Gatwick today used 23% growth in long haul traffic in July to push its case for expansion over rival Heathrow.

A record total of 4.6 million passengers used the airport last month, a rise f 6.9% on July last year.

Transatlantic routes showed growth of almost 50% year-on-year, mainly due to new WestJet services to Canada and increased travel to Los Angeles, Puerto Vallarta in Mexico and Orlando.

Airport chief executive Stewart Wingate said: “Gatwick’s continued long-haul growth and strong cargo growth are the latest proof that competition in the London airports’ market is working.

“Our continued success provides proof of the benefits a two runway Gatwick would deliver for Britain. Expansion of Gatwick, London’s fastest growing long-haul gateway, would show London is open for business to the world.

“As the 41.7 million passengers flying with us in the last year have seen, Gatwick is undergoing a massive transformation.”

He described Gatwick as being the world’s most-efficient single runway airport which is also in the “premier league” of airports with more than 50 long-haul routes.

“This list of long haul routes from the airport is added to month in and month out with Cathay Pacific commencing flights to Hong Kong in just three weeks, joined by British Airways’ service to Cape Town this autumn,” Wingate said.

“Following the referendum, the UK needs now more than ever before an airport expansion solution which can actually be delivered and that is Gatwick – guaranteed growth, dramatically lower environmental impacts, and no taxpayer funding.”