Gatwick Airport hoping for 'strong summer' following 2021 losses of £370 million

The airport has announced it will reopen its South Terminal on March 27 to meet demand. Credit: PA

Gatwick Airport says it is hoping for a "strong summer" after it reported an annual loss of £370.6 million in 2021.

The airport's annual results show the figure has fallen from £465.5 million in losses in 2020, despite a 38.5% reduction in total annual passengers.

Passenger numbers hit 6.3 million for the year, compared to 10.2 million previously, due to lockdowns and widespread international travel restrictions.

Passenger numbers exceeded 1 million in August, September, October and December as passenger confidence grew, which the airport says helped to reduce its 2021 losses.

Gatwick called these figures an "encouraging end to 2021" despite "continually changing travel restrictions and the emergence of the Omicron variant".

Gatwick's annual losses fell in 2021, despite a reduction in passengers. Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

The airport announced last month that it will reopen its South Terminal on March 27 to meet demand, as airlines ramp up their schedules.

It says it was able to offset the impact of lower passenger numbers by significantly reducing operating costs in 2020.

This includes moving all air traffic and passengers to the North Terminal.

Gatwick says increases in short-haul flying schedules from the airport "indicate a strong 2022 summer season".

It added that it is also optimistic following a "positive Government decision on airport slot regulations" and the relaxation of travel and testing restrictions.

A 12-week public consultation took place last year about proposals to bring the airport's existing northern runway into routine use, alongside its main runway, by summer 2029 for departing aircraft.

The airport is calling for Passenger Locator Forms to be scrapped. Credit: PA Wire

Gatwick CEO, Stewart Wingate, has urged the government to make 2022 the year when all travel restrictions are removed, including scrapping Passenger Locator Forms.

He said: "As it was for many airports, 2021 was a difficult year for Gatwick but, despite constantly changing travel restrictions and the emerging Omicron variant, we managed to end the year strongly and reduced our losses compared to the previous year." 

"Today, we find ourselves in a very different position. Major announcements from our airlines about significantly increased flying schedules, and from Government on airport slot regulations and the relaxation of travel restrictions, mean we are now looking forward to a strong summer."

"We’re currently focused on reopening our South Terminal to ensure we can meet this expected strong demand and we are looking forward to welcoming back passengers in increasingly larger numbers."

"The rebounding of international connectivity toward pre-pandemic levels will boost job and business opportunities, which is great news for many in our local communities and beyond.

"However, fully restoring consumer confidence will take time and I urge Government to make 2022 the year when all travel restrictions are removed completely, including the unpopular passenger locator form."