Gatwick airport has reported an increase in passenger numbers. In March the UK's second largest airport, which boasts the busiest single runway in the world, served over 2.5 million passengers, in a 2.5 per cent rise from march 2012. The March numbers, which were the highest they'd been in five years, are thought to be due to this years cold weather and early Easter.
Overall, in the 12 months from April 2012 – March 2013, the number of people flying via Gatwick rose to 34.2 million passengers; up 1.2 per cent from 33.8 million the previous year. The owners' goal is for Gatwick to be handling 38 million passengers by 2020.
The figures show that more Brits were opting for Asia, Africa and the Caribbean. These long haul destinations saw significant growth, with an extra 27,800 passengers opting for them in March.
Stewart Wingate, Gatwick's chief executive, said, "this year Gatwick has continued to compete with other London airports in attracting more passengers, new airlines and new routes... we have seen traffic figures rise despite the backdrop of tough economic conditions at home and abroad. We will continue into this next financial year with the same drive and focus to create a world-class airport."
He went on to mention the number of new routes which began operating from Gatwick during the past year. These include Easyjet flights to Moscow and British Airways increasing the frequency of its Caribbean services. Gatwick also welcomed new airlines such as Air China, Icelandair, Air Arabia Maroc, Caribbean Airlines and Gambia Bird. However some airlines, like Adria Airways and Air Moldova, moved operations to other London airports.
The airport's growth comes amid its 1.2 billion makeover. Last month Gatwick revealed it was ready to handle A380 double-decker planes and the airport can brag that it has the largest World Duty Free Store in Europe. Later this year Gatwick will be the start point for the UK's first direct flight to Jakarta, Indonesia.