Owner of Manchester and Stansted airports, MAG, unsurprisingly wants airport growth outside the south-east

The Manchester Airports Group (MAG) which owns/runs Manchester, Stansted, East Midlands and Bournemouth airports) says a new strategy is needed to promote local airports rather than investing in a megahub in the south-east. MAG wants a nationwide network of competing airports rather than investing all energies — and taxpayer funding — in an even larger airport in the south-east. While Heathrow claims it would provide a significant net benefit to northern England, allegedly “with the creation of up to 26,400 manufacturing jobs”, the Airports Commission’s own figures show negative impacts of a 3rd Heathrow runway on the UK’s regional airports. MAG believes that the expansion of local airports would provide a greater boost to the nation, and provide “an important catalyst for rebalancing UK plc.” So unsurprisingly Heathrow and MAG are both speaking from a position of self interest. While the Airports Commission ended up, misguidedly, just looking at whether they should be a runway at Heathrow or Gatwick, the main question of whether there should be a new runway in the south east at all still needs a convincing answer. MAG believes there is more likelihood of a successful “Northern Powerhouse” if northern airports get successful long haul routes, rather than Heathrow.


Promote airports outside London, says Manchester and Stansted owner, MAG

Manchester Airports Group said passenger numbers were up by 10 per cent last year

By Graeme Paton Transport Correspondent (The Times)

October 7 2015

Extracts below:

A new strategy is needed to promote local airports rather than investing in a megahub in the southeast, Manchester Airports Group  [owns/runs Manchester, Stansted, East Midlands and Bournemouth airports] has claimed.

MAG [2nd largest airport company in the UK] says their successes underlined the importance of creating a nationwide network of competing airports rather than investing all energies — and taxpayer funding — in a hub in the southeast.

Heathrow claims the creation of a third runway would provide a significant net benefit to northern England, with the creation of up to 26,400 manufacturing jobs. But Neil Robinson, the director of corporate social responsibility at MAG, said that the expansion of local airports would provide a greater boost to the nation.

MAG says both business and leisure travellers across the UK want access to their local airport. “Not only does a nationwide network of competing airports provide the best solution for customers, but it also provides an important catalyst for rebalancing UK plc.”

Full Times article at




Don’t forget us in runways debate, says Manchester and Stansted owner

Manchester airport reported traffic growth up 7 per cent last year

By Robert Lea,  Industrial Editor (The Times)
July 23 2015

Britain’s most important airport operator outside Heathrow and Gatwick has urged the government to formulate a 25-year aviation policy on when it expects Stansted to have to a build a new runway.

Manchester Airports Group, which owns London’s fast-growing third airport, also wants decisions about how Manchester could become the hub for the so-called northern powerhouse.

“We have no long-term aviation policy, decisions are made ad hoc,” Charlie Cornish, the chief executive of MAG, said. “Aviation infrastructure is expensive and unless we have a 25-year policy, you are putting too much risk on private sector operators wishing to invest.”

MAG is 35.5%-owned by Manchester city council, with a further 29% in the hands of the nine boroughs that make up Greater Manchester. The other 35.5% is controlled by IFM Investors, an infrastructure investor owned by an Australian pensions fund .

Of MAG’s other airports, East Midlands, Britain’s busiest freight airport after Heathrow.


Full Times article at




In July 2015 MAG said:

“Our airports have a vital role to play in the next ten to 15 years as London expands eastwards, the Northern Powerhouse becomes a reality and runway capacity in the South East becomes even scarcer. Following the Airports Commission’s submission of its Final Report, it is imperative that the focus of Government and other stakeholders is on the practical steps needed to maximise the potential of existing airport capacity in the period before any new runway is completed.

“We continue to request that Government and Network Rail apply greater efforts to improve the rail links into Stansted and Manchester, which together can accommodate an extra 50-60 million passengers a year.”




See earlier:

£1bn Manchester Airport transformation: Super-sized terminal, faster security, more passengers, more routes


BY CHARLOTTE COX (Manchester Evening News)


Airlines and politicians welcome ‘biggest single construction project Greater Manchester has seen’

Manchester Airport is to get a dramatic £1bn transformation, the M.E.N. can reveal – with a super-sized terminal and faster high-tech security lanes.

Said to be the biggest single construction project ever to take place in Greater Manchester, the 10-year scheme will more than double the size of Terminal Two and link it to an improved Terminal Three.

Doubling the number of airport jobs to 40,000 within 30 years and adding 10m annual passengers in just a decade, the move bolsters Manchester’s battle for the government to recognise the true worth of regional airports and underlines Manchester Airport’s place at the heart of George Osborne’s ‘Northern Powerhouse’.

Among a range of high-tech changes will be a scheme to pre-clear American immigration in Manchester..

The project is also aimed at attracting airlines and adding new long-haul routes to Asia and the east and west coasts of America.

Plans are now in the final stages and work is due to start next April, with a goal of Terminal Two completion by 2023.

By 2022, Terminal One, which was built in 1962, will be phased out.

By 2050, its hoped 55m passengers will use the hub every year, more than doubling the current 23m.

Charlie Cornish, chief executive of Manchester Airports Group, said: “Without doubt, with this level of investment Manchester will become one of the most modern and customer focused airports in Europe, demonstrating the importance of Manchester as a global gateway. It demonstrates that it’s more that just being about Heathrow or Gatwick.”

He said HS2 and the east-west rail connections of HS3 were central to the scheme, adding: “We’re setting out how the airport will contribute to the development of a Northern Powerhouse and demonstrating the dynamic, can-do spirit that sums up the region.”

As M.A.G is part-owned by Manchester taxpayers, return from the investment will go directly into services.

Full article at





MAG hopes to invest in airport upgrade to be hub for “Northern Powerhouse”


Manchester Airports Group could raise up to £400 million from the bond market next year as part of a £1 billion upgrade programme for its flagship airport. MAG’s chief financial officer Neil Thompson said that raising finance from bond or debt investors was one option the firm would explore over 12 to 18 months. It is looking to spend £1 billion at Manchester so that it can act as the hub airport for the “Northern Powerhouse” that the Government wants to develop to counter London’s dominance. MAG, which also owns Stansted in Essex, is the largest UK-owned airport operator. Thompson said that it is in talks with Middle Eastern carriers and BA owner IAG about offering long-haul services out of Stansted.
Last week MAG said that pre-tax profits had risen by 11.8 per cent to £90.3million and revenues by 10 per cent to £738.4 million. MAG is deeply opposed to a new runway at Heathrow or Gatwick, and the huge sums of public money needed to be spent on either, for infrastructure.