Gatwick boss Stewart Wingate says: “It’s between me and Heathrow” for a new runway

Stewart Wingate, the CEO of Gatwick, has said the growing number of new routes and rising passenger traffic at Gatwick are proof the airport is the best place for an extra runway. This comes in the run-up to the anticipated interim report by the Airports Commission, due in mid December, short-listing possible sites for a new runway. Stewart Wingate has said  he will resign if Gatwick is not on the short-list, which it is bound to be. He said: “What I’m offering is a mixture of carriers with low costs, low environmental impact [?] that nobody else can offer.” There are a growing number of long  haul routes from Gatwick, and Gatwick firmly believes that the hub model that suits Heathrow is not necessary for UK aviation. Much of Gatwick’s travel is low cost holiday flights to Europe, which Heathrow does little of. The recent CAA air passenger survey showed that in 2012 Gatwick  had 17.5% of its passengers on business trips (12.6% international) with the remaining 82.5% travelling for leisure purposes. The number of passengers using Gatwick in the first 6 months of 2013 was 2.6% up on 2012.


In 2012 the number of flights at Gatwick was  240,456 which was -1.7% lower than in 2011. Gatwick had about  34,220,400 passengers in 2012 which was +1.7% more than in 2011.

Gatwick boss: It’s between me and Heathrow

Stewart       Wingate wants a runway

by Marion Dakers
November 27, 2013  (City AM)

GATWICK’S boss yesterday pointed to a growing number of new routes and rising passenger traffic as proof the airport is the best place for an extra runway in the south east of England.

Stewart Wingate is “highly confident” that Gatwick will be on the aviation commission’s shortlist for new capacity next month, repeating yesterday his pledge to resign if the south London airport fails to make the cut.

“I think it’s time people nailed their colours to the mast. What I’m offering is a mixture of carriers with low costs, low environmental impact that nobody else can offer,” he told City A.M.

The airport launched EasyJet’s flights to Moscow in March, while Norwegian plans to base routes to several American cities there next year. Gatwick wants to build a second runway.

“Heathrow were saying last week that we need a hub to get to the US; nothing could be further from the truth,” said Wingate.

Heathrow, Europe’s busiest airport by passenger traffic, is lobbying for permission to build a third runway. It claims customers are best served by hub connections at a single site.

Wingate, who thinks Sir Howard Davies’ panel should narrow its shortlist to Gatwick and Heathrow, reckons the west London option will end up costing customers more.

“They can’t serve that low cost market in Europe and people need to start asking Colin Matthews and Heathrow how they intend to serve low cost European markets.

“And Sir Howard Davies, are you going to encumber the next generation with higher fees and higher environmental impact when it’s not necessary?”

His comments came as the airport posted a 10.7 per cent jump in half-year [6 months March to September] turnover to £360.6m, while cost pruning efforts pushed earnings up 14.4 per cent to £196.7m.

Gatwick took 20.8m passengers through its doors in the [6 months March to September] period, up 4.4% on the same time a year ago.



GATWICK terminal passengers (CAA data)


2002      29 518
2003      29 893
2004      31 392
2005      32 693
2006      34 080
2007      35 165
2008      34 162
2009      32 361
2010      31 342
2011      33 644
2012      34 219



Gatwick airport’s website says:

Since 2011, Gatwick attracted new routes to Indonesia, Turkey, Vietnam, China and Russia. We continue to provide connections to closer destinations with new routes to Germany and Iceland recently announced and we have seen growth from some of our established carriers including easyJet and Norwegian Air Shuttle. Gatwick’s improving connections should help to maintain London’s role as a major hub.

  • Gatwick serves more destinations than any other UK Airport (source: OAG data).
  • Around 45 airlines use Gatwick serving approximately 200 destinations. [further up the same page it says 185 destinations]
  • EasyJet is Gatwick’s largest customer; they fly 37% of the total number of passengers at the airport.
  • British Airways is the second largest carrier at Gatwick, accounting for 14% of passenger traffic.

Top ten international destinations 2012/13

  • Malaga
  • Dublin
  • Barcelona
  • Geneva
  • Amsterdam
  • Orlando
  • Faro
  • Dubai
  • Madrid
  • Palma de Mallorca


  • Edinburgh
  • Glasgow
  • Jersey

and :

“In addition to the major long haul leisure operations of British Airways and Virgin, we are now seeing the emergence of long haul services to the Far East, with the arrival of Vietnam Airlines, Air China, Turkish Airlines, and Garuda Indonesia in May 2014. These complement the existing long haul services provided by, for example, Emirates.”




See also

CAA air passenger survey 2012 confirms low % of passengers on business, and high % of AB and C1 flying

Date added: November 6, 2013

The CAA Air Passenger Survey for 2012 has been published. It covered Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, East Midlands, Exeter, Gatwick, Heathrow, London City, Luton, Manchester and Stansted Airports. (Each year it covers a slightly different selection). Over 210,000 departing passengers were questioned. Some of the interesting findings from the survey were: Heathrow had 37% connecting passengers; London City airport had the highest proportion on business, at 54% (down from 63% in 2010); Heathrow had 32.4% on business; Gatwick 17.5%; Manchester 23.9 %; Stansted 15%; Luton 16.1%; Birmingham 22.5%. The survey also looked at the socio-economic group of passengers. In the categories C2, D and E, Heathrow had 19.9%; London City airport 14.6%; Gatwick 26%; Stansted 29.3%; Manchester 43.4%; Luton 28.9%; Birmingham 33% and Bristol 35.3%. By contrast around 45% of the UK population are classed by polling organisations at C2,D+E. For the London airports, the AB group fly a disproportionate amount.

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