MAG half-year results


London Stansted owner, MAG, delivers strong summer recovery with passenger numbers returning to 84% of pre-Covid levels

  • Manchester Airports Group (MAG), which owns London Stansted, has released its half-year results for the period ending 30 September 2022
  • The UK’s largest airport group served 30.5 million passengers during what was the first full summer season since the removal of travel Covid-19 travel restrictions
  • London Stansted’s recovery was among the strongest in the UK
  • The airport served 14 million passengers in the first six months of 2022, up from 3.5 million on last year
  • It delivered a strong operational performance throughout the summer season, with 99% of passengers passing through security in less than 15 minutes on a consistent basis

MAG is well-placed to continue its strong recovery, as the UK’s largest group of airports revealed a positive performance in the first half of the financial year.

Figures for the period April-September show that MAG which owns and operates London Stansted, Manchester and East Midlands Airports, served 30.5 million passengers during what was the first full summer season since the removal of travel Covid-19 travel restrictions.

That represented 84% of pre-Covid traffic and compared with 6.6 million passengers handled during the same period in 2021.

MAG’s decision not to impose capacity restrictions on its airlines also contributed to the strong performance, allowing carriers to meet passenger demand over the summer period.

Following an extensive recruitment campaign, service levels at MAG’s airports are now at - or above -those delivered before Covid.

Looking ahead to next year, the Group’s airports are continuing to recruit new staff to be able to deliver further improvements in customer service.

While wider economic factors, including the cost of living, could dampen growth in demand for international travel over the coming months, the Group remains confident its positive recovery will continue.

London Stansted’s recovery was among the strongest in the UK, owing to its extensive low-cost European network.

A total of 14 million passengers passed through its doors in the first half of the year, up from 3.5 million the previous year, and representing 88% of passenger volumes in the same period pre-pandemic in 2019.

The airport consistently delivered strong operational performance during the summer season, with 99% of passengers passing through security within 15 minutes.

During the summer, Emirates returned in August with daily flights to Dubai, and looking to the future, the airport hopes to expand its long-haul network.

A route development report was published in October that outlined the potential economic benefits of direct routes to Boston and Singapore.

Its launch was attended by key stakeholders from Cambridge and the East of England, including airlines and businesses, with the report revealing the East of England could see investment into the region increase by £185 million through the creation of these direct long-haul routes to San Francisco and Boston.

Gareth Powell, London Stansted’s Managing Director, said:

“London Stansted was one of the fastest recovering major airports post-pandemic with passenger volumes topping 90% across the peak of summer.

“Thanks to our really successful recruitment campaign, and those of our airport partners, we were able to deliver a really strong and reliable security operation with average queue times well under 15 minutes throughout the summer.

“Our investment in new and improved facilities also progressed at pace, with a £12million refurbishment of our departure lounge complete in time for summer, and the airport’s first double airbridge to boost our long-haul capabilities coming into service in October.

“Looking ahead, we are all set to deliver another very positive airport experience for passengers over for the busy festive getaway, and preparations are already well underway as we plan for summer 2023, with more colleagues being recruited in key passenger facing areas of the business, and many airline partners announcing new routes and increased frequency on high demand routes across the summer.

“As part of MAG, we also continued to play an industry leading role in the drive towards a net zero aviation sector.

“We have committed to supporting the UK’s Jet Zero Strategy, with a great example of this being our recently approved plans to introduce a solar farm at the airport to supply our energy needs.

“We are also calling on the government to restore the four trains an hour Stansted Express service, a key element in driving and maintaining our proud record of public transport use by passengers, and ensuring our future growth is as sustainable and responsible as possible.”

You can read the full MAG press release here, and the six-month report here.