Gatwick makes decision about future flight cap as airport warns rising costs could impact recovery

Passengers have faced long queues and disruption at Gatwick Airport in recent months(Stephen Jones/PA) Credit: Stephen Jones/PA

Gatwick Airport's confirmed a cap on flights introduced to manage a surge in demand at the start of the summer holidays will not be extended into September.

A restriction on aircraft numbers was announced in June after mass and sporadic cancellations led to misery for thousands of passengers.

Instead of operating the planned 900 daily flights in July and August there were only 825 last month and 850 this month.

With 400 additional security staff recruited as well as extra baggage handlers to bring down delays, Stewart Wingate, the airport's chief executive said: "The unprecedented growth in traffic led to short term operational issues in June, however our decisive early action to limit the airport’s capacity in the crucial school holiday period of July and August has ensured passengers have experienced reliable flight timetables over the summer months.

"We are now very much operating business as usual and do not see any reason to extend the capacity declaration."

Gatwick's half year results, published on Tuesday morning, revealed that passenger numbers have bounced back to 75% of pre-pandemic levels with 13.1 million travellers passing through the terminal in the first half of the year.

The airport expects to see 32.8 million by the end of 2022 but there is concern inflation and the rising cost of living could prevent people taking a break this winter.

Bosses at the West-Sussex terminal will be hoping to weather the economic storm gathering traction, following the huge struggles Covid-19 has presented.

Passengers check-in at the South Terminal of Gatwick Airport Credit: Gareth Fuller/PA

With 40 new long-haul routes announced to destinations including New York, Hanoi and Boston, the airport is putting on a brave face.

Stewart Wingate added: "We still have some way to go but strong demand has fast-tracked Gatwick’s recovery from the pandemic, particularly in the last quarter since all UK travel restrictions were removed.

“Despite some broad economic uncertainty, we are also looking forward to a successful second half to the year, with new, exciting airlines and routes coming online and continuous improvement in the high service standards Gatwick is known for.”