Lonely Planet Writer

This incredible time-lapse video shows a day in the life of Gatwick airport's runway

We always knew that it was one of the most-used airport runways in the world, but an incredible time-lapse video released by Gatwick Airport in London certainly confirms that. The three-minute video released to celebrate the busiest ever April in the airport’s history shows up to 55 planes taking off per hour over a 24-hour period.

Landing at Gatwick Airport, London, Image: Derek Croucher
Landing at Gatwick Airport, London, Image: Derek Croucher

Last month, a staggering 3.8 million passengers travelled through the airport, representing a 15% growth on April 2016. According to Gatwick, one of the reasons that an additional 496,200 passengers passed through its terminals was due to the whole of the Easter school holidays falling during April.

Gatwick opened as an aerodrome in the late 1920s, and has been in use for commercial flights since 1933. The mesmerising time-lapse video begins at sunrise and shows planes of all shapes and sizes taking off from what is the biggest-single use runway in the world over the following 24 hours. It was created by Nicholas Cox of Air Navigation Solutions.

Gatwick says that its long-haul routes are experiencing continued growth, with passenger numbers for last month up 23% on April 2016. Its north Atlantic routes saw traffic up by 70% to New York, 56% to Los Angeles and 53% to Fort Lauderdale.

“Gatwick’s vital role for Britain shines through our latest traffic figures as the airport continues to go from strength to strength as we gear up for our biggest summer yet,” says the airport’s chief executive officer Stewart Wingate.“We continue our trailblazing low-cost long-haul revolution, bringing more parts of the globe within reach of more Britons.”