Gatwick Airport appeals to maintain night flying quota
The owners of Gatwick Airport have appealed to the government to keep its current night flight quota.
The Department for Transport has undertaken a consultation on night flying restrictions.
Gatwick Airport Ltd said it was "essential" its annual quota of 14,450 take offs or landings remains to make best use of the single runway capacity.
Campaigners against noise at Gatwick have disputed the economic benefits to the south east of night flying.
The airport has responded to the government's consultation, arguing that 2,000 jobs are "directly linked" to night-time flying.
It added that any decrease in the quota would impact upon employment.
Night flying is classified as taking place between 23:30 and 06:00. During April 2012 and March 2013 only 80% of the airport's annual quota was used.
'Difficult to understand'
However, Peter Barclay, from the Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign, said the claim of economic benefits is "difficult to understand".
"In an ideal world we would like to see no night flights but we recognise that we must continue to press for a reduction," he said.
"The claims of economic benefit to any area is difficult to understand - 180 passengers heading to Ibiza at 2am gives little benefit to the UK.
"The night flight period is between 23:30 and 06:00 - that's six and a half hours of sleep for people."
The consultation, which ended on the 22 April, will inform government policy on night flying in 2014.
Gatwick said the majority of its night flights take place between 23:30 and 01:00, and 04:00 and 05:00.