Today is the deadline for bids from companies interested in buying Gatwick.

It is thought three serious bids are on the table for the airport, which is the second biggest in the UK and last month saw 2.3 million passengers pass through it.

However, it is thought the bids will be worth less than last year’s £2 billion estimate as passenger numbers at Gatwick have dropped 14.6% since the beginning of the year.

Its current owner BAA was ordered to sell the airport last year after an inquiry by the Competition Commission found customers were suffering from lower levels of quality and service due to a lack of competition.

The Competition Commission has also ordered the sale of Stansted and either Glasgow or Edinburgh airport.