Solid Summer for Manchester Airports Group

Charlie Cornish

Manchester Airports Group (MAG) unveiled strong first half figures today with revenues and pre-tax profits both improving

During the six months to September 30, MAG reported a 7.8% increase in revenues to £504m, and a 7.3% jump in profits before tax of £157m.

MAG operates Manchester Airport, London Stansted Airport, and East Midlands Airport.

Manchester has continued to develop its long haul network, with direct links to Mumbai and Addis Ababa announced in the first half of the year.

The airport had a resilient summer, with passenger numbers remaining flat year-on-year, despite the loss of Monarch, which was the airport’s seventh largest airline.

The new long haul routes, coupled with strong short haul growth that backfilled Monarch’s capacity and a resurgence in Summer traffic to Turkey, means MAG forecasts a return to significant passenger growth for Manchester for the remainder of the year and for next Summer.

Manchester handled 16.6m passengers during the six month period.

London Stansted achieved a new record high of 15.9m passengers in the first half of the year – a growth of 8.9%.

The airport is now welcoming more than 40% more passengers every year than when MAG acquired it in 2013.

The first half of the year saw the much-anticipated launch of Emirates’ daily Boeing 777 service to Dubai, offering three classes of service to business and leisure travellers.

The route opens up an unprecedented range of global destinations for passengers travelling East from Stansted and MAG is optimistic that this route will grow further in the coming years and that other new airlines will follow in providing long haul connections from Stansted.

London Stansted handled 15.9m passengers, which was an 8.9% increase.

East Midlands Airport is playing an ever more critical role in powering the ‘Midlands Engine’ and the whole of the UK’s economy, said MAG.

The airport’s popular passenger operation has ambitions to grow. The airport is the most important airport for cargo aircraft in the UK, and one of the most important e-commerce hubs in the country.

DHL’s operation at the airport continues to expand, and UPS are building a new facility which will boost further the airport’s express freight credentials.

A six million sq ft new logistics park and rail freight terminal next door to the airport will contribute to the ongoing success of this element of the airport’s operation.

East Midlands passenger figures fell 0.3% to 3.2m.

MAG’s total passenger numbers of 35.7m represented an increase of 3.8%.

Chief executive, Charlie Cornish, said today: “Our airports are nationally significant assets with the ability to deliver the aviation capacity the UK needs in the coming decade, and their continued growth is being supported by significant investment by MAG.

“A real focus this year has been on securing brand new long haul routes from our airports. To this end, the launch of new daily Emirates flights from London Stansted to Dubai on a three-class Boeing 777 was a magnificent moment for both the airport and the wider region.

“We know that the service is already appreciated by businesses from the London-Cambridge corridor who are now using Stansted to travel East, as well as by leisure passengers from London and across East Anglia.

“Similarly at Manchester, we were able to announce new routes to Mumbai and Addis Ababa. These are the kind of links that will form the backbone of the country’s new trading links when Britain leaves the European Union next year, and at MAG we stand ready to connect all parts of the UK to key long haul markets.

“At East Midlands Airport, we now facilitate more than £10bn-worth of non-EU trade each year.

“As the UK prepares to leave the European Union, we have always been clear that the best result for the aviation industry would be a deal which preserves the liberal flying freedoms and competitive approach to the aviation market that have driven so much important connectivity and economic growth across the continent over the last couple of decades.

“However, we have also welcomed the publication of technical notices from both the UK and the EU which have set out a clear and positive commitment to allowing airlines continued access between the UK and the EU, even in a no-deal scenario.

“The recent signing of an aviation agreement between the UK and the US is further positive news for passengers.”