MAG airports grow in May, as it calls Government to prioritise investment in northern rail infrastructure

  • 3.3% growth across the Group compared to April 2018.
  • Manchester Airport calls for renewed focus on northern rail.
  • Manchester Airport saw passenger numbers grow by 5.8%.



London Stansted

East Midlands


Rolling 12-month total





May 2019 total





May 2019 % change year on year





MAG, the operator of Manchester, London Stansted and East Midlands airports, saw passenger numbers grow by 3.3% in May as the Group’s airports entered the start of a summer season which is predicted to see continued growth.

The positive figures are announced in the month that the Government’s consultation on the future of UK aviation comes to a close.

London Stansted Airport grew 2.1% year-on-year to welcome 2.6m passengers in May, its busiest ever.

Manchester Airport also welcomed 2.6m passengers, up 5.8% year-on-year, taking the number of passengers it has served in the past year to 28.9m annual passengers, with the Northern hub predicted to handle 30m passengers per year by the end of the current financial year.

On 20th June, the Government’s consultation on its Aviation 2050 Green Paper closes and MAG has called on Ministers to recognise the critical role Manchester Airport will play in driving Northern growth and rebalancing the UK, and to support that with commitments to improving rail connectivity.

Manchester Airport is part-way through the largest investment in its 80 year history – the £1bn transformation of its terminal and airfield infrastructure – which will help it unlock the spare capacity on its existing two runways.

MAG says the Government has the opportunity, through its Aviation Strategy process, to set out a clear plan for Manchester to develop into the UK’s second hub airport, connected to all parts of the North via the proposed high-speed Northern Powerhouse Rail network, and to all parts of the world by attracting further long haul routes to key global markets.

Andrew Cowan, CEO of Manchester Airport, said:

“As we edge closer to the 30m passenger mark, our role as the UK’s global gateway in the North becomes even clearer.

“Government has rightly recognised Manchester as a ‘national’ airport in its Aviation 2050 Green Paper and it is vital that is used as a platform to develop a proper understanding of our potential to drive economic growth and prosperity across the North.

“The are some key interventions only Government can make, such as large-scale investment in transformative projects like Northern Powerhouse Rail and the reform of aviation taxes to help stimulate new long haul connections from gateways like Manchester.

“With the right support, coupled with our own £1bn investment, Manchester Airport can be an even greater engine of growth for the North by giving people and businesses access to the world’s most important markets.”

MAG’s other UK airport, East Midlands, saw passenger numbers fall 3.1% to 500,685 in May.