Campaigners have dismissed Gatwick claims that a record number of passengers is proof that a second runway at the airport should be approved.
Gatwick announced the busiest month in its history last week, with chief executive Steve Wingate claiming this was ‘evidence of the flaws in the Airports Commission.’
The commission recommended expansion at Heathrow over another runway at Gatwick in a report published in June.
A record 4.35 million passengers used the airport in August, a 3.7 percent increase on last year, taking the total number of annual passengers to 39.5 million.
CEO Steve Wingate said: “Airports Commission analysis predicted Gatwick would reach 40 million annual passengers in 2024 yet, in August 2015, we reached the 39.5 million passengers mark.
“We are in touching distance of 40 million and on track to reach this milestone within a matter of weeks.
“This is more evidence of the flaws in the Airports Commission and we will continue to make our case to government as it approaches a decision. Gatwick remains the best and most deliverable option to actually deliver the runway that the UK needs.”
Gatwick is not alone in setting records, however, with the UK’s three largest airports, Gatwick, Heathrow and Manchester, all reporting record breaking figures.
Sally Pavey, chair of Communities Against Gatwick Noise and Emissions, said: “What none of them have actually declared are the number of movements on the runway, and how much these have increased by.
“What we’ve been saying all along is aircraft are getting bigger. It is far more efficient to fly bigger planes than to fly lots of little ones.
“Passenger numbers go up, but all it means is the aircrafts are full, as opposed to half empty, and getting bigger.
“It means less fuel, less staff and less money to fly bigger aircraft, and it’s more environmentally friendly.”
Mrs Pavey added: “Gatwick specialises in sending people out of the country to spend money overseas, rather than at home. Should we be encouraging that kind of drain on our economy?
“A lot of their airlines are not UK based. You have to ask whether they are paying UK tax, which goes towards paying for our NHS, road upgrades and other vital things. None of the money from Gatwick is coming to us, it’s leaving the country.”