NY Today News
NY Today News: Your Daily Dose of Local and Global Headlines

Gatwick passenger numbers soar as strikes hit flight punctuality

Passenger numbers at Gatwick airport soared to 19 million during the first six months of the year, according to its operator, although air traffic control strikes across Europe contributed to a rise in delayed departures and landings.

Demand for travel resulted in 41% more passengers travelling through the airport between January and June compared with 2022 – when Covid restrictions were still in place – Gatwick said as it released half-year results.

Despite a challenging operating environment, the airport reported a net profit of £79m for the first six months of the year, a 56% increase compared with the same period in 2022.

However, the results, which do not include the impact from the failure of the UK’s air traffic control system on Monday, show air traffic movements remained at 86% of the level seen before the pandemic.

Gatwick said the punctuality of flights had been affected by strike action at airports across Europe, which had also caused operators to restrict the number of flights on offer.

Strikes by air traffic control managers have led to restrictions on flight routes, and forced airlines to divert to longer flight paths. France has been particularly affected, after air traffic controllers took industrial action in a protest against the president Emmanuel Macron’s plans to raise the pension age.

EasyJet and Ryanair have complained in recent months about the resilience of squeezed European airspace during a time of booming passenger demand.

In July, easyJet cancelled 1,700 summer flights, primarily from Gatwick, in an attempt to try to avoid the effect of strikes. At the time, the airline blamed “unprecedented air traffic control delays” for its decision, calling the cancellations “pre-emptive adjustments”.

Stewart Wingate, the chief executive officer of Gatwick, said the airport had worked to “provide passengers with a good level of service, despite a challenging operational environment across much of Europe”.

skip past newsletter promotion

The airport said it was working with airlines and ground handlers to try to make sure aircraft were ready to leave for the first wave of departures early in the morning.

Wingate added: “We will continue working closely with our airport partners to improve punctuality.”

The airport said it had recruited an extra 200 security officers in the run-up to the peak summer period, allowing 98% of passengers to get through security in less than five minutes.

News Source