Gatwick Airport expects passenger numbers to return “within 36 to 48 months”

Gatwick Airport: coronavirus, financial impact

Gatwick Airport currently expects post-Covid-19 passenger numbers will return to recent levels within 36 to 48 months.

This statement comes from the airline’s published financial results for the nine-month period ending 31 December 2019, which shows that passenger numbers and revenue were up at Gatwick Airport for this period, compared to the same period last year.

Just under 37 million passengers passed through the airport in the nine-month period, an increase of 0.3 per cent. 

Since the end of the reporting period, the airport – and the wider aviation industry – has experienced unprecedented market circumstances and a dramatic decline in passenger numbers due to the impact of Covid-19.

In response, Gatwick has taken a range of steps to “protect both the wellbeing of its staff and passengers and shield the business to enable it to recover quickly”.

Measures taken to reduce the airport’s operational footprint include the temporary consolidation of operations into the South Terminal and limited flight scheduled flights to between 1,400 and 2,200 each day, which both came into effect on 1 April 2020

Actions to safeguard the financial resilience of the business include reducing costs by deferring spend on the airport’s Capital Investment programme for the foreseeable future, putting over 90 per cent of eligible staff on the UK Government’s Job Retention Scheme to preserve jobs, reducing the headcount of permanent staff through a special severance scheme and all staff taking a pay reduction.

On 3 April, Gatwick Airport also secured a £300m loan with a consortium of banks.  The company will not be paying a dividend in 2020.

Gatwick Airport chief executive officer, Stewart Wingate, said: “The airport continued to grow in difficult market conditions during the period covered in these results.

“However, the world has changed dramatically since then and Gatwick has taken decisive action to ensure that it remains in a strong position to recover from the dramatic fall in passenger numbers and the wider impacts of Covid-19.

“The Covid-19 crisis has been unprecedented and our priority has been, and continues to be, maintaining the health and safety of our passengers and employees.  We also have a resilient business and by taking steps to reduce costs, we have protected jobs and expect to recover from this crisis.

“One measure we took to reduce costs was to defer spending on our capital investment programme to secure improved resilience, however for future growth we still expect to progress many of these projects including our plans to bring the existing Northern (stand-by) Runway into routine use to offer more travel choice for passengers and new jobs for Gatwick and the wider region.

“Of course, any growth must be sustainable, and we also remain focussed on our ongoing efforts to reduce the airport’s impact on the environment.

“I’m pleased to say that we continue to make significant progress in this area, and we are committed to reducing our environmental impact even further in the years ahead.”

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