- With Brexit in mind - 60% of local exports already go to markets outside EU
- Trade of goods through Gatwick supports over 113,000 UK jobs
- Corporate HQs make up a bigger share of Gatwick Diamond's economy than they do for London as a whole
£7.5 billion of international goods passed through Gatwick in 2017 in trade that supported 113,800 UK jobs - according to the most detailed analysis of its kind into the airport's influence on trade and investment - published today by Oxford Economics.
Metals/ metal parts (£2 billion) and vehicles/ vehicle parts (£1.7 billion) were the two biggest goods categories traded through the airport, followed by electronics (£773 million), machinery (£682 million) and pharmaceuticals (£588 million).
Over two thirds - or £5.3 billion (61000 tonnes) - of this airfreight was exported and £2.2 billion (35600 tonnes) was imported. Gatwick's total cargo tonnage is also up +20.4% this year, compared to last.
Gatwick and the South East
The report also looked at businesses that trade internationally in the seven local authorities in the Gatwick Diamond region and found them to be more export-focussed - with the proportion of businesses in the region sending goods to international markets 50% greater than for the UK as a whole.
The seven local authorities in the Gatwick Diamond are Epsom and Ewell, Reigate and Banstead, Horsham, Tandridge, Crawley, Mole Valley and Mid Sussex.
With Brexit in mind - over eleven (11.3%) per cent of Gatwick Diamond businesses exported goods compared to the UK average (7.2%).
Local businesses are also well positioned for global trade - with 60% of the Diamond's exports going to non-European markets - again more than national average (51%).
Gatwick's 67-strong long haul network is singled out in the report as important for trade outside the EU as the vast majority of cargo passing through the airport goes in the belly of long haul passenger aircraft. Top non-EU destinations for the Surrey, East and West Sussex region exports outside the EU are USA (£2.5 billion), China (£450 million), Japan (£250 million) and Russia (£200 million).
The South East was also shown to be a leading exporter of specialist professional services (eg architects, auditors, engineers, lawyers), and information communication technology, insurance and transport services - accounting for a quarter (24%) of all UK exports in these sectors.
Steve Norris, Chair of the Gatwick Growth Board and former transport minister, said:
"Gatwick is a nationally significant infrastructure asset and today's report shines a light on the £7.2 billion contribution it makes to the UK economy in terms of trade and investment.
"Much of the region's economic activity is centred around the airport, which is why there is a greater concentration of company headquarters clustered in the region around Gatwick than in London. This constellation of high value industries attracts significant foreign investment and trade activity and the access the airport gives them to international markets is a key reason why they invest and locate in the region."
Rob Lewtas, Department of International Trade, said:
"Gatwick has always played an important role supporting trade, investment and jobs both in the national and local economy. This report shows how Gatwick's recent growth has increased the South East's connectivity even further and is driving international business activity from the region to all parts of the globe."
Jeremy Taylor, Chief Executive, Gatwick Diamond Business, which represents businesses across the region, said:
"While the report rightly points out Gatwick's important role supporting exports from the region, it also shows that much more can be done. Too many businesses and cargo companies send their goods past Gatwick and round the M25 to Heathrow. As the airport's long-haul network grows, so too do welcome opportunities for local firms to use Gatwick as their local global gateway."
Jonathan Sharrock, Chief Executive, Coast to Capital,a business-led collaboration between the private, public and education sectors across the region, said:
"The Coast to Capital economy is intrinsically linked to the success of Gatwick Airport. This report confirms the important role of the airport as a global hub to connect businesses to international markets. As the airport continues to grow, so too does the area's economy, giving confidence to businesses and consumers as we leave the EU."