British Airways will recruit a record 2,000 new workers at Heathrow and Gatwick this year as the airline takes delivery of new planes and flies to new destinations.
The company says it will employ 1,600 cabin crew and 350 pilots, and comes as record numbers fly out of the region's airports.
For the first time more than 40 million passengers flew out of Gatwick last year. At Heathrow it was 75 million.
It will bring staff numbers at BA to over 20,000 which is more than ever before in the history of the company.
The airline say the staff will be needed to help operate 13 new planes including Boeing 787s and Airbus A380s. They will train at a new facility at Heathrow.
The airline will fly to 13 new destinations.
The South's two main airports - Gatwick and Heathrow - have been praised by industry experts for not charging drop-off parking fees. It comes as other major UK airports, such as Stansted, have been charging drivers £2.50 for a maximum of 10 minutes. Bob Atkinson from TravelSupermarket says he wants to see all airports adopt free five-minute parking.
Today is expected to be the busiest day for the Christmas getaway with around 14 million drivers taking to the roads. The M25 and M4 could be the most congested, especially around 4pm.
At Heathrow 1.2 million passengers at Heathrow will be jetting off for the festive break. Gatwick will handle 900,000 passengers.
In Dover, 600,000 will travel by ferry over the next two days.
Eurostar say tens of thousands of passengers will head to Paris and Brussels.
It comes as millions of rail passengers are warned to expect some of the worst disruption ever over the festive period with 10 days of major works.
People living near Gatwick and Heathrow face another six months of uncertainty after the decision about new runways was delayed.
The Goverment say more work's needed on environmental safeguards . Gatwick say the delay puts them "right back in the game".
ITV Meridian spoke to Chief Executive Officer of Gatwick Airport, Stuart Wingate.
a decision over whether to expand Heathrow or Gatwick airport - has been postponed - until next summer.
It means people living nearby - face another long wait to find out if their lives will be affected.
The government say the region does need an extra runway - but more work needs to be done to lessen the environmental impact.
Earlier ITV News spoke to Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin.
“This is a defining moment in the expansion debate. There is now a clear choice facing Britain: growth with Gatwick or inertia at Heathrow with an illegal scheme that has failed time and time again.
“We have always maintained that this decision is about balancing the economy and the environment. Expansion at Gatwick would give the country the economic benefit it needs at a dramatically lower environmental cost.
“We are glad that the Government recognises that more work on environmental impact needs to be done. Air quality, for example, is a public health priority and obviously the legal safeguards around it cannot be wished away.
“Even Heathrow’s most vocal supporters must now realise a third runway at Heathrow will never take off as the environmental hurdles are just too high. If they want Britain to have the benefits of expansion and competition they should now look to Gatwick.
“Expansion has been in a holding pattern for decades. Momentum is now behind Gatwick as it becomes ever clearer that it is the obvious solution. We will continue to work closely with Government to take forward our plan which is legal, affordable, and can actually deliver for Britain.”
A final decision on whether to build a new runway at Heathrow Airport has been put off until at least next summer.Read the full story ›
"The case for aviation expansion is clear – but it’s vitally important we get the decision right so that it will benefit generations to come. We will undertake more work on environmental impacts, including air quality, noise and carbon.
"We must develop the best possible package of measures to mitigate the impacts on local people. We will continue work on all the shortlisted locations, so that the timetable for more capacity set out by Sir Howard is met.
"At the first opportunity I will make a statement to the House to make clear our plans."
The Government have postponed a decision on airport expansion until next summer. They say they accept the case of airport expansion, but more work needs to be done to mitigate the effects on local people and the environment.
It's been a day of confusion about when the Government will announce their plans for airport expansion in the South East.
Downing Street hinted it'll be later tonight. The Department of Transport hinted it'll be next week. Then the House of Commons Speaker weighed in. Phil Hornby's been trying to make sense of it all.