routes in the last year alone. We now offer 67 long-haul routes in total including the UK’s only direct service to Chengdu, which is due to start flying next week.

“Our increased network drives increased cargo capacity - another example of the vital role Gatwick plays for Britain. As the country prepares for Brexit, it is critical that we continue to grow our long-haul links in addition to connections within the UK and Europe.

“We have ambitious plans to further enhance the experience for passengers at the airport, with a commitment to invest over £3 billion between 2010 - 2023, including an extension to Pier 6 providing six new aircraft stands, plus a new mezzanine level in the North Terminal departure lounge to accommodate new restaurants.

“Gatwick welcomes and is focussed on the Government’s recent challenge to all airports to make the best use of their existing runways. It is vital that all airports are encouraged to increase capacity and we are exploring the best way Gatwick can continue to grow sustainably to support the local and national economy so that Britain can reap the benefits of greater global connectivity.”

The year to the end of March 2018 was the busiest in Gatwick’s history with 45.7 million passengers, an increase of 3.6% or 1.6 million passengers

Gatwick’s growth is a combination of more planes, bigger planes and fuller planes – each aircraft at Gatwick is carrying five (4.6) more passengers, on average, than last year

New airlines and routes


The financial year ending March 2018 saw retail openings at the airport from the following brands:

- A brand new walk through World Duty Free store opened in the North Terminal in September 2017

- The stationery brand kikki.K arrived at Gatwick in March 2018 also joined by toy retailer Hamleys in December 2017

- Clothing brand Reiss opened in the South Terminal with Superdry and Jack Wills arriving into the North Terminal

- Jamie Oliver’s The Diner, a homage to American comfort food, comprising a diner restaurant section, an art-deco inspired bar plus also a ‘grab and go’ deli opened in August 2017

Retail income increased by 8.8% period-on-period to £177.3 million with an increase in income per passenger of 4.9% to £3.82

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.

£3.14 billion investment committed at the airport between 2010 – 2023 with £1.11 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 service levels, taking the pier to seventeen stands from eleven currently

- A new mezzanine level extension in the North Terminal departure lounge to accommodate new restaurants

Gatwick’s passenger app launched in the year and has already received the accolades of Mobile Innovation of the Year at the National Technology Awards and Mobile App of the Year at the Real IT awards

Multi-award winning year for Gatwick with the airport scooping Airport of the Year at the London Transport Awards, Airport of the Year at the UK Transport Awards and Best Airport at the Airport Operators Association Awards


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.