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Stansted: Airport group MAG celebrates first anniversary of £1.5bn acquisition

06:00 28 February 2014

Manchester Airports Group (MAG) is today celebrating the first anniversary of its £1.5billion acquisition of Stansted Airport.

MAG says that, in the first 12 months of new ownership, Stansted has notched up a number of notable achievements, including a return to passenger growth for the first time since 2007 and the launch of a £260million investment programme to improve the “passenger experience”.

The airport has also agreed new long-term growth deals with Ryanair, easyJet and Thomas Cook and attracted a number of new airlines, including Air Moldova, Atlantic Airways, Loganair, Aegean, Transaero.

Other achievements cited by MAG include securing CAA agreement to free Stansted from economic regulation and gaining support from the business sector for direct long-haul services.

Andrew Harrison, Stansted Airport’s managing director, said: “This has been a fantastically exciting and fast moving year at Stansted when you consider what we’ve achieved in just 12 months. It’s been challenging at times but we all should be proud of what we have done in a short space of time.

“In MAG ownership we’ve launched a £260m investment programme which includes an £80m terminal transformation project to improve the passenger experience.

“We have signed long-term deals with airlines that will add an extra 11 million passengers over the next decade and our regulator has agreed to free us from price controls so we can get on with building long-term commercial partnerships with airlines – something that will be great for passengers.

“To top it all off, we have started to see positive results with passenger numbers on the increase for the first time since 2007.”

He added: “In the midst of these achievements, I’ve been continually impressed by the dedication and commitment of our people, the level of support from on-airport partners and the business community, and above all the enthusiasm for change at Stansted.

“In particular, we’ve been really encouraged by the support from businesses across the East of England and London for our campaign to attract long haul carriers to Stansted.

“Stansted has a very bright future and great potential and we will build on the success of the first year. Securing new long-haul and full service airlines is vitally important, as is the case for investment to improve rail links that will underpin our drive for growth by bringing Stansted closer to London. The airport can then play its full part in meeting demand for air travel over the next 10 to 15 years.”

Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary, a critic of former Stansted owner BAA’s record at the airport, said: “As Stansted’s biggest airline, Ryanair is pleased to be starting 13 new Europe routes from Stansted this summer to Athens, Basel, Bordeaux, Brive, Bucharest, Comiso, Dortmund, Lisbon, Osijek, Podgorica, Prague, Rabat and Skelleftea, as well as increased frequencies on 26 existing routes, following the agreement of a 10-year growth deal with Stansted’s new owners MAG.

“In 2014, we will deliver over 1,300,000 additional passengers, which will sustain over 1,300* new “on-site” jobs at Stansted Airport. Ryanair looks forward to further traffic, route and job growth at Stansted in the years to come.”

Hugh Aitken, easyJet’s UK Commercial Manager, added: “We’d like to wish MAG a happy anniversary and congratulate them on a successful first year at Stansted Airport.

“easyJet flies just under 3million passengers to and from the airport each year and we fully support the initiatives that are being put in place to deliver real improvements for our passengers. We look forward to working with the Stansted team in the year to come and beyond.”

Denise Rossiter, chief executive of Essex Chambers of Commerce, said: “We were delighted when MAG became owners of Stansted and have seen real enthusiasm for its future from Andrew Harrison and his team at the airport.

“Stansted already makes a significant contribution to the economy of not just Essex but the East of England generally and the UK itself and we believe that it has the capacity to contribute even more in the future bringing further benefits to businesses in Essex and beyond.

“We look forward to strengthening our relationships with MAG and working with them to help Stansted achieve even greater success in the future with new airlines, new routes and becoming a truly global gateway into Essex.”

John Dugmore, chief executive of Suffolk Chamber, added: “Stansted Airport plays a key economic role not only in the East of England but for the whole of UK plc. Over the last 12 months we have seen a real commitment by MAG to not only engage with business but to work in partnership with firms to ensure Stansted plays a real integral role in the infrastructure investment in our region.”

Sir Alan Haselhurst MP, whose Saffron Walden constituency includes Stansted, said: “I am pleased to acknowledge MAG’s first year in charge at Stansted. Already it is clear that improvements are being made to enhance passenger experience in the Terminal. MAG is happily a more responsive owner than its predecessor.”

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