Manchester Airport is expecting February half-term to be one of its busiest periods since the pandemic began, as passengers respond to the removal of testing requirements and take advantage of a return to restriction-free travel.
Manchester Airports Group (MAG), which owns and operates Manchester, London Stansted and East Midlands airports, is expecting to welcome nearly 1.5 million passengers between February 11-27, compared to only 73,000 over the same period in 2021.
The anticipated increase comes after the government announced on January 24th that fully-vaccinated passengers would no longer be required to take any tests when travelling to the UK from February 11th, a move which has made travelling abroad easier and cheaper for millions of Britons for the first time in over a year.
This announcement saw businesses across the travel industry record a sharp increase in bookings.
The total airline seat capacity across MAG airports is around 20 per cent higher for February and March than January.
MAG chief executive, Charlie Cornish, said: “It’s great that passengers are clearly feeling more confident as we go into February half term, and we expect our airports to be busier than we have seen in recent months.
“We welcomed the government’s decision to reintroduce restriction-free travel in time for the holidays.
“Airlines are now putting on more seats and there’s a real sense of excitement for travel as we head into the summer season.
“Our strong recovery means we are looking to recruit all sorts of roles across our airports. With our terminals filling with passengers again, this is a fantastic time to consider a job in aviation.”
Looking further ahead, MAG anticipates consumer confidence will continue to improve.
The group is preparing to handle passenger volumes close to pre-pandemic levels as the recovery strengthens over the summer season.
Passenger figures for January - released by MAG today - show how testing measures introduced in response to the Omicron variant weakened demand for international travel.
January passenger volumes were down 63 per cent on the same month in 2019, which was significantly quieter than the recovery seen in late 2021.