The growth was driven across a range of markets, which the airport says underlines its case for expansion as it would “benefit the widest range of passengers, travel and airline models”.
Long-haul traffic played a key role in the growth, including the launch of ground-breaking new low-cost long-haul flights to New York and Los Angeles, which helped drive a 2.8% growth in flights to North America.
Traffic to other long-haul destinations in 2014 saw an increase of 12.1%, with travel to Dubai alone up 8.3%, while Gatwick’s links to emerging markets were boosted with new routes such as Garuda Indonesia’s new services to Jakarta and new easyJet routes to Tel Aviv.
Around one in five passengers now travel through Gatwick on business and the airport now serves 46 of the 50 top business destinations in Europe.
Among the fastest growing European destinations from Gatwick in 2014 were the business centres of Copenhagen (up 23.9%) along with Paris and Brussels, which were boosted by the launch of new services in 2014.
The record-breaking growth in 2014 was completed by over 2.5 million passengers travelling through the airport in December – an 8% increase on last year.
Nick Dunn, chief financial officer at Gatwick, says: “Gatwick’s record-breaking figures show an airport serving the widest range of travel and airline models - exactly what is needed from the decision about the UK’s next runway.
“Airport expansion should be for the many not the few, and our broad range of growth underlines that Gatwick is the obvious solution if we want all passengers and all types of travel to benefit.
“Expand Heathrow and we take a backwards step towards higher fares, less choice and the monopolies of the past. Only Gatwick can offer the win-win solution of a bigger Gatwick, a better Heathrow and airports throughout the UK benefitting from greater competition.”