Stansted added more passengers year-on-year at 1.2 million than either Heathrow (900,000) or Gatwick (1 million), parent company Manchester Airports Group disclosed today.
This made Stansted the fastest-growing major airport in the UK as MAG achieved its most successful summer ever.
The Essex airport is now handling 4.8 million more passengers than when MAG acquired the airport in early 2013, an increase of 27.4%.
Stansted still has “significant” spare capacity and is well-placed to meet future growth in London’s aviation demand, prior to any new runway being built, MAG said.
Passengers using the group’s airports rose by 5.7% to a record 29.7 million in the half year to September 30.
Group earnings [EBITDA] was up by 10.7% to £202.5 million driven by increased passenger throughput and 31 new routes.
More passengers are also spending on executive lounges, premium ‘Meet and Greet’ valet parking offers and fast track security clearance.
East Midlands airport was described as performing “slightly ahead of expectations” despite passenger numbers dropping by 0.2 million or 6.5% year-on-year, mainly due to the withdrawal of Monarch flights.
The airport has partially mitigated the impact of the withdrawal through improved load factors to other destinations.
Bournemouth airport’s performance was “in line” with the previous year.
MAG chief executive, Charlie Cornish, said: “The first half of the year has seen sustained growth; outperforming our challenging targets in many areas with record numbers of passengers using our airports.
“Our group operating model continues to deliver benefits and support our airports in competing to attract new passengers and airlines.
“This has been our busiest summer ever and as we approach the milestone of handling 50 million 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. Our offerings in this area are driving strong growth in our retail revenues.
“Our Escape Lounges, in particular, have been a real hit with passengers in the UK, and we are now exporting the concept to the US, with our first lounge opening in Minneapolis-St Paul next week, which we expect will be the first of many across North America.”
He added: “MAG airports continue to be true growth engines for their regions, employing thousands of people and generating significant economic activity in the wider economy.
“They also continue to offer choice and competition for passengers, providing the direct services that passengers want to see from their local airport.
“A network of competing airports across the country provides the best solution for customers and also contributes hugely to the growth of UK PLC.
“At a time when other airports are running out of capacity, our airports provide a solution to the UK’s aviation needs both now and in the future.”
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