Gatwick Airport rakes in millions from parking and retail
- Gatwick Airport raked in £210.6m from ‘non-aeronautical sources’ in first-half
- The figures come amid ongoing flight chaos following an air traffic control fault
Gatwick Airport saw its first-half profit jump by nearly two-thirds as travel demand rose, but said air traffic remains below pre-pandemic levels due to ‘challenging’ restrictions across Europe.
The airport, near Crawley in West Sussex, reported a pre-tax profit of £100.2million for the six months to 30 June, up 65 per cent from £60.7million a year ago.
Revenues in the first half increased by 45 per cent to £423.5million, with nearly half, or £210.6million, from ‘non-aeronautical sources’, including parking and retail.
Flying: Gatwick Airport has seen its first-half profits soar
Underlying earnings increased by 59 per cent to £235.7million, from £148.3 million a year ago, with early 2022 still affected by pandemic travel restrictions.
The group said air traffic remained below levels seen in 2019 before Covid-19 struck, at 86 per cent, as it faced a ‘challenging’ operating environment in Europe, beset by air traffic control restrictions and industrial action, causing cancellations and delays across airlines.
The figures come amid ongoing flight chaos following an air traffic control fault, which has left many passengers stranded abroad in one of the busiest weeks of the summer holiday season.
The failure, which led to a spate of cancellations and delays, was caused by flight data received by National Air Traffic Services, with both primary and back-up systems responding by suspending automatic processing.
Stewart Wingate, chief executive of London Gatwick, said: ‘We worked closely with our partners to make sure the airport was well resourced ahead of the summer.
‘This and the hard work of our frontline colleagues helped us provide passengers with a good level of service, despite a challenging operational environment across much of Europe.’
In charge: Stewart Wingate is the chief executive of London Gatwick
He adds: ‘We will continue working closely with our airport partners to improve punctuality, supported by projects in our new Capital Investment Programme to build airport resilience and long-term sustainable growth.
‘In this respect, I’m pleased that our planning application to bring our existing Northern Runway into routine use has moved forward to the examination stage.
‘It’s also promising to see the airport’s recovery continue, as we once again provide passengers with more choice. Forty-nine airlines now fly from the airport to over 200 destinations, including 50 long haul routes.’
A Gatwick spokesman added: ‘Air traffic restrictions have been our biggest challenge for the first half of 2023. European air traffic control (ATC) strikes, en route ATC staffing issues, and air space restrictions have led to cancellations and delays.
‘Also, the ongoing conflict in Ukraine continues to cause restrictions on the use of largevolumes of airspace.
‘Despite this, and industrial action from both UK Border Force and train drivers, we’ve continued to operate at a good level.’
Gatwick’s latest half-year figures showed that passenger numbers rose 41 per cent year-on-year to 18.5million, but remained lower than before the pandemic, at 83 per cent of 2019 levels.
It said long-haul demand had taken longer to bounce back, with China only lifting its travel restrictions in the second quarter, leaving long-haul passenger numbers at just 42 per cent of 2019 levels.
But, the recovery has since picked up pace, with long-haul passengers reaching 63 per cent of 2019 levels in June.
Short-haul passenger numbers saw a much faster recovery, reaching 89 per cent of 2019 levels, the airport said.
Gatwick Airport said its costs rose by 16.6 per cent to £262.4million in the first half of this year. Staff costs made up the bulk of the increase, rising by 38.3 per cent to £79.1million.