Gatwick bosses call for Government action after airport announces new cash losses

A drastic fall in passenger numbers at Gatwick because of the Covid pandemic has led to a new demand for Government action.

It comes after figures released today show that the airport made a £244.6m loss in the first six months of this year.

Now Gatwick bosses are calling on the Government to simplify passenger Covid rules to help boost air travel and get more people flying again.

Passenger numbers at Gatwick plunged to 569,000 for the first six months of this year - a decrease of 92.4 per cent compared to the same period last year.

Gatwick Airport. Pic Steve Robards SR2103061 SUS-210603-112641001

Gatwick officials say that UK aviation is in danger of lagging substantially behind Europe and the US if the Government does not act.

It is now urging the Government to remove the high cost of Covid-19 testing and to remove test requirements for travellers from ‘green’ countries,

It is also urging that there should be no test requirements for double vaccinated travellers from ‘amber’ countries and a single lateral flow testing for those non-vaccinated from an ‘amber’ country.

But Gatwick Airport chief executive Stewart Wingate said despite the challenges over the past year he remained optimistic for the airport’s future. He said the airport had refinanced and cut costs. And he paid tribute to the airport’s staff.

“I would like to thank all our staff for their hard work and fortitude throughout what has no doubt been the most challenging six months the airport has witnessed with its low passenger and air traffic volumes,” he said.

“I remain certain that Gatwick will recover and as a business we are financially and operationally well placed for that.

“In the UK we are all emerging to enjoy more freedoms due to our world class vaccination programme, however we are in danger of squandering the advantage that vaccination programme has afforded us for international travel.

“Our Government needs to act now and remove unnecessary and costly PCR testing requirements for passengers, particularly for those double vaccinated.

“UK travel recovery should not be allowed to lag behind the US and Europe.

“Passengers need the travel rules simplified so they can choose to travel more freely and enjoy much needed breaks and reunions with family and friends which are currently much more attainable for those in Europe and the US.”