Stansted airport slowly starting to make up passenger losses from 8 years ago, wants raised passenger cap + another runway
The owners of Stansted Airport, MAG, are continuing to say they will be wanting a new runway in the next 10 years or so. The numbers of passengers using Stansted fell every year between a peak in 2007 of 23.7 million passengers, to a low of 17.5 million in 2012, and almost 20 million in 2014. The number of flights was about 192,000 in 2007 and only about 163,000 in 2014. So the current growth is just starting to catch up, and get back to the numbers 8 years ago. However, Stansted is using the current increase in passengers to say it will be needing to increase the planning cap on the number of passengers (currently 35 million per year) as was suggested in the Airports Commission’s interim report. It will start to consult locally about doing this. Stansted hopes to get more passengers, if it could have improved rail connections to London, for as long as Heathrow and Gatwick are full – unless one gets a new runway. Stansted says it could handle another 7 million passengers per year with its current infrastructure. It did not submit a proposal to the Airports Commission for a runway scheme, so it was not considered. But now it wants another runway, in addition to one at Gatwick or Heathrow – ignoring the uncomfortable fact that even the Commission said only one new runway could be added within the UK aviation carbon cap (even one runway would mean UK aviation exceeding its annual 37.5MtCO2 cap).
Stansted airport owner urges government to increase flight limit
Manchester Airports Group says surge in passenger demand means London’s third-biggest hub is likely to reach maximum number of flights in six years
By Gwyn Topham, (Guardian Transport Correspondent)
The owner of Stansted [Manchester Airports Group. MAG] has called on the government to raise the flight cap at the Essex airport, warning that otherwise passenger demand in the south-east will not be met until the completion of a new London runway, potentially a decade away.
Almost 5 million more passengers used Stansted this year than in 2013, when Manchester Airports Group (MAG) bought the hub from Heathrow. [Its numbers of passengers had fallen sharply since 2008 – every year. There were over 23.7 million passengers in 2007, and only almost 20 million in 2014. The number of flights was about 192,000 in 2007 and only about 163,000 in 2014. AW comment]
At that rate of growth, the third-biggest London airport is on course to hit its permitted maximum of 35 million a year in six to seven years, although the airport says it could handle another 7 million with its current infrastructure.
Charlie Cornish, chief executive of MAG, said the increase in numbers showed Stansted had “more potential and will grow quicker than the forecasts in the airports commission report. If we extrapolate, in five years we’ll be pretty close to the planning cap.”
He said the airport’s 11% annual growth was far outstripping Gatwick’s [probably because they lost so many flights and passengers over 6 years, and are only now managing to get back some of that loss, to return to the figures of 2007 ….] and showed the government needed to take the commission’s recommendations seriously, including improving rail links to Stansted and lifting the cap, proposed in its interim report. The government is expected to announce this month its response to the recommendation to expand Heathrow, at a cost of £18bn, potentially by 2026.
Cornish said: “When they consider the Heathrow question, we do want the government to respond to the short-term measures – because there’s going to be no new runway capacity in London for the next 15 years whatever happens.”
The MAG boss said the group would engage with local communities next year to get the planning cap lifted. “It’s really for us to demonstrate the benefits in terms of economic development we bring to the region. Engine technology has changed – there’s probably a lot less noise around Stansted now than there was 10 years ago. But it would be good for the government to indicate its support,” he said.
Sir Howard Davies’ commission said Stansted was a “plausible candidate” for the next runway after Heathrow, [the Commission actually said only one new runway could be added within carbon constraints, and its own figures show UK aviation CO2 emissions would any way breach the emissions limit with NO new runways. Let alone two. AW comment] and Cornish said MAG would soon need to start seriously considering expansion plans, with a completed second runway likely to take two decades to achieve.
“We have to give serious consideration to Stansted’s catchment and the potential in the 10-20 years after that. We are growing rapidly. London is growing east, and the environmental impact at Stansted is significantly less than at Heathrow or Gatwick. In three to five years we have to start seriously considering a second runway,” he said.
The group reported a 16.5% year-on-year leap in operating profits for the first six months of 2015-16, driven mainly by Manchester airport and then Stansted. Record passenger numbers at Manchester pushed up profits to £137m. MAG announced a dividend of £39m, representing a windfall of £25m for the councils around Manchester which collectively own two-thirds of the group.
Stansted owner pushes case for second runway
By Ben Martin (Telegraph)
Expanding the Essex airport will become a priority if it continues to grow at current rates, the boss of Manchester Airports Group said
The case to expand London Stansted has been strengthened after the business behind the Essex airport posted a surge in revenues and profits, according to the company’s chief executive.
A 5.7% rise in passenger numbers across its airports [Manchester, Stansted, East Midlands and Bournemouth] to a record 29.7m helped to send first-half revenues at Manchester Airports Group (MAG) by the same proportion to £445.5m and operating profits 16.5pc higher to £137m. The strongest growth at the company, which also owns Bournemouth and East Midlands airports, was at Stansted, where passengers swelled by 10.6pc to 12.5m in the six months to the end of September.
The debate over how best to avert the impending aviation capacity crisis in the south east has so far centred on the choice between new runways at Heathrow or Gatwick. The Prime Minister is expected to announce within days whether Heathrow is allowed to build a third landing-strip , after the Government-appointed Airports Commission recommended in July that the west London hub should be expanded.
However, Charlie Cornish, the boss of MAG, said that expanding Stansted, including the possibility of a second runway, will also become a more pressing issue if the Essex airport keeps up its current growth rate.
“The Airports Commission did say Stansted could be an option for a second runway around about 2040,” Mr Cornish said. “We think it’s probably 15 to 20 years earlier than that, given our forecasts relative to the Commission’s forecasts.”
A planning cap limits Stansted to 35m passengers a year, which Mr Cornish said would “easily” be reached in the next decade.
If the limit were to be lifted, Stansted could carry up to 45m passengers per annum on a single runway, but further growth would require a second landing strip. The MAG boss conceded that Stansted still needed to make the economic case for another runway first, however.
“Stansted’s got a way to go in terms of demonstrating that it can cater for not just very strong low-cost airlines but equally legacy, full-service carriers,” he said. “Over the next five years we’re expecting to bring a richer mix of airlines.”
The introduction of 31 new routes have driven growth at MAG during the first-half, including flights from Manchester to Boston and Stansted to Los Angeles (Other OTC: ANGC – news) . At Manchester, passengers were up 4.5pc to 13.8m. They were flat at 500,000 at Bournemouth and fell 6.5pc to 2.9m at East Midlands after troubled airline Monarch scrapped its flights from the airport.
Councils to get £25m windfall as Manchester Airport profits soar
By Charlotte Cox (Manchester Evening News)
Manchester Airports Group, which is part-owned by the 10 councils, has announced its financial figures for the six months to September 30 – the highest ever interim pay-out.
Greater Manchester’s 10 town halls will net nearly £25m thanks to Manchester Airport ‘s soaring profits – and the cash will help to ease government cuts and save vital services.
Manchester Airports Group, which is part-owned by the 10 councils, has this morning announced its financial figures for the six months to September 30 – the highest ever interim pay-out.
Revenues rose by nearly six per cent compared to the same six-month period in 2014 – from £421.4m to £445.5m, while underlying pre-tax profits were up 10.7 per cent from 182.9m to 202.5m.
It’s triggered a total £38.6m cash injection to MAG’s shareholders. Of that, Manchester council will get £13.7m while each of the other nine councils will get £1.2m each.
That’s up from £11m for Manchester and £1m each to the other councils in the same six months of 2014 – a 25 per cent increase.
The remainder will go to Industry Funds Management, the Australian investor that bought into the group ahead of its swoop for Stansted Airport.
Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council, said: “We are awaiting the details of our financial settlement from government and will doubtless still have some difficult decisions to make but this will give us slightly more room for manoeuvre and will help protect some of our most vital services.
“It is another testament to the huge importance of the airport as an ongoing asset to the city.”
Ken O’Toole , Manchester Airport managing director, said it had been a positive year for Manchester Airport.
He added: “It was great to be able to announce last month that passenger numbers reached an all-time high.”
He said upcoming flights to destinations including Los Angeles, Boston and Beijing would boost that.
On the dividend, he said: “It is also pleasing to see MAG pay its highest ever interim dividend of £38.6m. Due to our ownership structure, this goes right back into the heart of Greater Manchester and ensures that our local community truly benefits from the success of Manchester Airport.”
He added: “We see ourselves as being at the heart of efforts to rebalance the UK economy through the creation of a Northern Powerhouse and, with spare capacity on our runways, we are well-placed to deliver more growth at a time when others in the south east are heavily congested.”
The results follow a jam-packed year. Flights to Miami started in May, the same month services to LA and Boston were announced.
In June, the planned £1bn terminal regeneration plan was revealed while a visit from Chinese president Xi Jinping heralded a new direct link from Manchester to Beijing , to start next summer.
A ‘China Cluster’ at the £800m Airport City was also announced in October, with passengers reaching a record annual total of 23m in November .
It is the second time MAG, which also runs London Stansted, Bournemouth and East Midlands airports, has paid a dividend at the half-way mark of its financial year.
A total £60m was paid out in July for the previous full 12 months period so the airport could be well on its way to a record pay-out at the end of the full year.
The figures follow the firm’s most successful summer ever – and the busiest month in its 77-year history. At Manchester, the rolling annual passenger total has hit 23m.
Passenger numbers were up 5.7 per cent on the same six months in 2014, from 28.1m to 29.7m across the group’s airports.
At Manchester, that figure rose by 4.5 per cent, from 13.2m to 13.8m.
The boom is partly thanks to a host of new routes, including Manchester’s services to Boston and Los Angeles , as well as last year’s new service to Hong Kong.
Cargo is also strong, up 5.7 per cent across the group.
As the figures were announced today, MAG also revealed its American branch is flourishing. Its first ‘Escape Lounge’ is to open at Minneapolis-St Paul International Airport next week while it has scooped a second contract to build and operate another lounge at Oakland Airport, California.
In 2015, MAG’s airports will contribute £5.6bn in economic activity to the country.
Such success means MAG can continue to invest, with the planned £1bn regeneration of the terminals a key example.
In July, Manchester council used the windfall to off-set cuts – the cash will be used in the same way this time.
Charlie Cornish , MAG chief executive, said: “This has been our busiest summer ever and as we approach the milestone of handling 50m passengers a year, we are responding to changes in the way people want to travel by giving them the opportunity to upgrade their airport experience and begin their journeys in style.
“I was also delighted to welcome The President of China, His Excellency Xi Jinping, to Manchester Airport in October as part of his state Visit to the United Kingdom. “The President and the Prime Minister unveiled a new direct link from Manchester to Beijing, starting in Summer 2016, which will give the 100,000 passengers travelling each year between the two cities the convenience of direct scheduled services.
“The new route demonstrates the key role that the airport plays as a Global Gateway from the North.”
Sir Richard Leese added: “Thanks to the far-sighted decision taken by the council in the 1980s to acquire a large stake in Manchester Airport, the group’s subsequent expansion and ongoing success, we are able to receive this interim dividend which will be used in full to support council services for the city’s people.”
MAG CEO, Charlie Cornish, says Stansted might press for a 2nd runway by the mid-2020s
Stansted aims to submit plans for a new runway some time in the next decade, according to Charlie Cornish, the CEO of parent company Manchester Airports Group. He says the present expansion rates meant that Stansted would apply to the government for the repeal of existing local council limits and then lobby for a 2nd runway to satisfy demand. Stansted hope its projected rate of growth between now and the mid -2020s will see it pass through its local authority-capped capacity of 35 million passengers per year, and hit its physical capacity on one runway of 45 million by 2030. In October 2008, the Government gave approval for Stansted to increase its permitted passenger numbers from 25 to 35 million per year, and a rise in the permitted number of annual flights from 241,000 to 264,000. Mr Cornish wants better rail connections to London and to the other airports. Having fallen for years, ever since the peak at over 23.7 million in 2007, Stansted’s number of passengers is still well down, at 17.8 million in 2013, though the number has risen significantly during 2014.