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Gatwick welcomes 46 million annual passengers for the first time ever

London Gatwick announces today that it has welcomed 46 million passengers in the last twelve months – the first time ever the airport has achieved this passenger milestone.

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Gatwick has been able to serve more passengers whilst at the same time reducing the number of local residents within the airport’s noise footprint.

The area in the airport’s noise footprint, the standard measurement 57dB leq contour, has reduced by 9% since 2008 while numbers of flights in the last decade have grown 9%. This reduction has been driven by many of the airport’s new routes being flown by new generation aircraft, for example the Airbus A320neo – aircraft which are up to 50% quieter on departure than the current models which they are replacing.

More recently Gatwick has focused on incentivising airlines to modify their current aircraft fleet. 97% of the Airbus A320 family of aircraft flying from Gatwick, which account for half of all of the airport’s flights, have been modified to reduce noise. This modification was a significant factor in reducing the airport’s noise footprint by 3% in the last full calendar year according to independent noise analysis by the Civil Aviation Authority, despite a 3% increase in traffic over the same period.

New generation aircraft, such as the Airbus A320neo, will be phased in over coming years so that Gatwick estimates around 30% of its fleet will comprise new, quieter aircraft by 2022, 60% by 2027 and 90% by 2032.

Gatwick has seen a 41% increase in passenger numbers in the last eight years driven by the airport’s new global connections, with long-haul passengers growing 21.3% in the last year alone, and the last twelve months seeing Gatwick’s highest-ever customer satisfaction levels in the airport’s passenger survey.

Passengers have flocked to new destinations from Gatwick, including Taipei, Buenos Aires and Doha in the last year, while the airport has a new connection to Shanghai, starting from December.

In response to passenger demand for Gatwick’s global connectivity, the airport has published its draft master plan, setting out the airport’s vision for growth to the 2030s.

The publication of Gatwick’s draft master plan reflects Department for Transport guidance for airports to provide regular updates on their long-term plans, and responds to the Government’s recent call for airports to ‘make best use of their existing runways’.

The airport is now keen to encourage responses to a 12-week public consultation it has launched to gather feedback and views on the draft master plan. The consultation is live until 5pm on 10 January 2019 and can be completed at www.gatwickairport.com/masterplan2018

All responses will be reviewed before a final version of the master plan is agreed next year.

London Gatwick, Chief Executive Officer, Stewart Wingate said:

“We are delighted to have welcomed 46 million passengers to Gatwick in the last year which is testament to the hard work and innovation of all staff working at the airport.

“At Gatwick we work hard with our airlines to ensure that the higher passenger numbers using the airport, attracted by new and improved services, are balanced by noise improvements for our local neighbours. Our ambition to be the UK’s most sustainable airport has already seen us become the first carbon neutral London airport and also the first airport to achieve zero waste to landfill.

“In response to passenger demand for Gatwick’s global connectivity, we have published the airport’s draft master plan, setting out our vision for growth to the 2030s. We are now seeking feedback from the public, including our local neighbours and our airport partners on this draft master plan, as we seek to fulfil our role for the country, in the most sustainable way.”

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Gatwick

Henry Smith MP: Reforming Air Passenger Duty

In his article this week Crawley MP Henry Smith talks about reforming air passenger duty to boost trade.

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One way for MPs to raise issues in Westminster is through All-Party Parliamentary Groups. These Groups typically contain members of the Commons and the Lords, and include parliamentarians from across the political spectrum.

I recently established and was elected to chair a new APPG on Air Passenger Duty Reform, which seeks to encourage the UK Government to cut the rate of Air Passenger Duty (APD).

While the Government confirmed at the October 2018 Budget that short-haul APD rates will not rise for the eighth year in a row, keeping costs down for 80 per cent of passengers, there remains more to be done.

With the Band B long-haul rate scheduled to rise by £16 on 1st April 2019, reforming APD will help the UK compete on a level playing field with our European counterparts, boosting tourism, trade, jobs and growth.

The UK APD rate is the highest tax of its kind in the world. It is twice as high as the next highest, Germany. On long-haul flights it currently adds £78 to an economy ticket.

As we leave the European Union and look to forge a new identity for ourselves in the world as a global nation, it is critical we have a tax system that reflects that ambition.

With Gatwick Airport in the Crawley boundary, a significant reduction in the UK’s APD rate would signal to the world that Britain is open for business.

Henry Smith MP

Crawley Constituency

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