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Stansted first UK airport to surpass pre-Covid passenger numbers

A Strong Performance by Manchester Airports Group (MAG) 

Manchester Airports Group (MAG), which owns and operates London Stansted, Manchester, and East Midlands Airports, has shown a formidable performance in July.

The group collectively served 6.3 million passengers in July, equivalent to 97% of pre-Covid levels. This showcases a remarkable recovery, with Manchester Airport serving 2.9 million passengers (94% of pre-pandemic levels), and East Midlands Airport serving 495,000 passengers, which is 87% of the traffic seen in July 2019

Rising Passenger Totals for MAG 

MAG’s rolling 12-month passenger total now exceeds 57 million passengers, marking an increase of 51% from the previous year. 

High Levels of Service Maintained 

All three airports under MAG have sustained high service levels throughout the summer. In July, 100% of passengers at East Midlands Airport passed through security in 15 minutes or less, compared with 97% at London Stansted and 96% at Manchester. 

‘Very Good’ Rating in CAA’s Annual Airport Accessibility Report 

In the Civil Aviation Authority’s (CAA) Annual Airport Accessibility Report released in July, all three MAG airports received the regulator’s highest possible ‘very good’ rating. Notably, Manchester and London Stansted improved their performance, while East Midlands Airport maintained its rating, which earned it the title of Europe’s top-performing airport at The Ozion Accessibility Awards last year.

Passengers:
 ManchesterLondon StanstedEast MidlandsMAG
Rolling 12-month total to July ’23  26,617,36226,835,6673,600,42857,053,457
12-month total % change year-on-year+53.2%+49.3%+46.3%+50.9%
Rolling 12- month total July ’2217,375,77017,963,9272,461,86437,801,606
July ’23 total2,996,6902,807,150495,2146,299,054
July ’23 % change year-on-year+14.8%+13.5%+18.7%+14.5%
Source: MAG
Cargo
 ManchesterLondon StanstedEast Midlands
July 2023 total tonnes6,66819,43830,840
July 2023 % change year on year+8.0%-8.6%-12.4%
Source: MAG
A Ryanair aircraft parked at the gate at London Stansted Airport.

London Stansted Surpasses Pre-Covid Passenger Volumes 

Record-Breaking July for London Stansted 

London Stansted has set a precedent by becoming the first significant UK airport to exceed pre-Covid passenger volumes in any month.

In July, London Stansted, serving more European destinations than any other UK airport, welcomed 2.8 million passengers through its terminal. This impressive 102% of July 2019 is the busiest July in the airport’s history and the third-busiest month ever. 

Record-Breaking July for Stansted 

The onset of the peak summer holiday season saw Stansted experience its busiest July to date, marking a 13% increase from last year’s total. The month of July also ranked as the third busiest month in the airport’s history. 

Daily passenger count averaged at 90,322 during the month, a rise from 88,709 in 2022. This figure has only been exceeded in August in the two years prior to the pandemic. The airport experienced its busiest day of the year on July 31st, with a total of 97,000 passengers. 

Despite the surge in passenger numbers, security queue times remained impressively low. Over 97% of passengers reached the departure lounge within 15 minutes or less. The average security queue time was less than seven minutes throughout the month.

Dublin was the most popular destination for July flights, followed closely by Istanbul, Turkey, and Palma, Majorca. 

Gareth Powell, London Stansted’s Managing Director, states:

“Surpassing 2.8M passenger count in July, we stand as the first major UK airport to report volumes above the 2019 mark, pre-pandemic. In fact, this has been our busiest July and the third busiest month in London Stansted’s record.”

“This performance is a testament to our position as the prime UK airport for direct flights to Europe and the excellent value, convenience and service we extend to passengers.”

“Our summer season has started on a strong note, largely due to the diligent efforts of our team and seamless collaboration with all our airport partners. Consequently, over 97% of passengers passed through security in less than 15 minutes, with minimal flight cancellations at London Stansted. We are confident of maintaining this strong performance in the upcoming busy weeks.”

“Our efforts to provide an inclusive experience for all passengers have been recognized with the highest possible rating from the CAA for the service we provide to passengers with reduced mobility. This is reflective of our investments in infrastructure, equipment, and staff.”

“The record number of passengers choosing to fly from London Stansted is a testament to the value and choice we offer. We are confident of this trend continuing throughout the rest of the summer.”

Stansted Celebrates 80th Runway Anniversary 

The airport also marked the 80th anniversary of its runway. It was constructed during World War II as an American Air Force base. This celebration was coupled with the latest visit from a US President, as Air Force One and Joe Biden arrived for the President’s meeting with His Majesty The King. 

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