UK Markets closed

Airports’ annual passenger numbers jump after Covid rules scrapped

Airports are reporting a spike in annual passenger numbers following the end of the UK’s coronavirus travel restrictions in March last year.

Gatwick, the country’s second busiest airport, said it served 32.8 million travellers in 2022.

That is more than five times as many as the 6.3 million during the previous year, and is 71% of pre-coronavirus levels in 2019.

Gatwick chief commercial officer Jonathan Pollard said: “Today’s figures are extremely positive and clearly show London Gatwick’s continued strong recovery.

“We still have some way to go but we’re looking forward to welcoming even more passengers this year, including those flying to our growing choice of long-haul destinations.”

The West Sussex airport is increasing its long-haul connectivity, with flag carrier Air India announcing it will launch routes to Goa, Ahmedabad, Amritsar and Kochi in March.

London City Airport said it was used by three million passengers in 2022, a four-fold increase on the total of 700,000 during the previous 12 months.

The figure for last year was 59% of 2019 levels.

Chief executive Robert Sinclair said: “2022 proved how resilient we are as a business and just how much our passengers value the speed, convenience and consistently high levels of customer service which we offer at London City.

“London City is an incredibly important strategic asset for London, and in the year ahead we will be working closely with airlines to increase volumes, develop new, exciting routes and welcome more of the latest new generation aircraft, which operate to the highest of environmental standards.”

Earlier this week Heathrow said it recorded the largest increase in passengers of any European airport last year.

The west London airport was used by 61.6 million passengers in 2022, up from 19.4 million in 2021.

Luton Airport said it served 13.1 million passengers last year, compared with 4.6 million during the previous 12 months.

Many passengers suffered delays and cancellations in 2022 as the aviation industry failed to cope with the spike in demand for travel following the scrapping of coronavirus restrictions.