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Stansted Airport bosses anticipate strong recovery after Omicron restrictions saw December passenger numbers fall back

Business / Mon 17th Jan 2022 pm31 03:37pm

MANCHESTER Airports Group (MAG) today said it is confident of a strong recovery in 2022 after Omicron restrictions on travel were removed last week.

Before temporary restrictions were introduced in November and December, MAG airports were seeing a stronger recovery than other UK airports.

According to data from November, the Group was serving around 60% of pre-pandemic traffic, with London Stansted recovering at the fastest rate overall.

However, figures for December released today showed that overall traffic was down by 54.8% compared to the same month in 2019, as a result of testing requirements put in place in response to the Omicron variant. 

This meant traffic fell by around 30% month-on-month due to the increased cost and uncertainty created by the restrictions.

Despite this, the Group – which owns Manchester, London Stansted and East Midlands airports – has seen bookings surge in the days following the news that pre-departure and Day 2 PCR testing would be removed. 

The airport operator is now looking towards the year ahead and is confident that recovery will continue on a positive trajectory.

It is expecting to see traffic much closer to pre-pandemic levels by the end of the summer season.

In December, passenger volumes at Manchester and London Stansted airports were down 53.8% and 54.9% on 2019 levels respectively, with East Midlands airport’s numbers down 63.0%.

MAG’s rolling 12-month total passenger numbers show that, while the Group served 9.1% fewer passenger in 2021 compared to 2020, the three airports saw a much stronger recovery in recent months compared to the same period a year earlier.

For example, MAG served 51% of pre-pandemic traffic in October 2021 compared to just 16% in October 2020.

As this renewed recovery takes off, the Group is recruiting for hundreds of new roles across its airports, which will support the increase in passengers MAG expects to see over the coming months.

The Group will be hosting a series of virtual jobs fairs later this month to promote the jobs available at each of its airports.

Prospective applicants can also find out more about the vacancies available through MAG’s careers website MAG Careers (magairports.com),or via each airport’s social media channels. 

MAG CEO Charlie Cornish said:

Now that Omicron testing requirements have been removed, people are clearly excited about where they can travel this year.

“We are confident that the recovery will be strong as we head towards to the summer, and the sharp increase in bookings in recent days is hugely encouraging.

“It is clear that the temporary reintroduction of travel restrictions impacted passenger confidence during December, which came after we had seen a strong revival of passenger volumes up to November.

“We will continue to work closely with the Government on a plan for the full removal of all remaining restrictions and hope to see that set out by the end of the month. 

“As we prepare our airports for the increased demand we expect to see, we’re delighted to be creating thousands of jobs right across MAG, to suit a range of experience and skills, which will all play a part in ensuring our passengers have the best possible experience as we get back to travel.”

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