Chief executive of Manchester Airports Group, Charlie Cornish, confirmed that he had been in talks with ministers for the last 18 months ahead of the country’s airport strategy publication, due for release later this year.
Charlie Cornish stated that Stansted airport (which his company owns), was capped by law at 35m passengers currently. but that it had the capacity to cope with 44.5m, whereas Manchester’s 26m passengers could increase to 55m using their two existing runways.
“What we are anxious for the Government to do is not solely focus on Heathrow,” he said. “Certainly that needs to be a part of the strategy but equally the Government needs to focus on how it can spread growth across the UK.”
He suggested that creating improved accessibility to existing airports could help the UK make use of the spare airport capacity, without increasing the need for more runways.
Passenger Numbers & Future Plans
The group saw passenger numbers rise from a mere 4m to a record number 55.9m in the year to March. Subsequent to this news, Charlie Cornish suggested that it could have been even higher had it not been for Brexit, which he suspected had off airlines from launching routes due to the uncertainty which followed the EU referendum.
The group has 282 routes at present, which is higher than any other UK airport group, and in the coming years, Charlie expects even more routes to the US, Asia and Middle East.
Major monetary investment are being input into Stansted Airport with a £450m boost planned in order to build a dedicated building for arrivals, to overhaul the existing terminal and also to create 20 more stands for aircraft.
An £850m development programme is being put in place for Manchester Airport, which is going towards it's land bank around the airport, and to initiate plans to expand its Terminal 2. The group also saw revenue rise approximately 8% to £839.6m due to increases in income from airline charges and retail rents. This helped push operating profits up 10% to £205.5m.
Image 2: Courtesy of chrish_99 from Flickr.com