MAG airports enjoy a successful start to summer

  • All four airports grow passenger numbers year on year – Manchester +11.9%, London Stansted +7%.
  • Cargo volumes experience double-digit growth at all major airports.
  • New long haul links drive passenger and cargo growth.

MAG airports saw continued strong growth in both passenger numbers and cargo tonnes flown in May.




London Stansted

East Midlands



Rolling 12 month total






May 2017 total






May 2017

% change

year on year









London Stansted

East Midlands

May 2017 tonnes




% change

year on year




At Manchester Airport, record numbers of passengers travelling long haul and within Europe meant that passenger volumes grew 11.9%, and the growing breadth of the airport’s long haul network drove cargo tonnage to 12.9% growth. The destinations that saw the biggest jump in passenger numbers compared with last year were Alicante, Hamburg and Berlin.

Numbers at Manchester were further boosted by the thousands of Manchester United fans who flew to Stockholm on 50 dedicated flights to watch their team lift the Europa League trophy in the Swedish capital. Flyers also took advantage of new direct flights from Manchester to Muscat with Oman Air and more direct flights to San Francisco with Thomas Cook, routes which both successfully launched in May. BA CityFlyer also started seven new routes to European destinations – the first time it has flown between Manchester and Europe for 10 years.

London Stansted welcomed over 2.3 million passengers to the airport during its busiest ever May, an increase of 7% over the same month in 2016, as’s new southern base experienced a strong second month and Ryanair and EasyJet also grew passenger numbers.

The international markets seeing the strongest passenger growth compared to May last year were Denmark, Bulgaria and Cyprus, while the most popular countries to fly to from London Stansted were Spain, Italy, Germany and Poland.

Andrew Cowan, Chief Executive, London Stansted Airport"
The strong growth in passenger traffic at the start of the summer season continued in May as we welcomed nearly 2.3 million to Stansted, up 7% on 2016
Andrew Cowan, Chief Executive, London Stansted Airport"

East Midlands and Bournemouth airports also grew passenger numbers in the month, with East Midlands growing 3.9% and Bournemouth growing 4.7%. East Midlands’ growth was driven by passengers flying to Hungary, Croatia and Malta, while Bournemouth passengers jetted off to the Canary Islands and Cyprus in growing numbers.

Cargo grew consistently across MAG’s airports. At Manchester, the rapidly expanding passenger long haul network led ‘bellyhold’ freight to grow by 18%, and cargo as a whole to grow 13%. At East Midlands, express freight growth by the likes of DHL, TNT and UPS meant that the cargo tonnage flown jumped 11%. At London Stansted, two new weekly services to China with Cargolux and also growth across other operators means that cargo volumes grew 13%.

 London Stansted Airport CEO, Andrew Cowan, said:

"The strong growth in passenger traffic at the start of the summer season continued in May as we welcomed nearly 2.3 million to Stansted, up 7% on 2016 and more passengers for the month than in any previous year.

“As we head into the main summer period we expect this trend to be maintained with the number of flights already scheduled by our airline partners across the peak months up by around 10% over last summer.

“With passengers clearly wanting to fly from their local airport and take advantage of the 180 destinations on offer, we continue to plan how we meet future passenger growth, add vital capacity and invest in our facilities to provide the best customer experience.”