Gatwick is the latest airport to report a record 2017 with annual passenger numbers up by 5.2% to 45.6 million.
The airport also had its busiest December as throughput rose by 1.5% year-on-year to 3.2 million passengers, including a 16% rise in long-haul travellers.
The long-haul network grew to 63 connections in 2017 as Gatwick handled 7.3 million passengers travelling to far flung destinations – an increase of almost one million compared over 2016.
Oakland, San Francisco, was the long-haul destination showing the biggest growth in December, as the number of passengers increased by 97% on the previous year.
The airport’s Asia routes also continued to grow, with Hong Kong up 62% and Tianjin up 41.7% last month.
A new China Airlines service to Taipei joined the Asia route network at the start of the month.
However, domestic traffic in December fell by 8.3% to under 300,000 passengers and European charter carryings dropped by 5.4% to 219,500.
Total air traffic movements also declined in the month by 1.3% to 20,486 although the 2017 total was up by 2.1% to 285,969.
Airport CEO Stewart Wingate said: “We have ambitious plans to build on the success achieved in 2017 and reach 50 million passengers per year and beyond, setting new standards for Gatwick and playing an increased global role for Britain.
“Gatwick’s soaring long-haul and cargo growth in December is an impressive conclusion to 2017 and we’ll be strengthening the airport’s global connectivity even further this year, with new services to Buenos Aires, Austin and Chicago already confirmed to begin in the first quarter alone.
“This year, we’re also looking forward to British Airways’ biggest summer schedule at Gatwick for almost ten years, which will see 15% more weekly BA flights than last summer.”
Content provided by Phil Davies – Travelweekly