Passengers numbers increase at Gatwick Airport for the Christmas getaway

Gatwick Airport is set to welcome nearly 750,000 passengers across the Christmas and New Year period - a 570% increase on 2020 due to last year’s Covid-19 restrictions - as passengers jet off on festive getaways and visit loved ones abroad.

The holiday period is traditionally among the busiest of the year for Gatwick, outside of the summer peak, with the airport welcoming in excess of 1.6million passengers between December 18 to 31 pre-pandemic.

The busiest days for departures this year are expected to be December 19, 23 and 26, with approximately 33,000 - 35,000 passengers per day. The most popular routes include Dublin (short-haul) and Cancun (long-haul).

Passengers looking to get away this Christmas will be boosted by the arrival of two new airlines at Gatwick this week. Scoot, a subsidiary of Singapore Airlines, began operating three-times weekly flights to Bangkok on 16 December, while regional airline Eastern Airways launched its daily service to Newquay on December 15.

Nearly 750,000 passengers are set to travel through Gatwick during the Christmas period – seven times more than over Christmas 2020

Popular low-cost airline Wizz also returned to Gatwick this week, with flights to Athens, Malta, Lanzarote and Malaga, while Emirates also restarted its daily service to Dubai earlier this month. In total, 30 airlines are currently operating from Gatwick’s North Terminal.

Passengers departing from Gatwick over the holiday season can enjoy a number of festive offerings within the North Terminal, including giveaways, seasonal snacks and drinks, and family-friendly activities.

Jonathan Pollard, chief commercial officer, Gatwick Airport said: "We are encouraged by the number of people looking to travel this Christmas and enjoy a much-needed family break or to visit friends and family abroad. It is also positive to see the strong bookings for new and returning airlines, and we look forward to adding more routes and choice for passengers in the new year.

"However, it’s clear that the reinstated requirement for a pre-arrival COVID-19 test and Day 2 PCR test has impacted some people’s travel plans over the holiday period.

"While we understand the need for measures to stop the spread of the Omicron variant until more scientific information on its level of harm is available, it is vital these are in place no longer than absolutely necessary."