February was the busiest month for Manchester Airports Group (MAG) since the pandemic began, figures released today have shown.

The Group, which owns and operates Manchester, London Stansted and East Midlands airports, served 2.4 million passengers in February – 62% of the traffic seen in the same month in 2019.

These latest figures mean that the recovery of MAG airports has now exceeded the levels seen in November 2021, when passenger numbers peaked at 58% of 2019 levels. That was before Omicron travel restrictions saw passenger numbers fall back again by around a half.

The removal of the UK’s inbound testing requirements in time for the half-term holidays allowed more than one million passengers to fly from each of Manchester and London Stansted airports in February, as the pent-up demand for international travel was released.

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MAG has welcomed the Government’s ‘Living with Covid’ plan, which recognises the very high personal, economic and international costs of border measures and sets the bar for bringing in new measures “very high”.

As the industry now plans for the summer ahead, MAG is calling on the Government to remove the remaining travel measures, including the Passenger Locator Form (PLF), at the earliest opportunity.

With the recovery of aviation set to continue in earnest ahead of the summer, MAG is recruiting for hundreds of new roles across its three airports, to support operations and ensure passengers have the best possible experience as they go on long awaited holidays.

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Charlie Cornish, MAG CEO, said: 

“The number of passengers that travelled through our airports in February shows the sheer demand for international travel that exists once people are freed from testing and other restrictions.

“Now that the Government has made clear that it will only consider implementing new public health measures at the border in extreme circumstances, we are well on the way to a sustained recovery as we head into the summer season.

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“With so much excitement ahead for the sector, this is the perfect time to consider a career in aviation and so it is fantastic to be able to offer hundreds of new jobs at our airports across the country.”

As recovery continues, MAG continued to develop its offering to passengers. Earlier this week, London Stansted announced its departure lounge will undergo a £12m refurbishment, featuring a range of new food and beverage and retrial outlets. Both Manchester and East Midlands airports are also looking ahead to new and returning routes as passenger numbers increase.

PASSENGERS:

 ManchesterLondon StanstedEast MidlandsMAG
Rolling 12-month total to Feb 227,772,7488,813,319992,84817,578,965
12-month total % change year on year+110.7%+125.8%+91.0%+116.7%
Rolling 12- month total to Feb 213,688,5093,903,227519,7798,111,515
Feb 22 total1,135,3171,150,746110,4352,396,498
Feb 22 % change year on year+1329.7%+3190.9%+43207.8%+1990.6%
Feb 22 % change on Jan 2019-36.9%-39.0%-48.9%-38.2%

CARGO:

 ManchesterLondon StanstedEast Midlands
Feb 2022 total tonnes4,96418,12835,285
Feb 2022 % change year on year+18.9%-11.7%+3.6%