By Jonathan Davies

Gatwick has recorded its busiest ever year following a 7.8% rise in passenger numbers, the airport said.

Nearly 39 million people travelled through the airport, boosting its case to be chosen as the location of a new runway.

The Airports Commission is expected to announce a decision later this summer on whether Gatwick or Heathrow should be chosen to increase air capacity in the South East of England.

Gatwick is bidding to have a second runway built, whilst Heathrow is calling for either an extension of the North runway or the construction of a third runway.

Gatwick Airport chief executive Stewart Wingate said: "Our record growth has shown why Gatwick remains the best choice."

Despite the record year for passenger numbers, Gatwick's pre-tax profit fell slightly, from £85.8 million to £83.5m.