Manchester Airports Group CEO Charlie Cornish warned that operating profits for the 12 months to 31-Mar-2011 are likely to be flat year-on-year due to the impact of the ash cloud and winter weather (menmedia.co.uk, 03-Mar-2011) The CEO stated he expects to benefit from the non-recurrence of these events and improve profitability in FY2012. Mr Cornish stated Manchester’s strategy for future growth is a focus on long-haul international routes to destinations in the US, the Middle East, Asia and India, as well as attracting more LCCs. MAG has also expressed interest in BAA assets which will be up for sale.
MAG upbeat despite flat earnings; interest in BAA
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Ryanair and Stansted. Brexit may have increased the LCC's bargaining power over its biggest airport
Ryanair's plans for nine new routes and increased frequency on 13 routes at London Stansted Airport in summer 2017 mark a further chapter in the relationship between the two. Stansted is Ryanair's biggest airport and Ryanair is Stansted's biggest airline customer. However, Ryanair dominates Stansted, while Stansted's importance to Ryanair is diminishing.
When Ryanair took exception to what it considered to be excessive airport charge increases it severely cut its capacity at Stansted, severely denting the airport's traffic base between 2007 and 2012. The subsequent growth in passenger numbers following Stansted's acquisition by Manchester Airports Group in 2013 is the direct result of a deal with Ryanair over reduced airport charges. In 2016, Stansted's traffic recovery was complete and it handled more passengers than at its 2007 peak.
Ryanair's summer 2017 expansion plans at Stansted point to further growth in the airport's passenger numbers. However, Ryanair has reduced its growth in the UK as a result of Brexit uncertainty, and this is likely to mean slower growth for Stansted. Ryanair is even modestly cutting its capacity at the airport this winter. Ryanair has consistently been a critic of Brexit, but it may have further increased its bargaining power over its biggest airport.