Stansted Airport owner MAG reports increased first half profits

Part of the new-look main passenger terminal at Stansted Airport.

Part of the new-look main passenger terminal at Stansted Airport. - Credit: Archant

Manchester Airports Group (MAG) today reported a strong set of first-half results, with London Stansted leading the way in earnings and passenger growth.

MAG, which besides Stansted and its “home” airport of Manchester also owns East Midlands and Bournemouth airports, reported an 8.1% increase in revenue to £421.4million for the six months to September 30, with operating profit 8.7% ahead of last year’s first half at £117.6m.

It said the increase in profit had been drive by increases both in passenger numbers and commercial revenues, helped by long-term agreements with airlines.

Passenger numbers across the group grew by 8.5% to 28.1m, with the total at Stansted 11.9% ahead at 11.3m. MAG said this made Stansted the fastest-growiing airport in the South East, with its rolling annual passenger total now 2m higher than when it was acquired by the group from the former BAA company early in 2013.

Earnings at Stansted grew by 11.4% to £66m, which MAG said reflected “product expansion” in areas such as lounges, fast track and car parking, together with new agreements with airlines and an increase in commercial partnerships.

MAG is currently investing £40m in a re-configuration of the Stansted terminal with retail partners contributing up to another £40m.

When complete, the project will double airside retail space, improve passenger flows and provide 100% footfall for all units. In recent months, World Duty Free, Next and M&S Simply Food have all opened stores, with a further 12 retail outlets to follow alongside a new “Escape Lounge”.

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Neil Thompson, chief financial officer at MAG, said: “MAG has delivered a strong financial performance in the first six months of the year, meeting or exceeding its financial targets and continuing the growth rate delivered over the past few years.

“A busy summer period saw more passengers than ever before using our four airports and taking advantage of the largest number of destinations that we have ever been able to offer. Our focus on long term commercial agreements has made this possible and we continue to focus on further diversifying our route offering, particularly with regards long haul.

“I am especially pleased with the performance of Manchester which is reaching its record annual passenger level and Stansted which is now showing industry leading levels of passenger growth.

“Stansted alone has added over two million passengers since we acquired the airport in February 2013 and has begun to see substantial operational and commercial benefits from being part of the group.

“Unlike other London airports, Stansted has spare runway capacity today and significant room to grow in the future and it is vital that faster rail services are delivered between London and Stansted so as to ensure that this potential is utilised.

“We also continue to invest significantly in our infrastructure, with the existing facilities at all four airports having been improved in the last six months.”

MAG is largely under local authority ownership, with Manchester City Council and IFM Investors each holding a 35.5% stake and the remaining 29% beiing owned by the nine other Greater Manchester councils of Bolton, Bury, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford and Wigan.