Manchester Airport Group Towards newer horizons
New routes and increased consumer confidence have helped the Manchester airport group deliver an impressive report card for the full year ending March 2014.
Offering some of the best freight facilities in the United Kingdom, airports under the Manchester Airport Group (MAG) umbrella serve different regions and catchment areas covering the majority of the UK population. While Stansted presents a number of opportunities for London and the East of England market, East Midlands is already a large freight hub for the whole of the UK. The group also owns Bournemouth in addition to Manchester Airport, which is the busiest airport outside the London region. The group delivered a stellar performance for the full year ending March 2014. Major contributing factors for this strong report card were terminal transformation projects at London Stansted and East Midlands, while Manchester’s passenger growth helped it retain the third largest position of UK airports. There are a number of regions that the airport group is still looking to serve. Talking about the airport group’s key network developments, Graeme Ferguson, commercial director - cargo for MAG said, “There have been significant announcements such as the first direct link between Manchester and China with Cathay Pacific to Hong Kong, which will commence in December 2014. Emerging economies are certainly of interest and at Manchester, we have a new direct China route opening in December with Cathay Pacific to Hong Kong and we will be the only airport outside of London to offer anon-stop scheduled service to China. We’re very keen to serve more routes to the Far East and also have a service to Singapore.” The Far East and Asia remain key targets so do destinations on the West and East Coast of America. For now, the airport group already serves many major American cities such as New York, Washington DC, Chicago, Philadelphia amongst others. “While there has also been an extension of European and short-haul connectivity with important route announcements from the likes of Ryanair, EasyJet, Thomson Airways, Thomas Cook and Monarch across our airports, passenger performance is positive and continuing to rise,” he said. Graeme considers customer experience a priority for the business for passengers who use their airports and the partners and customers who are based on site. “We have a strong track record of investing in our sites and airfield, with a new control tower opened at Manchester last year and major terminal transformations costing £80m at Stansted and £12m at East Midlands, underway,” he added. With a number of major projects due to get underway across the group, MAG wanted to have a group of partners capable of delivering high-quality engineering and construction work to develop the business. In 2013, Galliford Try, Carillion and BAM Construction were selected as preferred bidders for MAG’s capital delivery framework, potentially worth up to £500 million in value over the next five years. While the Airport City development at Manchester is a major addition to the logistics sector for companies looking to access the North of England, the airports have the capacity and ability to support growth and the group continues to engage with customers about their needs and how i t could support them from its airport sites. The joint venture partnership of MAG, Beijing Construction and Engineering Group (BCEG), Carillion and Greater Manchester Pension Fund is operational. Argent are leading as the developer. “It’s already a well developed concept and we are moving into the delivery phase. Infrastructure works are in full flow and the first tenant, DHL, should be on site at Airport City South shortly,” said Graeme of the Airport City. It’s a 15 year development but Airport City will be transformational to Manchester, for both the airport and the region. It builds on the international gateway and growth provided by the airport but we are creating an international business destination – a highly connected space around a regional and international transport hub. This is a key element to the city region’s ambition to be a world class global player. “Airport City will be a long term project and a lot of our focus will be on ensuring to attract the biggest and best to the North of England. It’s a large infrastructure project on two sites to the North and South of the existing airport site and with the economy returning to growth, our focus remains on realising the opportunity and ensuring its success,” said Graeme. “We need infrastructure to meet the demands of the business and the growth we’re looking to foster on our sites. We want customers and passengers to choose our airports over others and we want to make sure we’re investing in the right areas to generate that growth,” he added.