Gatwick Airport has achieved its busiest school summer holidays in its history as 8.1 million people made their way through the airport during the seven-week period, according to figures released by the airport.
This is a 2.1 per cent increase on 2016 and the first time Gatwick has ever reached the eight million passengers mark during the summer break.
This August alone, 4.9 million passengers travelled through Gatwick resulting in the biggest month in the airport’s history.
A substantial rise in passengers taking long-haul summer breaks played a part in Gatwick’s overall growth, with the airport’s long-haul destinations growing by 11.1 per cent compared with last year’s summer holiday.
Gatwick’s long-haul growth helped to boost the amount of cargo handled by the airport too, with August seeing a 25.6 per cent increase compared with the same month last year.
The figures showed that the biggest growing long-haul destination for summer getaways was Fort Lauderdale, in Florida, USA, which saw a 369.2 per cent increase on the same time last year.
St Lucia, in the Caribbean, saw an increase of 209.9 per cent and Oakland, San Francisco, USA, recorded a 183.5 per cent increase.
The biggest growing short-haul destination this summer was Ljubljana, in Slovenia with a 118.1 per cent increase.
Gatwick Airport CEO Stewart Wingate said: “Gatwick has just had its biggest-ever month during its busiest-ever summer holiday period – this clearly demonstrates the passenger demand for the growing global connectivity offered by Gatwick.
“Later this year, we’ll be further adding to our more than 60 long-haul connections with routes to Denver, Seattle, Austin, Chicago, Taipei and Singapore starting.
“As well, we continue to focus on delivering the best passenger experience at the airport with Jamie Oliver opening his new Diner in the South Terminal and an expanded World Duty Free store also arriving in the North.
“Service has been at the forefront of our summer. We have worked closely with our airlines and ground handlers to help ensure that more planes depart on time and I am pleased with the improvement we’ve made during our busiest ever summer.
“As Gatwick continues to grow beyond 45 million annual passengers, we remain ready and willing to build our financeable and deliverable second runway scheme instead of, or in addition to, Heathrow should the Government give us the green light.”