Gatwick boss reiterates second runway plea
The chief executive of London Gatwick airport has reiterated his demand for a second runway at the transport hub, claiming that a 4.4 per cent rise in passengers in the half-year to September 30th more than justifies the additional capacity.
Stewart Wingate, who has headed management of the airport since 2009, said that more than 20.8 million people boarded flights at Gatwick between March and September this year, while turnover was up by more than ten per cent to £360.6 million. A pre-tax profit of £127.3 million was also reported.
A £1 billion programme is currently transforming the transport hub into a state-of-the-art facility, with the shops in the South Terminal undergoing a makeover estimated to cost £45 million alone.
The investment is said to have contributed an extra £3.55 per passenger on income.
Mr Wingate, who has previously been vocal about ambitions to expand Gatwick, said that the high profits and turnover were evidence enough of the demand on the airport’s capacity.
“This is just the start of what Gatwick has to offer,” he explained. “A new runway here would deliver the routes that passengers actually want at a better price, more quickly with significantly less environmental impact. The UK’s next runway has got to be at Gatwick.”
However, despite the successful results, Mr Wingate added that the management team would not become complacent and will continue to strive for better passenger services.
“Next year, we will continue to grow our long-haul network with routes including Jakarta, New York and Los Angeles,” he concluded.
With the Airports Commission due to deliver its interim report on airport capacity next month, the industry will no doubt be watching to see which options will be recommended to the government.
Among the suggestions competing with Gatwick’s second runway are a third runway at Heathrow and an entirely new airport in the Thames Estuary.