Airports group recovering from travel chaos as passenger numbers climb

More than 5.5m passengers travelled though the terminals at Manchester Airport, East Midlands and London Stansted in July.

Manchester Airports Group (MAG) said it was its busiest month since the start of the pandemic.

Passenger numbers across its three airports were up from 5.2m in June and the group was now handling 85% of pre-Covid numbers.

London Stansted saw its passenger numbers reach 90% of 2019 levels, totalling 2.5 million.

At Manchester Airport 2.6 million passengers passed through the Northern hub, representing 82% of pre-pandemic traffic.

East Midlands Airport saw more than 400,000 passengers travel through its terminal in July as the summer holidays began.

MAG said its operational performance also continues to improve, with 93% of passengers at Manchester Airport clearing security in 30 minutes or less in July.

More than two-thirds – 69% – passed through in 15 minutes or less, it added.

In the first week in August 99% of passengers cleared security in less than 30 minutes and 84% in less than 15 minutes.

Since March, MAG’s three airports have seen more than 17 million passengers and said it has had “among the lowest cancellation rates of any large UK airports.”

The group anticipates that “recent service level improvements” will continue through the rest of the year, with “customer experience being restored to pre-covid levels in 2023.”

Recruitment has also been ongoing with 700 staff at Manchester beginning work in its security operation since the start of the year, with a further 100 set to start by the end of the school holidays.

The uplift in passenger numbers comes as UK airports have struggled to cope with post-pandemic passenger demand which have led to huge queues and long delays.

MAG CEO Charlie Cornish said: “July was MAG’s busiest month since the pandemic began, with millions jetting-off for their long-awaited summer holidays, some for the first time in two years.

“This summer, more than 11m people will travel through our airports and, thanks to the hard work and dedication of our teams, we will ensure they get away on their travels smoothly.

“We continue to see a strong recovery and, having welcomed more than 2,000 new colleagues into our business, are laying the foundations for passenger volumes and customer service to return to pre-pandemic levels in 2023.”