MAG airports are now serving 18million more passengers than five years ago


  • MAG operates the two largest airports in the country that have significant spare runway capacity to drive growth in global connectivity.
  •  London Stansted grew 10.3% and Manchester Airport grew 6.7% in December.
  •  Across 2018, MAG welcomed 4.4% more passengers and their airports have now grown by 42% in five years.



London Stansted

East Midlands


2018 total





December 2018 total





2018 – year performance

% change

year on year





December 2018 - % change year on year







London Stansted

East Midlands


2013 performance





% change 2013 - 2018








London Stansted

East Midlands

December 2018 tonnes




December 2018

% change

year on year




*excludes figures for Bournemouth Airport, which was sold to RCA in December 2017.

MAG, the operator of Manchester, London Stansted and East Midlands airports, finished the year on a high as December saw each airport welcome more passengers than they did in the equivalent month last year. 

The December growth rounded off a successful 2018 for MAG, as 61.1m passengers used its airports, representing an 8.2% year on year increase.

The end of 2018 also marks five years of MAG ownership of London Stansted Airport. In that time, Stansted has grown its passenger numbers by 56.9%, serving 10 million more passengers in 2018 than in 2013.  Over the same period Manchester Airport grew by 36.7% and East Midlands grew by 12.7% growth at East Midlands.  Overall, this means that MAG’s three airports served 18.2m more passengers in 2018 than they did five years ago. This increase has been driven by the huge expansion in route offerings that MAG has worked with airlines to deliver, supported by the significant spare runway capacity that its airports have offered at a time when other major airports have been reaching full capacity.

Manchester Airport’s successful 2018 (+1.7% to 28.3m) comes despite the loss of its seventh biggest airline, Monarch, and was driven by new long routes to Addis Ababa, Mumbai and Seattle – as well as a resurgence of leisure traffic to Turkey. December saw growth ahead of the year’s trend (+6.7% to 2.0m), as the airport looks ahead to a successful 2019 and the opening of the first elements of its transformation programme, which will provide passengers with new state of the art facilities and more capacity.

London Stansted Airport welcomed 28m passengers in a year for the first time in its history (+8.2% to 28.0m), and also saw a record December (+10.3% to 2.0m), the first time that it has served over 2m passengers in the month of December. The airport’s performance was boosted by a new daily link to Dubai with Emirates and expanded schedules from Ryanair, Jet2.com and other airlines.

East Midlands Airport also grew, by 2.6%, to serve 231,000 passengers in December.

As the UK prepares to leave the European Union, MAG also welcomes the publication of technical notices from both the UK Government and the EU in recent months which have set out clear and positive commitments to allowing airlines continued access between the UK and the EU, even in a ‘no deal’ scenario.  MAG is now calling on UK and EU negotiators to agree a new long-term framework that continues to provide a liberal ‘open skies’ framework to support growth and competition.

Tim Hawkins, Chief Strategy Officer, MAG, said: “The scale of growth we’ve delivered at MAG airports over the last five years reflects the hugely important contribution that they have made to driving economic growth, both nationally and in the communities around our airports. We are delighted to be serving 18 million extra customers every year, compared to five years ago - providing passengers with a much wider choice of routes and airlines, and good value fares.

“Much of this growth has been made possible by the single aviation market created by the European Union. As we prepare to exit the EU in March, it is vital that UK and EU negotiators commit to agreeing a new ‘open skies’ aviation deal in the interests of both passengers and the economy.”

This press release was sourced from Manchester Airports Group (MAG) on 11-Jan-2019.