UK. Manchester Airports Group (MAG) saw passenger numbers across its three airports increase by +7.3% year-on-year in 2017.

The growth was driven by route development and new airlines across Manchester Airport, London Stansted and East Midlands Airport. The Group served 58.6 million passengers in 2017, 4 million more travellers than 2016.

The figures exclude Bournemouth Airport which was sold to RCA in December 2017. Excluding Bournemouth, MAG traffic grew +0.7% in the month to 3.89 million passengers.

Source: MAG

Manchester Airport traffic surged +8.5% year-on-year to serve 27.8 million passengers in 2017 despite the bankruptcy of its 7th biggest airline Monarch in October.

The popularity of long-haul routes to Beijing, Singapore, Hong Kong, San Francisco and Houston, combined with continued strong demand for summer destinations in Spain, Greece and the Canary Islands saw the airport set itself a new traffic record. In December 2017, traffic was up +1.5% year-on-year to 1.8 million.

Monarch Airlines’ slots for summer 2018 have been allocated to Jet2.com, TUI and Thomas Cook Airlines flights.

London Stansted

London Stansted Airport also recorded its busiest ever year as it welcomed 25.9 million passengers in 2017, an increase of +6.5% year-on-year (1.57 million more passengers).

The top five destination countries reporting the strongest growth by passenger volumes from Stansted versus 2016 were Spain (+478,000), France (+382,000), Denmark (+281,000), Turkey (+222,000) and Bulgaria (+134,000).

At the end of 2017, Emirates announced a new direct service from Stansted to Dubai in June 2018. Primera Air will also launch direct flights to New York, Boston and Toronto from April and May this year.

Factors such as flight cancellations resulted in lower passenger numbers at Stansted during December year-on-year. But it was still the second busiest December on record with over 1.8 million passengers.

“The last year has been a very busy and exciting time at London Stansted with passenger numbers and the range of destinations directly available from the airport both reaching all-time highs,” said London Stansted Airport CEO Ken O’Toole. “In 2018, our aim is to continue growing our passenger numbers and provide even more choice.

“The positive passenger growth at Stansted was driven by increased choice from many of our airline partners, particularly Ryanair who experienced another strong year, and the very successful opening of Jet2.com’s first base in the south of England back in March,” said O’Toole.

MAG’s third UK airport, East Midlands, reported a +4.9% increase in 2017 traffic. The airport has laid out expansion plans to double its passenger numbers to 10 million in the next 10-15 years, with a focus on developing more routes to major European hubs.