MAG, which also owns Stansted and East Midlands airports, made the plea for better airport links as the company released its financial results for the six months to September 30.
Andrew Cowan, chief executive of Manchester airport, said: “We continue to make the case for the government’s forthcoming aviation strategy to focus on connecting passengers to the airports up and down the country quicker and more easily.
“Northern Powerhouse Rail is key for Manchester airport and will not just bring the cities of the north closer together, it will also join them all, via the airport, to a range of global cities unrivalled in the north.”
On the impact of Brexit, MAG said it welcomed the UK government and EU’s “clear and positive commitment to allowing airlines continued access between the UK and the EU” even if there is a no-deal Brexit from March 29, 2019, as well as last week’s aviation deal between the UK and the US.
MAG’s chief executive Charlie Cornish added that new routes from Manchester to Mumbai and Addis Ababa were the “kind of links that will form the backbone of the country’s new trading links when Britain leaves the European Union next year”.
“At MAG we stand ready to connect all parts of the UK to key long-haul markets,” said Cornish. “At East Midlands airport, we now facilitate more than £10 billion worth of non-EU trade each year.
“As the UK prepares to leave the European Union, we have always been clear that the best result for the aviation industry would be a deal which preserves the liberal flying freedoms and competitive approach to the aviation market that have driven so much important connectivity and economic growth across the continent over the last couple of decades.”
MAG’s overall passenger numbers rose by 3.8% to 35.7 million for the six-month period which was fuelled by an 8.9% increase in passengers at Stansted to 15.9 million.
Meanwhile traffic at Manchester was flat year-on-year at 16.6 million due to the loss of Monarch, which had been the airport’s seventh largest carrier.
MAG said it had successfully “backfilled” Monarch’s lost capacity as Jet2.com, easyJet and Ryanair all added capacity and frequency at Manchester.
The group’s overall revenue was up by 3.8% to £508.5 million for the six months while operating profit rose by 3.2% to £164.9 million.