Long-haul growth spurred an almost 10% rise in passengers to 3 million using Gatwick last month.

Numbers of long-haul travellers grew by more than 20% year-on-year, with Valentine’s breaks to Dubai, St Lucia and New York helping boost the total.

North Atlantic routes drove the rise in long-haul travel with an increase of 53.1%, with Toronto up 172%, Los Angeles 90% and New York 66%

Ski destinations also performed well in February with Geneva Gatwick’s most popular European destination, with 109,500 passengers, a rise of 5%, followed by Innsbrook and Grenoble.

Chief executive, Stewart Wingate, said: “Gatwick’s February passenger figures demonstrate the confidence we are witnessing from our passengers, with travel still high priority following the Brexit referendum, with passenger numbers up 10% on February 2016.

“Our booming long-haul growth, reflects our passengers’ response to our established and growing line-up of long-haul destinations.

“In the next three weeks alone British Airways start their new route to Oakland, San Francisco and Virgin Atlantic to Varadero, Cuba.

“Meanwhile, Cathay Pacific’s existing route to Hong Kong will be going daily this summer.

“Our long-haul growth is driving the natural corresponding cargo increase, this month +6%, which is joined by strong growth in Gatwick’s regional connections across Britain, demonstrating Gatwick’s vital economic role both within Britain and internationally, as we continue to offer the UK government a credible and deliverable option for runway expansion.”