Gatwick returns to profit as air travel bounces back

Gatwick Airport returned to profitability in 2022 (Stephen Jones/PA)© Stephen Jones

By Neil Lancefield, PA Transport CorrespondentPA Media

Gatwick Airport returned to profitability in 2022 amid a bounce-back in air travel as coronavirus rules eased, but said it has “some way to go to reach a full recovery”.

The West Sussex airport reported profit after tax of £196.5 million for last year, against total losses of more than £830 million during 2020 and 2021.

Gatwick, which is majority owned by France-based company Vinci Airports, said it was used by 32.8 million passengers in 2022, up from 6.3 million during the previous 12 months.

The total for last year was 70.4% of pre-pandemic levels.

It said it took “early and decisive action” as the UK’s aviation sector struggled to cope with staff shortages between April and June last year.

The financial results for Gatwick are in sharp contrast to those for Heathrow, which recently reported underlying pre-tax losses of £684 million for last year.

Gatwick chief executive Stewart Wingate said: “The decisive actions we took early last year allowed us to offer good levels of service to passengers who travelled through Gatwick.

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“Thank you to all colleagues across our airport who supported the operation last year as travel restrictions eased and passengers started to travel.

“This year we will have even more choice of airlines and destinations for travellers, whether flying for business or leisure.

“While we still have some way to go to reach a full recovery, we know long-term sustainable investment is critical to the future of our airport and provides a significant boost to the regional and national economy.

“This year we are pushing forward with a number of projects to improve resilience and the overall passenger experience, including preparing our planning application to bring the existing northern runway into routine use.”

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