Increased annual profits for Stansted Airport owner Manchester Airports Group

Aircraft tailfins at Stansted Airport.
Picture: Stansted Airport

Aircraft tailfins at Stansted Airport. Picture: Stansted Airport - Credit: Archant

Stansted Airport is close to breaking through the 25m passengers a year threshold after its busiest ever June.

Stansted Airport handled a record volume of cargo in the year to June 30, 2017.
Picture: Stansted A

Stansted Airport handled a record volume of cargo in the year to June 30, 2017. Picture: Stansted Airport - Credit: Archant

More than 2.362m travellers passed through the airport last month, an increase of 7.9% compared with the same period 12 months ago and beating the previous June record set in 2006.

This took Stansted’s rolling annual passenger total for the year to June 30 to 24.909m, an increase of 6.2% on the previous 12 months and within 100,000 of the 25m mark.

The biggest year-on-year growth came from Denmark and Cyprus with Ryanair now serving Copenhagen and flying to both Larnaca and Paphos.

Stansted has secured planning consent for a new £130m arrivals building which will give it the capacity to grow towards its current passenger limit of 35m passengers a year.

Ryanair and easyJet aircraft at Stansted Airport.
Picture: Stansted Airport

Ryanair and easyJet aircraft at Stansted Airport. Picture: Stansted Airport - Credit: Archant

It has also announced its intention to apply shortly for permission to increase the cap to 44m passengers a year - a move which the Stop Stansted Expansion group (SSE) has vowed to oppose.

Andrew Cowan, chief executive at Stansted, said today: “Passenger traffic at London Stansted continued to grow strongly in June as we recorded yet another record breaking month as our airline partners add even more new services, choice and extra capacity on the most popular routes in response to increased demand from people wanting to fly from their local airport.

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“Stansted will very shortly pass 25m passengers a year for the first time ever as we head towards the main holiday getaway and our busiest summer on record, another clear indication of the rapid growth the airport has experienced over the past four years and highlighting the critical role Stansted can play in supporting the UK’s economic growth and increasing our global competitiveness over the next 10 to 15 years by making use of Stansted’s spare capacity.”

Cargo volumes at Stansted also hit an all-time high last month, increasing by 10.3% compared with a year earlier to 22,117 tonnes. The rolling annual total now stands at a record 258,739, an increase of 4.3% on the previous 12 months.

Andrew Cowan, chief executive at Stansted Airport.

Andrew Cowan, chief executive at Stansted Airport. - Credit: Archant

Mr Cowan added: “The airport’s cargo operation is also reporting significant growth with the volume and worth of goods, products and mail passing through the dedicated facilities now reaching an all-time annual high – the value of all the cargo and freight moving through Stansted is now over £12bn a year.

“This demonstrates the major benefit a global cargo network provides, connecting not only the fast growing east of England region to the world but also businesses in London and across the UK that trade internationally.”

Today’s announcement came as Stansted owner Manchester Airports Group (MAG) reported an 8.0% increase in earnings to £343.2m for the 12 months to March 31, on revenues 7.8% higher at £839.6m.

The group-wide passenger total for the year was 7.7% higher at 55.9m, with Stansted delivering growth of 4.7% to 24.3m.

Manchester Airport saw growth of 11.5%, to 26.2m, the total at East Midlands Airport was 4.4% higher at 4.7m and numbers at Bournemouth Airport were flat at 700,000.

MAG chief executive Charlie Cornish, said: “This year has seen our airports fly a record number of passengers to a record number of destinations all over the world.

“This improved connectivity has generated a significant increase in the contribution that MAG makes to the UK economy and we encourage Government to prioritise the development of an aviation strategy that makes full use of the runway capacity available today at our four UK airports.

“Our plans for significant investment in Manchester Airport and London Stansted will not only improve the experience for passengers and airlines using our airports but also provide the foundations upon which we will be able to meet anticipated future demand.”

However, speaking earlier this week as Stansted launched a series of exhibitions to explain its expansion plans, Brian Ross, deputy chairman of SSE, said: “The portrayal of the potential impacts that would arise from further expansion at Stansted is deliberately misleading and the public should be very, very sceptical about the claims being made to try to push through its proposals.

“The airport’s so-called roadshow has all the hallmarks of a sales pitch for time-share apartments. It’s all about spinning the positives and saying nothing about the negatives.”

SSE urged people to question the plans, saying that if they go ahead, residents will see an aircraft flying overhead every 85 seconds compared to the current rate of a couple of minutes.