MAG, the operator of Manchester, London Stansted and East Midlands airports, has served 60 million passengers a year for the first time in its history.
The milestone was passed in September as the group grew 3.3 per cent year-on-year to serve 60.2m passengers across its three airports in the past 12 months, with growth at London Stansted driving the group to its new record high.
The growth demonstrates the important role that MAG’s network of airports will play in the coming years, with Manchester and London Stansted being the two largest airports in the UK with significant runway capacity.
London Stansted airport served 2.7 million passengers in September, representing 9.2 per cent year-on-year growth.
Internationally, that growth was driven by new routes to Dubai with Emirates and to Reykjavik with Wow Air, and very strong late summer bookings to sun destinations, with Alicante, Faro, Lanzarote and Paphos being especially popular compared with last year.
Further growth is expected next month as a new service to St Petersburg with Pobeda Airlines commences.
The airport’s team has also set its sight on securing additional long-haul links, with top targets including Hong Kong, Mumbai and Los Angeles.
Manchester Airport’s passenger numbers were down slightly (1.1 per cent) year-on-year, because in the same month last year Monarch Airlines was flying its last month of full schedule from the airport.
The airport expects growth to return next month, which will see the launch of the airport’s first link to India (Jet Airways to Mumbai).
The top five growth destinations at Manchester in September were Belfast, Antalya, Cancun, Nuremberg and Dalaman.
East Midlands Airport’s number was broadly flat year on year (down 0.4 per cent), with a new route to Seville proving popular and the Eastern Mediterranean being the biggest growth region for late summer sun, with the fastest growing destinations in the area being Dalaman, Antalya, Zakynthos, Corfu and Rhodes.
On the cargo side, the airport is now handling £10 billion worth of goods traded to and from non-EU destinations alone in a year, demonstrating the critical role it will play post Brexit as the UK’s largest airport for dedicated cargo planes.
Tim Hawkins, chief strategy officer, MAG, said: “MAG’s continued growth demonstrates the key role that our airports will play in the next ten-15 years in meeting demand for air travel to and from the UK.
“In order to forge links with new markets once the UK has left the European Union, new long-haul links will be of paramount importance right across the country.
“The government’s forthcoming aviation strategy needs to focus on the role that airports right across the UK can play in promoting trade links to new territories and new economies.”