Traffic statistics

11 September 2017

More passengers fly from MAG airports in August than live in Rio de Janeiro


  • Airlines fill new capacity out of MAG airports in August
  • Growth driven by airlines putting on more seats to core Spanish and Greek destinations, as well as long haul trips to the Middle East, North America and the Caribbean
  • MAG airports ready to play an ever more important role as Heathrow and Gatwick reach capacity




London Stansted

East Midlands



Rolling 12 month total






August 2017 total






August 2017

% change

year on year









London Stansted

East Midlands

August 2017 tonnes




% change

year on year





MAG airports saw continued growth in their busiest month of the year, as together they served 6.6 million people in August. The record figures mean that more passengers used Manchester, London Stansted, East Midlands and Bournemouth airports in August than live in Rio De Janeiro –more than the populations of Manchester, Birmingham, Liverpool, Leeds and Sheffield combined.

The growth is being driven by airlines putting on more seats to more destinations for August holiday makers than ever before, with core Spanish and Greek destinations augmented by additional capacity to the Middle East, North America and the Caribbean, as well as increasingly popular alternative short haul destinations such as Croatia and Bulgaria. .

Manchester Airport, the only airport in the UK with two runways apart from London Heathrow, grew 8% year on year to handle 3.2 million passengers in August. The airport achieved this figure as it commenced work on its £1bn transformation project which will, over the next 10 years, reconfigure the terminals and boost the passenger experience for everyone using Manchester Airport. Recently the airport opened a new airside lounge facility in Terminal 2 which will allow it to start demolishing the west end of that Terminal, as part of the first phase of works in a project which is designed to minimize passenger disruption.

London Stansted Airport had its busiest ever summer, welcoming 2.7 million passengers to the airport during August, up 10% over the same month in 2016. The airport’s summer season was boosted by new holiday flights from, more passengers than ever using Ryanair, and long haul holiday opportunities to destinations like Cancun, Orlando and Las Vegas with Thomson and Thomas Cook. Stansted, like Manchester, is transforming its terminal, and is about to begin the first stage of works to transform the current terminal building into a dedicated departures building, in advance of a new arrivals building being built next door. It has also recently confirmed its intention to apply to lift its current ‘passenger cap’ from 35 million passengers per year to 44 million, allowing airlines to plan their future growth at London’s third airport.

Tim Hawkins, Corporate Affairs Director at MAG, said: “As Heathrow and Gatwick fill up, Manchester and Stansted still have substantial capacity for growth. MAG is investing in new facilities and infrastructure so that its airports can play an even bigger role over the next 10 to 15 years before a new runway is built in the South East.

“The figures for August demonstrate that demand for flying to a wider range of global destinations has never been greater and MAG airports will play a critical role in this. It’s now critical that Government focuses on developing an aviation strategy for the next 10-15 years that helps airports like ours create a prosperous and outward facing Britain.”

MAG’s airports also boosted the role they play in international trade with Manchester’s cargo tonnage growing 22% year on year owing to an expanding long haul network. East Midlands, the UK’s most important airport for cargo planes, was up 11% to handle over 29,000 tonnes of cargo in August and London Stansted increased by 1%.