Gatwick used improved annual results to today reinforce why the airport is “the best and only deliverable option” for the UK’s next runway.

The airport called for a swift decision on airport expansion after reporting a 4% rise in annual air traffic movements to 265,970, helped by increased long haul routes.

Passenger numbers rose by 5.5% to a record 40.8 million as the airport achieved a pre-tax profit of £141 million on improved turnover up 5.5% to £673.1 million.

The airport’s repeated call for the government to rule on airport expansion came amid reports that the decision will be passed on to David Cameron’s successor as prime minister.

Gatwick chief executive Stewart Wingate said: “Gatwick continues to grow and break passenger records for a single runway airport.

“Aviation is changing fast and Gatwick has now entered the premier league of airports with more than 50 long haul routes.

“This week, the airport started flights to Tianjin in China and in only a matter of weeks will be flying to Hong Kong with Cathay Pacific.

“Aviation growth is outstripping forecasts. In uncertain times and after decades of delay, only Gatwick can now give Britain certainty that airport expansion can finally happen.

“Gatwick can have a spade in the ground by 2020 and the first planes flying from a new runway in 2025.

“Today’s results offer a glimpse of the benefits a two-runway Gatwick would deliver for the UK – guaranteed growth with limited environmental impacts and at a cost the country can afford.

“The time is fast approaching to give expansion at Gatwick the green light so Britain can get the benefits.”

Other planned new services include a fourth daily service by Emirates to Dubai and British Airways to Cape Town from November.