Heathrow and Gatwick see passenger numbers rise

Gatwick and Heathrow both posted strong passenger numbers at the end of 2013, with business travel thought to have played a large part, moodiereport.com claims.

Heathrow welcomed some 72.3 million passengers during the course of 2013 – making for an annual increase of 3.4 per cent. Of this, some 5.8 million passengers made their way through its gates in December, itself a 2.8 per cent rise on figures recorded during the same time in 2012.

In positive news for airport chiefs, these increases came at the same time as aircraft movements dropped (by 0.4 per cent to 469,552), making for a much more efficient service.

It was a similar story in Gatwick, where a rise of 3.6 per cent made for a grand total of 35.4 million passengers welcomed through the airport in 2013. December’s figures, meanwhile, rose by 4.8 per cent to total 2.38 million.

Unlike Heathrow, however, Gatwick saw an increase in aircraft movements of 1.6 per cent, eventually reaching 244,552.

Commenting on the growth, chief financial officer at Gatwick, Nick Dunn, told airport-world.com: “European travel, particularly on business routes, continues to steadily grow at Gatwick with passengers making the most of our extensive choice of key European destinations – the largest on offer of any UK airport.

“Alongside European growth, we continue to see strong performance in long haul, particularly on established routes to the Middle East such as Dubai. This route will be further strengthened by December’s announcement that Emirates will fly a daily A380 service to Dubai from March.”