UK. Retail income at London Gatwick Airport climbed by +10% year-on-year in the six months ending 30 September, hitting £107.9 million. The key figure of income per passenger rose by a healthy +9% to £4.00.

Duty and tax free sales grew by +12.7% with F&B rising at an even faster rate (+15.6%), aided by recent expansion and the addition of new brands.

Among recent initiatives to help drive commercial revenue, work has started in the airport’s North Terminal departure lounge to create a new mezzanine level to accommodate additional dining.

Retail expansion led by World Duty Free and an enhanced F&B have helped buoy retail income and spend in the first half.

Passenger numbers reached an all-time high for a six-month period, of 26.5 million, up by +0.5% on the same period last year. This was buoyed by long-haul growth of +21.3%.

As of late November, Gatwick has handled 46 million annual passengers – the first time the airport has reached this figure in a 12-month period.

Retail outperformed other income categories in the period (click to enlarge).

The company noted however that overall passenger growth has been more moderate than in recent years as airlines build towards full use of slots that became available when Monarch ceased trading. This also resulted in fewer flights through the airport in the period compared to last year.

Total revenue in the period rose by +5.4% to £512.5 million. EBITDA climbed by +5.9% to £325 million and profit after tax hit £139.1million, down slightly on last year’s figure of £140.7 million.

New F&B and retail names at Gatwick include Asian-inspired healtyh fast food brand Itsu (above; photo: Matt Alexander/PA Wire) and Ann Summers (below).

Gatwick Airport Chief Executive Officer Stewart Wingate said: The last six months have seen Gatwick continue to break new ground, while today the airport is serving 46 million annual passengers.

“Gatwick’s ever-growing global connectivity is set to further increase with China Eastern starting a new service to Shanghai in December and Norwegian to Rio in early 2019. Growth has been more moderate than in prior years as airlines are currently in the process of gearing up aircraft to be available to serve the capacity created by former Monarch slots. We are expecting to see stronger growth once these slots are fully utilised.

“In response to passenger demand for Gatwick’s global connectivity, we have published the airport’s draft master plan, setting out our vision for growth to the 2030s. We are now seeking feedback from the public, including our local neighbours and our airport partners on this draft master plan, as we seek to fulfil our role for the country, in the most sustainable way.”

A detailed look at Gatwick Airport’s H1 performance (click to enlarge).