British Airways has released five-year growth figures for its operations at Gatwick airport, showing a 40 per cent growth in customers over the period.

The carrier said that the number of customer travelling with BA through its Gatwick hub had increased from 4.4 million to 6.2 million over the last five years, with the number of destinations offered by BA from airport increasing from 52 in 2012 to 68 this year.

BA cited “huge demand” for new US routes to destinations including Oakland San Francisco and Fort Lauderdale, and said it had launched a total of 19 new short-haul routes including Lanzarote, Malta, Rhodes and Limoges over the five-year period.

Commenting on the figures Sean Doyle, British Airways’ director of networks, alliances and Gatwick, said:

“We’ve really focused on growing our Gatwick operation in the last five years, investing in new routes, driving punctuality and, thanks to our move to the South Terminal, delivered an improved airport experience.

“Although we have a staunch number of business travellers and destinations from Gatwick, many customers are flying for leisure, often on a BA Holidays trip. They want great prices and punctuality, and are driven by value and choice. In fact, we first launched our short-haul basic fare at Gatwick because we knew it would work for our customers before rolling it out across our network.”

Doyle added that CAA figures showed BA had “the most punctual short-haul operation of the three biggest airlines flying from Gatwick to Europe” last year, outperforming Easyjet by 15 per cent and Ryanair by 6 per cent.

The carrier now operates 13 B777s, 11 A319s and 15 A320s at Gatwick, with the fleet delivering an increase in capacity of more than 10 per cent since 2012.

Doyle said that a recent decision to move to a ten-across economy layout on its Gatwick-based B777 aircraft from March 2018, would “enable us to offer even more of our lowest fares, align our World Traveller cabin to other airlines such as Air New Zealand and Emirates and increase the size of our World Traveller Plus cabin by 28 seats to give more people the option to travel in our popular premium economy cabin”.