London Gatwick has reported a fall in passenger numbers for January with figures showing an overall drop of 0.8% despite rises in the wider domestic and long haul markets.
London’s second largest airport, has cited the on-going challenges of the economic climate in continental Europe as the primary reason for the fall in traffic, with the number of scheduled and charter flights to the continent down on previous years. There was also a further blow as Korean Air announced that it was withdrawing its Gatwick-Seoul service, due to the economic conditions in the UK.
Unlike Heathrow – which saw a slight increase in passenger numbers last month – the adverse weather conditions have not affected Gatwick this winter, as their £8 million investment in a snow-clearing fleet has allowed the airport to remain fully operational.
The news is not all bad though, as Gatwick’s domestic and long-haul markets grew by 6,800 and 21,900 passengers, respectively. Load factors were also up by 1.3% to 74.9%. Countering the fall in European traffic the airport has seen strong growth in its long-haul routes serving Asia; including a new route to Jakarta, announced by Garuda Indonesia last week.
Talking about the figures Gatwick’s chief financial officer, Nick Dunn, said: “In January we saw a slight decline in the number of passengers travelling through Gatwick, which is a reflection of lower European traffic. However this was balanced with growth from long-haul airlines serving Asia.
“We are delighted that Garuda Indonesia has chosen Gatwick to operate a vital new direct route to a key high-growth business market. Jakarta is also a major hub airport for South East Asia, giving UK passengers even more access and choice to the region.”