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Recent statistics released by London’s Gatwick Airport have shown the capital’s second largest airport to be growing rapidly.

Over 3.8 million passengers passed through the airport this past September, an impressive 7.7% increase on the same period last year. Passenger numbers were clearly bolstered by a 12.4% growth in flights to Dubai, while European traffic increased by 11.6%. New links to Vietnam and Indonesia have also helped the airport grow for the 19th successive month.

News of continued growth at Gatwick comes soon after the UK’s Airports Commission announced last month that it had rejected plans for a new hub airport for the capital in the Thames Estuary, a project widely known as ‘Boris Island’ in reference to London Mayor Boris Johnson’s strong backing for the plans. The proposals, which would have seen the construction of a four runway airport to replace Heathrow as London’s principal airport, were rejected on the grounds that the high construction costs and environmental concerns made the entire plan unviable and unrealistic.

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So, what next for the future of London’s airports? Heathrow recently announced its busiest September ever, with just under 6.6 million passengers passing through last month – a slight increase on the same period last year. However, with notable increases in flights to emerging markets such as Mexico (17.6%), China (14.9%) and Brazil (10.3%), Heathrow seems to be close to breaking point.

So said Mr Johnson, when he put forward his plans for the Thames Estuary airport. Many within the industry agree with him. But with plans for the new airport shelved, alternatives are disappearing.

In response, authorities at Gatwick have suggested constructing a second runway to alleviate the burden and traffic on Heathrow and the capital’s other transport hubs. While the suggestion is by no means new – the plans have been in the pipeline for many years – it has now come to the fore as alternatives are narrowed down.

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