Passengers set off to the sun as MAG airports grow in July

  • Growth comes despite heatwave and World Cup.
  •  Turkey, North Africa and Eastern Mediterranean destinations becoming more popular again this year.
  •  New long haul routes from London Stansted start successfully.




London Stansted

East Midlands


Rolling 12 month total





July 2018 total





July 2018

% change

year on year








London Stansted

East Midlands

July 2018 tonnes




July 2018

% change

year on year




*excludes figures for Bournemouth Airport, which was sold to RCA in December 2017.

Despite a UK-wide heatwave and England’s progress in the World Cup, 3.1% more passengers flew away through MAG’s three airports in July.

London Stansted experienced the highest rate of growth in the group, growing 7.4% year on year to serve 2.8m passengers in July, its busiest ever. The increase was driven by brand new long haul routes to Dubai and New York, new summer short-haul links to Frankfurt, Reykjavik and Vilnius, and more passengers than last year jetting off to existing summer favourites like Alicante (+40%) and Malaga (+16%).

14,000 more passengers flew from Manchester Airport in July 2018 than in July 2017 (+0.5%). The holiday trend for this summer from Manchester has been Brits rediscovering Turkey and North African destinations, after a few years of very strong growth to Spain.

This July, almost 30,000 more passengers combined flew from Manchester to Antalya and Dalaman in Turkey. Meanwhile, the restarted route to Enfidha in Tunisia was snapped up by bargain hunters, while Morocco also saw growth. Manchester’s domestic route network also saw 10% growth, thanks to a new route this year to London Southend, and 53% growth to Belfast International.

Ken O'Toole, CEO,  London Stansted Airport
We always work hard to ensure that going into the peak season our passengers have the best possible service and this year we introduced a number of improvements to our operation
Ken O'Toole, CEO, London Stansted Airport

Cargo figures at the country’s two biggest airports for pure cargo aircraft, East Midlands and London Stansted, were both up in July. East Midlands grew 4.2% and London Stansted grew 4.5%. East Midlands’ position as the UK’s busiest airport for dedicated freight traffic was further underpinned by hitting a new milestone, with the airport now handling over 1000 tonnes a day. Recent growth can be attributed, in part, to people’s increased appetite for online shopping and e-commerce. Goods such as clothes, mobile phones, footwear, beauty products, fashion accessories, toys and video games come through the airport, in addition to higher value heavier cargo.

East Midlands Airport’s passenger traffic declined slightly (-2.1%) but once again, routes to Turkey and the Eastern Mediterranean proved especially popular, including Corfu, Dalaman, Antalya, Rhodes and Dubrovnik, all of which posted growth, alongside the new route for this summer to Seville.

Ken O’Toole, CEO, London Stansted Airport said:

“As the main summer holiday season firmly gets underway, July is always a very busy month for us and this year we have welcomed a record number of passengers to the airport.

“We always work hard to ensure that going into the peak season our passengers have the best possible service and this year we introduced a number of improvements to our operation including recruiting more security staff, the introduction of new Airport Ambassador roles, creating more check-in desks, improved access to the forecourt and the opening of a new 350 seat restaurant.

“Over the next five years we are investing £600m in transforming the airport experience for passengers, the main elements of which will be the construction of a new arrivals terminal, a re-vamp of the existing terminal, upgrades to the baggage system and more car parking spaces.

“With limited spare capacity at other airports in the South East, Stansted will deliver 50 percent of London’s expected passenger growth over the next decade. Given this anticipated growth, we have applied for permission to raise the number of passengers we serve to 43 million a year, with a firm commitment to do so without any additional flights or noise impacts beyond our current permissions.”