Manchester Airports Group has revealed a £300 million fundraising from shareholders in response to the Covid-19 travel downturn.

The airports group also expects to cut expenditure by more than £380 million over two years as part of a series of financial measures to combat the crisis.

The firm “is strategically intent” on the disposal of non-core properties as part of a focus on its core airport business during the next 12 months.

January to March passenger numbers across its three airports fell by 21.3% year-on-year to 9.6 million, a period which saw the grounding of the majority of airline fleets from around the middle of March.

Passenger volumes in March were 56.5% lower than the same month last year.

Passenger numbers in April to December 2019 were 0.8% higher across the group than the previous year at 50 million.

“This represents a strong performance despite relatively slow economic growth and the collapse of Thomas Cook Airlines in September 2019,” the company said while revealing annual results for the 12 months to March 31.

Pre-tax profits fell by 31% to £165.4 million as total passenger throughput fell by 3.6% to 59.6 million.

The company said: ”Significant investment has been completed in the last three years and MAG’s modern infrastructure will be an important component of a strong recovery.

“Following the outbreak of Covid-19, MAG has reduced and refocussed expenditure on its capital projects, given the reduction in passenger demand.

“The main phase of MAG’s main capital project, MANTP [Manchester Airport Transformation Programme], is near completion and will be completed this year.”

Howver, a third phase “will be revisited post-recovery”.

The airports operator added: “Manchester airport’s modern facilities will continue to be the international gateway for the north, providing passenger and airline facilities for the future, and supporting commercial yields and operating efficiencies.

“At Stansted airport, the transformation programme delivered new check in desks and a new multi-storey car park, providing an enhanced experience for passengers.

“At East Midlands airport work is in the final phase on doubling the size of the immigration hall.

“The expanded facility will be open in Summer 2020 improving the arrivals experience and future-proofing the terminal for future growth.”

The group said it has put in place “a strong financial response incorporating significant cash mitigation measures across capital expenditure and costs, together with equity support from its shareholders”.

MAG added: “Banks and bondholders have strongly endorsed the response agreeing to waive financial covenant tests at September 2020 and March 2021.”

MAG “faces into the Covid-19 crisis in a position of strength, financially and in terms of the fundamentals of its business, its well invested infrastructure and its people.

“In line with our expectations, key airline partners have resumed flying during July with plans announced to steadily increase capacity over the coming months.”