Published on Thursday, December 6, 2018

No growth in summer traffic at Manchester, but Stansted got a boost

New long-haul flights, expansion by low-cost airlines and a resurgence in summer traffic to Turkey all helped boost airport group MAG's earnings by 3.7% during the first half of the year.

MAG, which owns Manchester and Stansted Airport, made £244.5 million before tax and interest in the the six months to the end of September. Its revenue was up 8.3% to £508.5 million and operating profit rose 3.2% to £164.9 million.

It said passenger numbers were up almost 4% year on year to 35.7 million, driven by strong growth at Stansted, including the launch of a new Emirates service to Dubai, and 'robust' performance at Manchester Airport.

However, there was no growth in the number of passengers at Manchester Airport, which handled 16.6 million in the six-month period. Nevertheless, MAG said it had seen a resurgence in summer traffic to Turkey from the airport and the successful replacement of Monarch's flights.

The airport also grew its long-haul services with the launch in May of Thomas Cook's flights to Seattle. Jet Airways has since launched a new route to Mumbai, which started in November, and Ethiopian Airlines will add flights to Addis Ababa on December 11.

Budget airlines easyJet, Jet2 and Ryanair all added flights from Manchester over the summer.

At Stansted, passenger numbers were up almost 9% year on year to 15.9 million, with continued growth from Ryanair and and the start of Emirates' daily flight to Dubai.

At East Midlands Airport, which is also owned by MAG, passenger traffic was down 0.3% in the first half of the year.

The airport group submitted a bid last month to operate Bulgaria's largest airport in Sofia for the next 35 years. MAG said it 'is targeting this opportunity because it sees strong potential growth and has confidence that it can use its expertise to deliver a new passenger experience and global route network at Sofia to compete with top tier airports around the world'.

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