Manchester Airports in £755m loss for last two years

Manchester Airports Group (MAG) – which owns and operates Manchester, London Stansted and East Midlands airports – announced it made a loss of £320 million for the year to March 31, 2022.

MAG said its combined losses for the last two years stand at £755 million, with revenues down by 80% in 2020-21 and 48% in 2021-22 compared to 2018-19.

The airports group is privately managed on behalf of its shareholders — Australian investment fund IFM Investors (35.5%), Manchester City Council (35.5%) and nine other Greater Manchester councils (29%).

MAG said it served 20.5 million passengers in 2021-22, up 225% year-on-year.

However, passenger volumes were still only equivalent to 33% of 2019-20 levels.

Compared to last year, revenue and results from operations in 2021/22 were up 159% and 64% respectively.

MAG CEO Charlie Cornish said: “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.

“After tentative steps towards recovery last autumn, the emergence of the Omicron variant once again resulted in major barriers for people looking to travel internationally.

“MAG played an industry-leading role in highlighting the ineffectiveness of international travel testing, which helped pave the way for the removal of travel restrictions in spring this year.

“Free of those restrictions, we were confident that airlines and passengers would return quickly to our airports.

“The pace of that recovery has brought its own challenges, and recruitment has taken longer and been more difficult than we anticipated. We’ve now recruited more than 1,500 new staff across MAG since January so that we can give passengers the best possible experience this summer.

“I am pleased with the number of new colleagues who have chosen to join our airports since January, and I am sure they will all play an important role in our recovery over the coming months and years.

“With passenger levels across MAG growing quickly back towards what they were before the pandemic, I am confident in the strength of our business and the contribution our airports will once again make for their regions and the whole UK economy.”

Cargo operations across MAG’s three airports performed well across the year, owing to businesses’ increased reliance on air freight and continued demand from consumers for e-commerce. Loads for the group in 2021-22 were up 3% year-on-year, carrying a total of 791,000 tonnes.

In July 2021, MAG opened its Terminal 2 extension at Manchester Airport, as part of its £1 billion transformation programme.

London Stansted Airport won its planning appeal against Uttlesford District Council in May 2021, increasing the airport’s maximum passenger numbers from 35 to 43 million per year and allowing it to continue to grow.

East Midlands Airport has continued in its work to establish its Freeport status, which is expected to create 60,000 jobs across the region.