MAG continues to grow despite Brexit uncertainty

MAG, the UK’s leading airport group, today reports its audited full-year results for the period 1st April 2018 – 31st March 2019.


  • Group passenger numbers rose by 4.9%* to 61.8m across its three UK airports.
  • Continuing Brexit-related uncertainty is creating a more challenging outlook for the Group in terms of economic growth and passenger demand.
  • Group adjusted EBITDA increased to £379.8m (+5.9%*), supporting a significant programme of investment in new facilities and infrastructure at Manchester and London Stansted.


Over the last year, the Group has invested £591m, a 73% increase over the previous year:

  • Manchester Airport’s Transformation Programme (MAN-TP), which started in July 2017, continued apace throughout the year. At the end of the period, the first phase of new facilities was opened to passengers on time, less than 18 months after construction began.
  • London Stansted Airport made further progress in delivering its Transformation Programme (STN-TP), which over the next 12 months will see the delivery of new facilities to improve customer experience.
  • At East Midlands Airport, MAG is enlarging the cargo apron, alongside a significant expansion of UPS’s facilities, which will enable it to play an even bigger role as the UK’s leading airport for cargo aircraft.


  • Manchester Airport saw passenger numbers grow to 28.6m, driven by extra aircraft from Ryanair and, additional capacity from Thomas Cook Airlines and easyJet, and new long-haul routes to Africa and North America.
  • London Stansted Airport passenger numbers rose to 28.4m this year. Passenger growth at Stansted was driven by a popular new route to Dubai with Emirates, growth of existing carriers Ryanair and, along with new entrants like Laudamotion.
  • East Midlands Airport continues to play a key role in the thriving “Midlands Engine”. The airport is the country’s busiest airport for ‘pure cargo’ aircraft and saw tonnage increase to 366,815 tonnes, with passenger numbers flat at 4.9m.
  • MAG’s three airports contributed £7.8 billion (GVA) in economic activity to the UK economy in FY 2018, an increase of 10% on the previous financial year. Much of this value is invested back into local communities. In the last year alone, for example, MAG directly supported the education of over 30,000 young people, a figure which has increased 4.5% year-on-year.
  • MAG’s American business, MAG-USA, is establishing a real presence, offering lounge products and parking services to US airports. Eight MAG lounges are now operational in the USA, with the first US airports now also using MAG’s online car park booking platform to help them operate and manage their car parks.

*Excluding figures for Bournemouth Airport which MAG sold in December 2017.

MAG Chief Executive, Charlie Cornish
“MAG continues to play a vital role in connecting different parts of the country to key global markets. The investments we are making in our facilities will allow them to play an even bigger role in the years to come."
MAG Chief Executive, Charlie Cornish

Key Financials


12 months ended 31 March 2019 (£m)

12 months ended 31 March 2018 (£m)

Change (%)

Passenger numbers (m)








Adjusted EBITDA




Result from operations




Cash generated from operations




*All figures are stated for ‘continuing operations’, excluding Bournemouth Airport which was sold by MAG in December 2017

MAG CEO, Charlie Cornish, said: “MAG continues to play a vital role in connecting different parts of the country to key global markets. The investments we are making in our facilities will allow them to play an even bigger role in the years to come. We are matching that capital investment with a focus on the experience that every one of our passengers has as they travel through our terminals, something we are looking to make as smooth as possible.

“By improving international connectivity to different regions, MAG airports will do far more to secure economic growth and rebalancing across the UK than a third runway at Heathrow will. The Government must now show an active commitment to supporting the future growth of airports like Manchester, London Stansted and East Midlands.

“To achieve this, the Government must support the delivery of better transport links to airports across the country as part of an integrated plan to grow global connections from the North, Midlands and the South.

“We welcome the Government and EU’s commitment to maintaining vital air connectivity between the UK and Europe even in the event of a ‘no deal’ Brexit, something which allows passengers to book and travel with confidence.

“But continued uncertainty about Brexit will ultimately act as a drag on the economy and damage consumer confidence. It is vital that the Government finds a political solution to Brexit over the coming months to enable the country to move forward and to rebuild consumer confidence."

Business Review

MAG has had another year of growth, with increases in passenger numbers and EBITDA, despite the ongoing challenge of Brexit uncertainty and the need to backfill the capacity previously operated by Monarch Airlines prior to its collapse in October 2017.

In the twelve months to 31 March 2019, MAG airports increased passenger numbers by 4.9% to 61.8m.

Manchester Airport served 28.6m passengers this year, with a range of new long-haul routes, including a direct Virgin Atlantic route to Los Angeles, and an Ethiopian Airlines route flying direct to Addis Ababa.

This year, easyJet also announced its largest ever operation at Manchester Airport, adding five new aircraft to its fleet, allowing it to serve five new routes across Europe to Innsbruck, Lanzarote, Faro, Barcelona and Bordeaux. also announced an expansion of its route network from Manchester for Summer 2019, now flying to destinations including Bourgas, Chania and Izmir.

The first phase of the £1bn Transformation Programme (MAN-TP) at Manchester Airport was completed on time, less than 18 months after construction began, when Pier 1 opened in April this year. The next phase of the project is due to be completed in 2020, with new terminal capacity as part of an extension to the existing Terminal 2, allowing Manchester to fulfil its potential as the North’s global hub.

Over the last 12 months, Manchester Airport has continued to work hard to demonstrate to Government the opportunities improved rail links in the North could provide to the UK economy. We have been firm in the belief that the North would see huge benefits from both HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail, including improved access from across the North to Manchester Airport as its global gateway. This kind of infrastructure investment in the North would help to drive economic development and would enhance the journey time and experience for more passengers than ever before from across the North and the rest of the UK.












After another successful year at London Stansted Airport, which has seen passenger numbers rise to 28.4m, the airport has been progressing with its own Transformation Programme (STN-TP). Over the next 12 months, the airport will see the completion of eight new aircraft stands, the installation of 28 new check-in desks and the construction of a new multi-storey car park which will offer more than 2,600 spaces within walking distance of the terminal building.

Current operations at London Stansted are giving passengers more choice of destinations than ever before, having launched a number of new services this year, including a direct flight to St Petersburg with Pobeda Airlines, along with a new route to Vienna with Laudamotion. Additionally, since its launch last year, Emirates direct flight to Dubai continues to prove extremely popular with passengers, connecting them to over 150 onward destinations from the Middle Eastern hub, highlighting the demand for long-haul services from London Stansted.

As the UK’s fourth biggest airport, transport links to London Stansted for passengers and businesses are of vital importance as the airport continues to develop. MAG continues to call for important upgrades to the Stansted Express rail service to allow the airport to serve an even wider catchment of passengers. By securing these improved links, London Stansted will be able to generate economic activity through tourism, international trade and inward investment for East Anglia and the Greater London regions.

This year, London Stansted has continued in its commitment to supporting its local community and in September 2018, opened Stansted Airport College in partnership with Harlow College. As the UK’s first airport skills college and the only Further Education establishment in the Uttlesford District, the college provides the next generation with the technical skills and opportunities to launch their career in aviation with London Stansted, whether their ambition is to become an engineer, cabin crew or enter the retail sector.

East Midlands Airport continues to be the UK’s number one airport for pure cargo operations, this year handling 366,815 tonnes of freight. To maximise its air freight potential, this year our partners UPS announced a £114m development project, which will increase the number of cargo aircraft the airport is able to host and will double the overall size of the cargo operation at East Midlands.

Simultaneously, East Midlands continues to be a popular passenger airport for the region, serving 4.9m passengers per year. Key to its enduring popularity is the increased variety of destinations available to passengers, with new routes to Nantes and Shannon with Ryanair, and Inverness and Brussels with Logan Air all launched this year. This growth will be facilitated by plans for a new arrivals hall, which will provide capacity for five new e-gates at passport control and enhance the experience for passengers travelling through a growing East Midlands Airport.

Our MAG Property division has had a strong year, as has the Airport City Manchester Joint Venture, in which MAG plays a key role. Office space across the development was fully let at the end of the year and Amazon agreed to acquire a further two acres of land at Airport City South. In September 2018, we announced the major multiphase office development for The Hut Group. In the course of the year, MAG also increased its shareholding in the Airport City Joint Venture to 70%.

MAG-USA continues to expand, with eight lounges currently in operation across the country. 2019 will also a number of further lounge openings at US airports, together with MAG introducing innovative technology to help US airports operate their car parks and online booking services.