GATWICK Airport has reinforced the vital role it plays in the local, regional and national economy as it announced its interim financial results for the six months ending September 2017.

Gatwick has continued to increase its lead as the world’s busiest single-runway airport with passenger numbers up 5.1 per cent on last year.

The airport has further extended its global connectivity with long haul routes up 12.4 per cent against the same six months last year.

Before the end of the financial year Gatwick will add further global connections to Taipei, Buenos Aires, Chicago and Austin, Texas, building on new routes to Singapore, Rwanda, Seattle and Denver in the last six months.

Gatwick’s vital role in the UK economy was demonstrated by growth on domestic routes of 5.3 per cent.

Gatwick boss Stewart Wingate said: “Gatwick has blazed a trail in the last six months delivering record growth in passenger numbers and record-breaking new long haul routes while also setting new standards for customer service.

“Gatwick now serves 45.5 million passengers each year and is playing a vital role for Britain.

“As we prepare for Brexit, it is critical that we continue to grow our long haul links in addition to connections within the UK and Europe.

“Our results show significant cargo growth on the back of our ever strengthening long haul network.

“We have ambitious plans to build on these results to reach 50 million passengers per year and beyond which will further set the standard for a single runway airport.

“This will be done while continuing to deliver the best passenger experience which is at the heart of everything we do at Gatwick.

“We are currently preparing our full submission to the Government’s re-opened National Policy Statement consultation.

“We are planning future submissions to support the Aviation Strategy.”