UK’s largest airports group records positive half year results
A successful summer season delivered a positive first-half performance for MAG, leaving it in a strong position to continue its investment in its airports to improve customer service and support sustainable growth.
MAG (Manchester Airports Group), which owns and operates Manchester, London Stansted and East Midlands Airports, today published its interim results for the period 1 April – 30 September 2023, during which it generated record half-year revenues of £705.6m (FY23: £565.2m).
Its airports collectively handled 34.9m passengers during the period, up 4.4m on the prior year. That represented just under 96% of pre-pandemic levels. In July, London Stansted became the first major airport to exceed pre-Covid volumes when compared to the same month in 2019, with Manchester marking that milestone in October, when East Midlands reached the 98% mark.
Manchester Airport welcomed 16.4m passengers between April-September, with 15.8m passing through London Stansted and 2.7m through East Midlands.
Not only did all MAG airports increase passenger volumes between April-September, they delivered consistently good service levels, with the vast majority of passengers passing through security in 15 minutes of less throughout the summer (Manchester – 96%, London Stansted – 98%, East Midlands – 100%). In July, all three received the highest possible rating from the Civil Aviation Authority for the service they provide to passengers with assisted travel needs.
MAG’s positive performance was driven by a combination of the strong recovery of short haul, low cost airlines, the return of key long haul services and the introduction of new airlines to its airports.
The UK’s largest group of airports recorded an adjusted EDITDA of £346.1m (FY23: £261m). Operating profit rose to £218.2 (FY23: £22.8m), with the increase partly down to one-off charges incurred during the same period last year.
Good progress was made on the final phase of the Manchester Airport Transformation Programme, with more than 1m working hours having now been clocked up on the project. The transformation of Terminal 2 - through which 80% of all passengers will eventually travel – remains on course for completion in 2025.
Since the period covered by the results, MAG has secured planning permission to extend London Stansted’s terminal, which will create a more spacious and relaxing environment for passengers and enable its continued growth in the years ahead.
MAG CEO Ken O’Toole said: "These interim results reflect a strong six months for MAG, during which all three of our airports saw a significant increase in passenger volumes at the same time as delivering a good service throughout the summer.
“MAG proudly serves all of the UK, with airports in the North, South and Midlands, and we are committed to providing passengers the length and breadth of the country with access to the places they want to fly to, and with travel options to suit all needs and budgets.
“That is what has underpinned this strong performance, along with the positive relationship we have with our airlines, many of which have increased capacity and added new routes during the period, with several new carriers also welcomed to our airports.
“We are also committed to investing in our airports to drive sustainable growth in the regions they serve and provide opportunities for people living in the communities surrounding us. It has been pleasing to make good progress on these fronts, as well as retaining our five-star GRESB rating in recognition of our ESG credentials.
“Our positive start to the year leaves us well-placed to continue driving forward that agenda during the second half and beyond, while maintaining our focus on working with government and our wider industry on the decarbonisation of aviation.”
MAG also updated on continued progress towards its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) objectives, including its recent retention of a five-star Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB) ESG rating.
During the first six months of the financial year, more than 3,000 young people visited Aerozone education facilities at MAG airports, with a new Jet Zero curriculum focused on Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF) launched during the period.
More than 5,500 jobseekers were given employment or training opportunities at MAG Airport Academies, while the group hosted or attended more than 130 recruitment fairs. MAG also launched an industry-first apprenticeship scheme, as well as becoming accredited as a Real Living Wage employer.
Several airlines at London Stansted announced new routes including Jet2.com to Morocco, Anadolujet to Ankara and easyJet to Geneva and Zurich, while the double-daily Emirates Dubai service continued to prove popular. It was also confirmed that the Stansted Express rail service will be restored to four trains per hour from this month.
At Manchester, easyJet, Jet2.com Ryanair and TUI all increased capacity, while EGYPTAIR launched a new direct route to Cairo. Virgin Atlantic confirmed its popular Las Vegas service will return in 2024. Following the Government’s decision in October to cancel the final phase of HS2, MAG has been working with local leaders and Government on the development of proposals to connect Manchester Airport to a high-speed east-west rail network.
East Midlands also saw a number of new routes added, including TUI to Ankara, Hurghada and Gran Canaria, Eastern Airways to Paris Orly and Aer Lingus Regional to Belfast. It handled 116,000 tonnes of cargo, reflecting its role as the UK’s busiest pure freight airport.