London Stansted and Manchester continue to expand UK’s global reach

  • MAG operates the two largest airports in the country with significant spare runway capacity to drive growth in global connectivity
  • February passenger volumes grew by 7.0% at Manchester and 8.2% at London Stansted, driven by new long haul and short haul services




London Stansted

East Midlands


Rolling 12-month total





February 2019 total





February 2019

% change

year on year








London Stansted

East Midlands

February 2019 tonnes




February 2019

% change

year on year




MAG, the operator of Manchester, London Stansted and East Midlands airports, saw passenger numbers grow by 7.1% in February as a successful winter continued with passengers taking-off on skiing breaks and winter sun holidays, as well as making use of new global connections.

London Stansted was the fastest growing of MAG’s airports, welcoming 1.9m passengers in February, up 8.2% year on year. The growth was the result of new routes this year to Dubai, Tel Aviv and Kiev, as well as increased frequency of domestic services to Scotland and Northern Ireland. The fastest growing ski destinations from Stansted this year in February were Austria (Innsbruck), Bulgaria (Sofia) and France (Grenoble).

Manchester Airport saw 1.8m passengers through its doors in February – representing year-on-year growth of 7.0%. As well as the new route to Mumbai with Jet Airways, growth at Manchester in February was driven by long haul and medium haul leisure routes, as passengers flocked to places like Barbados (+19.5%), Cape Verde (+12.9%) and Jamaica (+14.6%) in search of winter sun. North Africa has also continued its resurgence in popularity, with routes to Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt all significantly more popular than last year and traffic to the region growing 25.7%.

East Midlands Airport’s overall performance dipped slightly (-1.0%), but Portugal (+33.6%) and the Canary Islands (+4.7%) both grew significantly this February.

Next month will see the completion of the first phase of MAG’s £1bn Transformation Programme for Manchester Airport, as growth on its two runways continues. The new pier in Terminal 2, due to open at the beginning of April, will provide enlarged state of the art facilities, offering passengers greater convenience and higher levels of customer service. Looking ahead to 2020, the Transformation Programme will provide passengers with new and enlarged terminal facilities.

As the UK prepares to leave the European Union, MAG believes that it is vital that the UK secures a deal that commands support of Parliament and guarantees an orderly Brexit. Continued uncertainty about these issues will ultimately be a drag on the economy and damage consumer confidence. MAG welcomes the Government’s commitment to maintaining vital air connectivity between the UK and Europe in the event of a ‘no deal’ Brexit. With the EU also equally committed, and with the busy Easter period around the corner, passengers can book and travel with confidence.

Tim Hawkins, Chief Strategy Officer, MAG, said: “Our airports continue to grow year-on-year and we see the short-term and long-term outlook for them as positive.

“MAG’s airports are national economic assets, with Manchester and London Stansted being the two largest airports in the country with significant spare runway capacity. This is why we are investing £1.5bn in the passenger terminals at these airports to enable us to handle more flights and more passengers in the years to come, and it is great that the first phase of Manchester’s new terminal facilities will come on stream next month, on-time and on-budget.

“It is vital that the Government recognises the key roles that airports like Manchester, Stansted and East Midlands will play post-Brexit. A joined-up and integrated plan to improve rail and road links to airports will open them up to more passengers, further invigorate their route networks and provide the UK and its regions with better connectivity in the future.”