MAG passenger numbers climb to 84% of 2019 levels

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Passenger numbers for Manchester Airports Group (MAG) have climbed to 84% of 2019 levels for the period between April and September 2022.

In this period, MAG recorded an operating profit of £22.8m (US$27.7m), compared with losses of £75.7m (US$92m) during the same period in 2021. Revenues increased by £158.7m (US$193m) to £538.8m (US$655m). Manchester, London Stansted and East Midlands Airports served 30.5 million passengers during what was the first full summer season since the removal of travel Covid-19 travel restrictions. That represented 84% of traffic seen in the period before Covid-19 and compared with 6.6 million passengers handled during the same period in 2021.

According to MAG, the performance across the airports was driven by the reintroduction of the vast majority of its airlines’ routes. Short-haul travel at times reportedly exceeded 2019 traffic levels, while there was also a recovery in direct long-haul routes, particularly to North America and the Middle East. The company asserted that its decision not to impose capacity restrictions on its airlines also contributed to the strong performance, enabling carriers to meet passenger demand over the summer period. While wider economic factors, including the cost of living, could dampen growth in demand for international travel over the coming months, the group remains confident its positive recovery will continue.

The company also stated that following a period of disruption at Manchester Airport in 2022’s early summer period, operational performance has improved. In November, 97% of passengers passed through security in fewer than 15 minutes. Data for the month also show that 99% of passengers at both London Stansted and East Midlands Airports cleared security in less than 15 minutes.

Manchester Airport served 14.3 million passengers between April and September, up from 2.7 million across the same period in 2021. London Stansted Airport served 14 million passengers in the first six months of the year, up from 3.5 million in the same period 2021. The airport delivered a strong operational performance throughout the summer season, with 99% of passengers passing through security in less than 15 minutes on a consistent basis. East Midlands Airport served 2.2 million passengers between April and September, up from 0.4 million in 2021 – representing the highest year-on-year increase in traffic across MAG. The airport’s cargo operation handled more than 200,000 metric tons of freight in the first six months of the year.

Charlie Cornish, CEO of MAG, said, “These half-year results demonstrate the significant progress our business has made over the summer months, and are a testament to the hard work and dedication of teams across MAG. The uplift in passenger numbers we have seen reflects the strong demand for international travel since restrictions were lifted, with more than 30 million passengers traveling through our airports between April and September. After a challenging start to the summer season, I am pleased to have welcomed more than 2,000 new colleagues into the business and want to assure all our customers we are focused on delivering a positive experience for the remainder of the year, and throughout 2023.”

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