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Manchester Airports Group Sees Recovery in Passenger Traffic

The baggage hall at the new Terminal Two extension then releases customers into a spacious Arrivals Hall (Photo: Manchester Airport)

Manchester Airports Groups (MAG), the parent company of London Stansted Airport, Manchester Airport and East Midlands Airport in the U.K., revealed that it had lost £320 million ($385 million) for the financial year of 2021-22. The combined losses for the group for the last two years have reached £755 million. Compared to last year, the revenue increased by 159%.

“With travel restrictions in place for nearly all of the last 12 months, it was another uncertain and unpredictable year for MAG and the wider aviation industry.” Charlie Cornish, CEO of the group said.

London Stansted Airport, the second busiest airport in 2021, has served 10.3 million passengers in the last financial year, an increase of 232%, but the latest figure was far from the pre-Covid levels, only 36% of 2019’s count. MAG has forecasted the passenger volumes will be a step closer to the level of 2019 soon.

The group saw the passenger number had increased significantly as a result of the travel restrictions lifted in March in the country. The group recorded from 37% of pre-pandemic levels by January to 70% by March, and 82% of pre-Covid levels by May. MAG said its recovery has outpaced the other airports in the country.

However, Britons are reeling from the shortage of staff nationwide. Manchester Airport and Stansted were spotted the long queues since the travel restrictions were lifted in March. MAG admitted the recruitment has taken longer and more difficult than its expectation, but mentioned it has been working hard for several months to bring its operations back to full strength. The group has hired over 1,500 new employees since January. According to MAG, more than 92% of passengers waited less than 30 minutes to pass through security last month. The group has worked closely with the airlines to avoid large-scale cancellations.

Earlier, Chris Woodroofe, the new managing director of the Manchester Airport, expected the peak-time queue would continue over the coming months.

“It is not going to be as good as it was in 2019, but what it will be is considerably better than it was three or four weeks ago,” Woofroofe said. Woodroofe stepped into Karen Smart’s shoes, who stepped down due to the travel chaos at the airport.

Meanwhile, after two years of the pandemic, Stansted has started developing its facilities. Stansted is looking forward to building a solar farm that meets the electricity needs of the airport, but the plan needs to be approved by the government and Uttlesford District Council. The council was against the expansion of Stansted years ago, but Stansted won its appeal against Uttlesford District Council last year. Stansted was given a green light to the expansion project, increasing its maximum passenger numbers from 35 to 43 million every year.

Pete Ainsley


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