Airports grow in September as busy summer season comes to an end

  • All MAG airports grow, with passenger numbers up 9% across the group
  • Couples and families with pre-school Children enjoy an Indian Summer across Europe, and students arrive back in the UK from across the globe
  • MAG calls for an aviation strategy to drive economic growth across the U.K.




London Stansted

East Midlands



Rolling 12 month total






September 2017 total






September 2017

% change

year on year









London Stansted

East Midlands

September 2017 tonnes




% change

year on year




MAG airports experienced growing passenger numbers in September, as a busy summer season came to an end with 9% more passengers flying than in the same month last year. The growth was driven by people without school-age children taking advantage of a competitive market for Mediterranean holidays and also students flying in from global destinations to take places at universities across the UK.

The figures come as the Government starts preparing its aviation strategy for the next three decades. In its submission to Government, MAG is calling for:

  • A strategy that is national in scope which seeks to maximise the economic and social benefits of aviation
  • A focus on how UK airports can be made easier and quicker to reach by rail and road
  • A strategy that targets an increase in long haul connectivity from U.K. airports to support trade and provide better access to global markets
  • A framework to be developed for the way future additional runway capacity in the UK should be developed

In September, Manchester Airport, one of only two airports in the U.K with two runways, grew 7.4% year on year to handle 2.9 million passengers. In September, the airport plays a key role in bringing students to Northern cities to start the new university year, and this year students from China, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates and North America arrived in even greater numbers. Representatives from 18 different institutions were on hand to welcome students to the UK, including the universities of Leeds, Sheffield, and Manchester.

London Stansted Airport served more passengers in September than ever before, with 12.6% growth to 2.5m passengers surpassing the previous record set in September 2007. The airport achieved this growth despite Ryanair‘s cancellation of some services.

Tim Hawkins, MAG Corporate Affairs Director
By supporting the development of a network of strategic airports with investment in better rail and road links, the Government can boost economic prosperity and strengthen trade links.
Tim Hawkins, MAG Corporate Affairs Director

At East Midlands Airport, summer passenger numbers were back up to levels not seen since 2008 as the airport saw 554,159 passengers in September (+3.0%) and Bournemouth Airport grew 7.3% to 77,000 passengers.

Tim Hawkins, Corporate Affairs Director at MAG, said: “The Government’s forthcoming aviation strategy will play a vital role in ensuring the UK has the best possible access to global markets over the coming decades.

“As an operator of airports across the country, we believe that the Government has an important role to play in improving international connectivity from every part of Britain. By supporting the development of a network of strategic airports with investment in better rail and road links, the Government can boost economic prosperity and strengthen trade links.”

MAG’s airports also boosted the role they play in international trade with Manchester’s cargo tonnage growing 9.2% year on year owing to an expanding long haul network. East Midlands Airport, which handles more cargo aircraft than any other UK airport, expanded 3% year on year, as did London Stansted, Britain’s second biggest airport for freight aircraft.