Manchester Airports surpass pre-pandemic traffic levels

Manchester Airports Group (MAG) said it surpassed pre-pandemic traffic levels in October “as passengers made the most of the half-term getaway.”

MAG, which owns and operates Manchester, London Stansted and East Midlands Airports, said it served 5.6 million passengers across the month, a figure which was equal to 104% of passengers served in October 2019.

MAG is owned by a combination of public and private shareholders, including Manchester City Council (35.5%), IFM Global Infrastructure Fund (35.5%) and the nine other Greater Manchester local authorities (29%).

In September MAG raised £360 million in the UK capital markets through the issuance of an 18-year bond at a rate of 6.125%. The timing of the new bond was driven by the MAG’s existing £360 million bond, which is due to mature in April 2024. The new bond was four times oversubscribed.

Manchester Airport saw its passenger numbers overtake pre-pandemic levels for the first time in October – the 2.6 million passengers who passed through its terminals was equivalent to 105% of 2019 levels.

Passenger levels were up 14% on October 2022 and brought the airports rolling 12-month total to 27.6 million passengers.

London Stansted became the first major UK airport to exceed 2019 volumes back in July and it recorded another strong month. Stansted registered its busiest October on record, with 2.6 million passengers travelling through the airport.

That beat the previous record set in October 2018, and was equal to 104% of 2019 levels. The figure was up 10% year-on-year and brought the airport’s rolling 12-month total to 27.6 million passengers.

East Midlands Airport served more than 400,000 passengers across October, a figure which represented 98% of pre-pandemic traffic.

Cargo loads at all three airports were up year-on-year. East Midlands Airport – which operates the largest pure freight operation of any UK airport – handled more than 31,500 tonnes of cargo in October – which was up 7% on 2022.