UK. The three airports MAG operates – Manchester, London Stansted and East Midlands – each recorded increases in passenger traffic in December and in the full calendar year.
Manchester Airport saw traffic rise 6.7% year-on-year in December, and a 1.7% increase for 2018, for an annual total of 28.3 million passengers.
Growth was driven by new long-haul routes to Addis Ababa, Mumbai and Seattle as well as a resurgence of leisure traffic to Turkey. The airport will open the first elements of its transformation programme in 2019, adding new facilities and more capacity.
Passenger traffic at London Stansted grew 10.3% in December and +8.2% in 2018 for a yearly total of 28 million passengers – the first time the airport has passed this mark. Growth was driven by a new daily link to Dubai with Emirates and expanded schedules from Ryanair, Jet2.com and other airlines, according to MAG.
MAG said 61.1 million passengers used its three airports last year, representing an 8.2% year-on-year increase.
The end of 2018 marked five years of MAG ownership of London Stansted Airport. In that time, Stansted has grown its passenger numbers by 56.9%, serving 10 million more passengers in 2018 than in 2013.
Over the same period Manchester Airport grew 36.7%, with traffic at East Midlands up 12.7%. This means that MAG’s three airports served 18.2 million more passengers in 2018 than they did five years ago. MAG attributed this increase to an expansion in route offerings, supported by “the significant spare runway capacity that its airports have offered at a time when other major airports have been reaching full capacity”.
MAG Chief Strategy Officer Tim Hawkins commented: “The scale of growth we’ve delivered at MAG airports over the last five years reflects the hugely important contribution that they have made to driving economic growth, both nationally and in the communities around our airports.
“Much of this growth has been made possible by the single aviation market created by the European Union (EU). As we prepare to exit the EU in March, it is vital that UK and EU negotiators commit to agreeing a new ‘open skies’ aviation deal in the interests of both passengers and the economy.”