Gatwick suffered a slight a drop in passenger numbers in January in the face of “challenging economic conditions and winter weather”.

The airport handled just over 2 million passengers last month, down by 0.8% on January 2012.

There were 6,800 more domestic and 21,900 more long-haul passengers using Gatwick year-on-year but there was a decline in European scheduled and charter flights.

Korean Air announced the cancellation of its Gatwick-Seoul service due to the economic climate in the UK but this was balanced by plans by Garuda to start a service to Jakarta next winter.

Gatwick’s load factors in January of 74.9% were 1.3% higher than the same time last year.

Chief financial officer Nick Dunn said: “In January we saw a slight decline in the number of passengers travelling through Gatwick, which is a reflection of lower European traffic.

“However this was balanced with growth from long-haul airlines serving Asia.

“We are delighted that Garuda Indonesia has chosen Gatwick to operate a vital new direct route to a key high-growth business market. Jakarta is also a major hub airport for South East Asia, giving UK passengers even more access and choice to the region”