06 July, 2023

Manchester Airports Group (MAG) publishes strong annual results for 2022-23

Manchester Airports Group (MAG) is well-placed to enter a period of investment and growth, after it reported a positive set of full-year results.

In the period 1 April 2022 – 31 March 2023, the UK’s largest airport group recorded a revenue of £1bn for the first time in its history, as demand returned following the removal of Covid-19 travel restrictions.

  MAG served 54m passengers, equal to 91% of 2019/20 traffic

MAG, which owns and operates Manchester, London Stansted and East Midlands Airports, served 54m passengers across the reporting period which is equivalent to 91% of levels in 2019-2020.

The Group recorded an Adjusted EBITDA of £412m, up from £126m last financial year, when air travel was still constrained by government travel restrictions. These earnings were delivered on revenues of £1bn, which were up on the £462m recorded in the previous financial year.

An operating profit of £28.6m was recorded, after accounting for one-offs, recovering from an operating loss of £130m in the year to April 2022.

As a result of the positive relationships MAG has fostered with its airline partners, route networks across the Group continued to be restored throughout the year. Recovery was particularly strong in the low cost, short-haul sector, with Ryanair, Jet2.com, easyJet and TUI adding a significant number of direct connections across the Group.

Long-haul connectivity also recovered strongly, including transatlantic routes from Manchester Airport to New York and Orlando with Virgin Atlantic and Aer Lingus, alongside Hainan Airlines’ service to Beijing, as well as the addition of a new services to Kuwait and Bahrain. Emirates’ routes to Dubai have also returned to full strength from both Manchester and London Stansted, operating triple daily and double daily frequencies respectively.

The Group is now focused on delivering significant investment in its airports to enhance the passenger experience. Earlier this week, MAG announced that it was submitting a planning application at London Stansted, for an extension to the existing terminal building that will significantly improve the experience for passengers and provide terminal capacity for the airport’s growth within its agreed planning consent limits.

In January, the Group also announced it was commencing the final £440m phase of the £1.3bn Manchester Airport Transformation Programme (MAN-TP), due for completion in 2025.

The annual results highlight the strength of the Group’s recovery over the year. While the speed of the recovery after the pandemic caused challenges across the aviation industry, MAG was able to limit these impacts to the early summer through an extensive recruitment drive and close working with airport partners. Passenger service quality levels at its airports were significantly improved in time for the peak summer months of 2022 and continued to strengthen over the rest of the financial year. As the Group prepares to enter this 2023’s busy summer period, all three airports are delivering a consistently good level of service to passengers.

After its first full year of operations, MAG’s global airport services business CAVU has seen its international reach continue to grow. CAVU, which delivers digital and physical solutions to enhance the end-to-end passenger journey, now operates 24 airport lounges across the UK and US – including at all three of MAG’s airports and, most recently, Bristol Airport. Its full suite of services now sees CAVU operate in 24 countries across 278 airports.

The publication of the Group’s annual results comes after it announced in June that it had appointed Ken O’Toole as the new Group Chief Executive, who will take over from current CEO Charlie Cornish from 1 October. It also announced that Mr Cornish will assume the role as MAG Chair, when current Chair Sir Adrian Montague retires from the role. With full support of the Board and shareholders, Mr O’Toole and Mr Cornish have been appointed to oversee MAG’s continued recovery and its planned investment programmes.

MAG CEO Charlie Cornish said: “This year’s results highlight the scale of the recovery that MAG and the aviation industry have seen over the last 12 months.

“With our airports’ route networks returning to full strength, we have been able to offer passengers the wide range of global destinations they enjoy.  It has also been encouraging to see the strength of the recovery in demand for travel, with passenger traffic at our airports more than 90% of pre-pandemic levels.

“As I reflect on my final full-year results before I stand down as MAG CEO, I am pleased to have overseen such a positive year for our airports, and the progress we made in delivering high levels of customer service. I would like to thank all of our colleagues for their hard work and dedication, not just over this past 12 months, but throughout my time with the business.

“During my time as CEO I am proud of what the Group has achieved, from a significant period of growth pre-pandemic and the work we have done to recover, to the leading role we continue to play in aviation decarbonisation.

“We are now focused on delivering investment across the Group to enhance the airport experience for our passengers and drive future sustainable growth, and I look forward to overseeing these projects in my new role as MAG Chair.”

London Stansted continues to out-perform other UK airports in its passenger recovery, serving 25.5m passengers equivalent to 95% of pre-pandemic traffic. Manchester Airport served 25.2m passengers across the year, equivalent to 89% traffic in 2019/20, and East Midlands Airport served 3.3m passengers, equal to 73% of pre-pandemic traffic.

MAG continues to be industry leading in its approach to decarbonisation, as the Group develops robust plans to achieve net zero carbon operations by 2038. In November, Manchester Airport announced its partnership with HyNet, which aims to make it the first UK airport with a direct supply of hydrogen fuel from the mid-2030s. In August, London Stansted received planning permission to build a 14.3 megawatt solar farm, which will be the largest of its kind in London.

Across the reporting period more than 6,500 pupils visited MAG’s Aerozones, inspiring school-aged children about future careers in the aviation industry. East Midlands’ Aerozone marked its 30,000th visitor and London Stansted’s Aerozone welcomed its 20,000th visitor, since they opened in 2010 and 2015 respectively.

The Group’s Community Trust Funds continue to act as a core part of its work with communities surrounding its airports. This year, Manchester Airport celebrated 25 years of its Fund, and in total the Group contributed £945,000 to local charitable organisation and community groups.

As air travel has recovered from the effects of the pandemic, MAG’s significant contribution to the UK economy returned. A recent study conducted by York Aviation found that the Group contributed £8bn GVA in the last year and, together with on-site partners, employed more than 38,000 across its airports.