New routes contribute to growth in annual cargo tonnage at Stansted Airport

Stansted's fire service giving China Southern Airlines a traditional water arch salute to mark its f

Stansted's fire service giving China Southern Airlines a traditional water arch salute to mark its first touchdown at at the airport last year. - Credit: Archant

Disruption to Channel Tunnel services last summer contributed to an increase in the tonnage of cargo handled at Stansted Airport during 2015, according to its owner.

Manchester Airports Group (MAG) said today that cargo tonnage across its four airports grew by 4.3% compared with 2014.

A total of 672,206 tonnes of cargo was handled by Manchester, Stansted, East Midlands and Bournemouth airports, 27,720 more than the previous year.

Stansted handled 237,255 tonnes last year, up 2.4%, helped by the launch of new routes by China Southern and Turkish Airlines.

MAG said that Stansted’s cargo operation, together with that at East Midlands, where tonnage grew by 4.5% to 322,918, also saw a significant uplift as operators used air cargo services to avoid disruption at the Channel Tunnel over the summer.

The two airports were able to take advantage of the opportunity as a result of their ample spare runway capacity, with other London airports operating a close to capacity, MAG added.

At Manchester airport, cargo tonnage grew by 9.6% to 103,131 last year although the figure at Bournemouth dipped by 9.2% to 8,892.

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The figures were bolstered by an exceptionally busy festive period with the monthly volume at East Midlands topping 30,000 tonnes in December for the first time, representing 12.8% growth year-on-year. Manchester and Stansted also saw strong growth compared with December 2014, of 10.5% and 7.7% respectively.

Conan Busby, business development manager – cargo at MAG, said: “We’re seeing strong growth in cargo volumes at MAG airports, driven by a variety of factors.

“While the growth in express cargo was driven by the increasing popularity of internet shopping and ecommerce among consumers, we have also seen operators join us for the first time and also won mode share from ground transport as freight got diverted to us because of the Channel Tunnel disruption over the summer.

“We are also seeing a lack of capacity at other London airports especially in long haul bellyhold – something that our airports are taking advantage of with their spare runway capacity, good onward transport infrastructure and competitive offers.

“We look forward to welcoming more new operators in the year ahead to our airports. 2016 promises much for MAG Cargo.”