Gatwick Airport cheers long-haul growth as annual earnings rise

London’s Gatwick Airport has reported a 7.3% hike in annual earnings as it saw rising long-haul demand boost passenger numbers.

Britain’s second biggest airport – in which French construction and transport concession group Vinci recently bought a majority stake – posted underlying earnings of £441.4 million for the year to March 31.

It added 1.1 million long-haul passengers, up 14.3% on the previous year, helping overall passenger numbers swell to 46.4 million.

London Gatwick said the long-haul growth was driven by increased Far East connections, which jumped 45% higher year-on-year.

One in five airport passengers now travel long-haul to and from Gatwick, it said.

Gatwick also saw average income from each passenger increase 4.5% to £17.47, with total revenues lifting 6.1% to £810.8 million for the year.

It also stressed its so-called noise footprint was cut by 7% over the year thanks to better operational procedures and quieter aircraft.

And £249.3 million of capital investment was made on improving passenger facilities and operational performance, which comes as part of a £1.1 billion five-year spending programme to 2023.

Stewart Wingate, chief executive of Gatwick Airport, said: “Over the last year, we have achieved strong passenger growth matched by a reduction in our local noise footprint; robust financial results matched by record levels of investment back into the airport; and growing global connections fuelling increased trade and tourism opportunities.”

He added the group will unveil its “master plan” later this year, setting out long-term growth and developments for the airport.

The figures come after Vinci last month completed its deal to buy a 50.01% stake in Gatwick for £2.9 billion.

Vinci is now the second largest airport operator in the world, already running 45 airports in 12 countries.