The operator of Manchester, Stansted and East Midlands airports has reported breaking the 60 million-passenger mark for the first time thanks to the Essex airport.
MAG (Manchester Airports Group) has reported a 1.1% fall in passenger numbers in Septmebr to 2.84 million at its Manchester facility while the East Midlands was down 0.4% to 551,999 in the same month.
However, a 9.2% increase in passenger numbers to 2.68 million at Stansted has meant the group handled 60.17 million passengers in the rolling 12 months and set the new record.
The Stansted growth was driven by new routes to Dubai with Emirates and to Reykjavik with WOW Air, while strong late summer bookings to Alicante, Faro, Lanzarote and Paphos also gave a boost.
Further growth is expected next month at the airport as a new service to St Petersburg with Pobeda Airlines commences.
MAG chief strategy officer Tim Hawkins said: “MAG’s continued growth demonstrates the key role that our airports will play in the next 10-15 years in meeting demand for air travel to and from the UK.
"In order to forge links with new markets once the UK has left the EU, new long haul links will be of paramount importance right across the country.
The government’s forthcoming aviation strategy needs to focus on the role that airports right across the UK can play in promoting trade links to new territories and new economies.
“We’ve seen the transformative effect that new routes to China from Manchester have had for the northern economy over the last three years, and the new Stansted to Dubai service is already proving extremely popular with businesses in the east of England."