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Published on Thursday, July 4, 2019

MAG warns Brexit could dampen passenger demand despite last year's growth

The owner of Manchester, Stansted and East Midlands airports handled almost 5% more passengers for the year ending on March 31, but it said Brexit-related uncertainty is creating a 'challenging outlook' in terms of economic growth and passenger demand.

MAG's pre-tax earnings were up almost 6% to £379.8 million, but the group ploughed £591 million into its airports during the 12-month period, which was a 73% more than it spent in the previous year.

Manchester Airport saw passenger numbers grow to 28.6 million, driven by extra aircraft from Ryanair and, additional capacity from Thomas Cook Airlines and easyJet, and new long-haul routes to Africa and North America.

London Stansted Airport passenger numbers rose to 28.4 million following the launch of a new route to Dubai with Emirates, growth of existing carriers Ryanair and and the launch of flights from entrants like Laudamotion.

Passenger numbers at East Midlands Airport were flat at 4.9 million.

MAG CEO Charlie Cornish, said:"MAG continues to play a vital role in connecting different parts of the country to key global markets. The investments we are making in our facilities will allow them to play an even bigger role in the years to come.

"By improving international connectivity to different regions, MAG airports will do far more to secure economic growth and rebalancing across the UK than a third runway at Heathrow will. The Government must now show an active commitment to supporting the future growth of airports like Manchester, London Stansted and East Midlands.

"To achieve this, the Government must support the delivery of better transport links to airports across the country as part of an integrated plan to grow global connections from the North, Midlands and the South.

"We welcome the Government and EU's commitment to maintaining vital air connectivity between the UK and Europe even in the event of a 'no deal' Brexit, something which allows passengers to book and travel with confidence.

"But continued uncertainty about Brexit will ultimately act as a drag on the economy and damage consumer confidence. It is vital that the Government finds a political solution to Brexit over the coming months to enable the country to move forward and to rebuild consumer confidence."

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