Manchester Airports Group records annual loss of £320m

·2 min read

The owner of Manchester, London Stansted and East Midlands airports lost £320 million during the 12 months to the end of March as passenger numbers were a third of pre-pandemic levels.

Manchester Airports Group (MAG) said its combined losses for the last two years were £694 million.

Compared with 2018/19, revenues were down 80% in 2020/21 and 48% during the following year.

The group served 20.5 million passengers in the 12 months to the end of March.

That was more than triple the figure for the previous year, which was affected by coronavirus lockdowns.

However, it was just a third of the 2019/20 total as pandemic travel restrictions were in place in the UK for 11 months of the period.

MAG said its recovery from the virus crisis is “outstripping” other UK airports, with passenger numbers at 82% of pre-pandemic levels in May.

The group’s chief executive, Charlie Cornish, said: “With travel restrictions in place for nearly all of the last 12 months, it was another uncertain and unpredictable year for MAG and the wider aviation industry.”

MAG airports are among those that have been affected by the widespread disruption across the aviation sector, as the spike in demand for travel has coincided with staffing shortages.

Passengers at Stansted Airport
Passengers at Stansted Airport (PA)

Mr Cornish admitted the pace of the recovery in demand for air travel has “brought its own challenges” and recruitment of new staff “has taken longer and been more difficult than we anticipated”.

He added: “With passenger levels across MAG growing quickly back towards what they were before the pandemic, I am confident in the strength of our business and the contribution our airports will once again make for their regions and the whole UK economy.”

MAG insisted it has been “working hard for several months to bring its operations back to full strength”.

Since January, more than 1,500 new employees have taken up roles across Manchester, London Stansted and East Midlands airports.

That is in addition to hundreds of new staff at airlines, ground handlers and retailers operating at the airports.

Waiting times at security “have improved”, with 92% of passengers being processed in less than half an hour at Manchester Airport in June, according to MAG.