Passenger numbers soar at Manchester

Manchester Airport soars to 28 million passengers

Manchester Airport is celebrating 28 million passengers passing through its three terminals for the first time in its history.
In its 80th year, the UK’s third largest airport saw more than 2.5 million passengers use the airport in October, an increase of 6% on the same month in 2017.
That brought the rolling annual total to 28,022,344 passengers.
Numbers were bolstered by the October half term, with many families getting away for an Autumn break. And the positive news has continued since the end of the month.
Last week saw the launch of the only direct service in the UK to Mumbai outside of London, as Jet Airways started flights. The five a week service had its inaugural flight on the 5th November and left the Northern hub 96% full.
Ryanair, easyJet and have all added capacity to their winter schedules, which will continue to bolster overall passenger numbers. Plus, the North will soon have a direct route to the heart of Africa as Ethiopian Airlines start flights to Addis Ababa in December.
Last month saw a total of 18,192 aircraft take off and land at the UK’s third busiest airport, an average of 587 flights per day. Almost 11,000 tonnes of cargo were also carried to destinations across the globe last month, the equivalent of 870 London busses.
October also saw the airport celebrate three major milestones on its £1bn transformation programme. Firstly, a topping out ceremony was held to mark the extension to Terminal Two reaching its highest point after just more than a year of construction.
Secondly, a 45m, 85 tonne bridge that will connect the terminal extension with the new multi-storey car park was lifted into place. Finally, the main structural work has also been completed on the car park building and will be fully completed by the middle of next year.
Andrew Cowan, Manchester Airport CEO, said: “Hitting 28 million passengers is another significant milestone for the airport. Our growth means more choice for passengers, more jobs for people across the North and more economic and trade opportunities as we connect Manchester with key global destinations.
“All this is being delivered as we press ahead with the biggest investment in our history, which will not only transform our terminal buildings, but the experience our customers enjoy as they travel through Manchester.
“That’s why it was also great to celebrate three major milestones in October, which brought to life how quickly our airlines and passengers will start to experience the benefits the transformation project will deliver to them.”



A bit of an insight into possible statistics for Summer 2019.....

Potential Air Transport Movements compared with S18: +13.1%
Potential Available Passenger Seats compared with S18: +17.1%

Possible main peak week additional movements:

easyJet: +142
Jet Airways: +10
Jet2: +32
Lauda Motion: +6
Loganair: +4
Qatar Airways: +10
Royal Air Maroc: +4
Ryanair: +205
SAS Scandinavian: +8
Swiss International: +4
Thomas Cook: +62
Tui Airways: +26
Virgin Atlantic: +12
Vueling: +4

Possible main peak week reduced movements:

ASL Airlines France: -22
Eurowings: -24
Flybe: -11
Pegasus Airlines: -8
Saudia: -10
Sun-Air: -4

Please remember that these figures are based on application for slots made by airlines and does not mean that the figures quoted will actually be the final numbers. Things do change.

Final figures will not be available until mid-March 2019.
Thanks, Scottie.

Allow me to add some observations here.

PEGASUS: On the S18 report, PGT held slots for a scheduled service to Istanbul SAW which never operated in reality. So although the ACL report (rightly) shows fewer weekly slots held the airline is likely to fly an identical programme to that of last Summer. ie. one weekly charter. They could, of course, launch an Istanbul schedule eventually - maybe even in 2019. They've been thinking about it for years. Alongside Thai, Pegasus is our outstanding "will they / won't they" airline of the moment.

SAUDIA: As with Pegasus, I believe that SVA held more slots than they used for the S18 season. So that -10 slots per week does not necessarily translate to a reduction in the existing service. That remains to be seen.

ASL FRANCE: This was the programme operated with the based B737-700 on behalf of Olympic Holidays. Their (OH) website currently offers S19 flights to Greece via third party carriers such as EZY/EXS/TCX/TOM. So perhaps they are planning to take allocations on carriers such as these for their own S19 needs? Alternatively, they could contract late for a programme with ASL again, or a previous incumbent such as Enter Air or Germania (Small Planet has gone). As long as the Olympic Holidays tour operation is in good health, they will need S19 seats between MAN and Greece from somewhere. Their passengers haven't disappeared even if ASL as preferred carrier has.

EUROWINGS: Most of their changes have already taken effect. At MAN, they're concentrating everything on the DUS route. They've been facing stiff competition from expansion by RYR and EZY in particular on MAN-Germany routes.

FLYBE: If reductions are limited to just 11 movements per week that would be a brilliant outcome under the circumstances. But likely more changes to come here. Let's hope they end up with a strong backer which is motivated to maintain the MAN programme.

RYANAIR: Can't fault the ambition here ... just stunning. But this is the most 'at risk' expansion of all. The problem is [lack of] T3 capacity. New flights cannot be authorised over and above the operating capacity of that terminal. I'm desperate to see MAG remove the artificial divide between T1/T3 to take the pressure off, but no sign of this happening yet. It requires measures to protect UK Border from the domestic operation in T3. But MAG will have to make the investment eventually based on their plans to link everything airside as part of the TP ambition. I hope they fast-track that particular investment ... can't happen soon enough. However, in the short-term, it is a stretch to imagine that even the most creative solution will see 17 RYR B738's accommodated in T3. Hope I'm wrong, but if not there won't be anything like 205 extra RYR movements per week.

Planned growth by the other based carriers looks far more assured; they don't face the physical restrictions of T3.

EL AL and ETHIOPIAN can be added to Scottie's list. Also welcome increases from AEGEAN and IBERIA EXPRESS. The new slots from ROYAL AIR MAROC may be explained by a change to days of operation, with slots simultaneously held for both 'old' and 'new' days of operation. They've actually been trimming capacity recently so additional frequencies would be a (welcome) surprise.

BA CITYFLYER is another one to watch. It looks like their programme may reduce from that operated in S18, but full details aren't clear yet. At least MAN doesn't appear to have been dropped completely as seems to be the case at BHX and BRS.

The +17.1% increase in seats listed still includes slots for COBALT AIR (ceased trading) and STOBART AIR Southend route (ends January). These must be deducted.

It is quite normal for capacity to reduce sharply from the initial Summer report through to start of season. But +17.1% is a good base figure to start from. It isn't just reductions: operators we don't yet know about can still apply for S19 slots. But if MAN can emerge with a seat capacity increase of 5% or better for the season that will be a decent result from this early projection. Higher than that would be most welcome, of course.

Fuel prices have fallen recently. That will be a big help to airlines going forward (if sustained). But the US-Iran situation needs watching. Meanwhile, there is a risk that recent volatility in the general financial markets could kick the airlines into a more defensive expansion strategy. Hope not.

Enjoy the ride!
A very interesting analysis EGCC_MAN and I appreciate your input.

Yes, I appreciate that it may be slightly unfair to compare one start-of-season with another, but it is a fair place to start - maybe I should try a comparison on numbers between Start of Season S18 and Initial Summer reports? That however is for another night.

Certainly Ryanair is one to watch for. They will no doubt be looking to get the Stobart slots for T3 and maybe any that become available should flybe cut back on services and likewise with BA Cityflyer.

Only time will tell.
Very interesting analysis EGCC.

17% adds over 5m pax so even half that figure once a cu has been made would take Manchester to nearly 33m.

Any thoughts on FLYBE?

A report in yesterday Guardian laid emphasis on feeding Manchester and Heathrow and discarding other routes.

Maybe Manchester would benefit from a transfer of aircraft from Birmingham which was not mentioned in the reports.

This all assumes a deal can be reached.
I'm not sure what flybe routes BHX would lose. For p2p, the Scottish routes to GLA & EDI in theory should be better placed than MAN because of the longer distances when comparing train times, although MAN presumably gets some transfer feed. AMS & PAR from BHX would provide useful feed to KLM and AF. Perhaps some of the German routes would be at risk. And is it not conceivable that VS may see an opportunity to re-introduce TATL from BHX to say MCO and JFK. Possible but not probable perhaps?

There would certainly be potential from MAN but wouldn't that depend on how much priority was given to LHR?

Nevertheless, a VS deal looks a better option for MAN than IAG and far, far preferable to the demise or significant scaling down of flybe.

As for the Ryanair conundrum, as things stand, more based a/c would require greater terminal capacity, extra parking gates and runway slots at the morning peak unless Ryanair were very flexible in terms of spreading their first departure wave. I wonder what their tactics are - have they applied to base 5 more a/c in the hope they may persuade MAN to allow say 2. They could add flights with non-based a/c to a limited degree. The other aspect is if RYR have got equipment to place, where would they locate them if MAN cannot allow an increase from the current 12 based. I'm sure LPL, BHX, EMA and LBA are keen for a larger slice of the Ryanair pie.
Whenever we talk of Ryanair increasing non-based ops, I wonder if we could talk of the prospects of them doing stuff like:


i.e. the overseas aircraft is technically the home of the based aircraft, but it should be considered one of MAN's? The advantage being it arrives post 1st wave and heads back home before all the "proper" based aircraft arrive back for the night.

The VS/BE issue at LHR will always be slots - it depends how much KLM and Air France are willing to sacrifice getting London passengers routing through AMS/CDG respectively against the potential gains of UK domestic feed for VS at LHR by transferring slots across.
Re Ryanair expansion.
Good point David, although I suspect there are other peak periods at T3 during the day to take into account depending on the timing of the arrival waves of Ryanair based a/c and indeed flybe flights. The reports that ACL produce would give a good picture of T3 traffic flows for various time periods.
When the first pier of the TP opens next year, will any airlines from T3 move across to T2 that could allow Ryanair to expand?
Only Brussels Airline are moving from T3 to T2 and have a night stopper. Eurowings are also moving but they are currently in T1.
KLM have a night stopper in T3 but no indication they are leaving T3.
I must be going even more senile than I thought. I was under the impression it was T1, but decided I ought to check on a web site.
Saw Brussels Airlines but must have read off T3 against British Airways immediately above it. Perhaps it's just an optician I need to see.

So, Coathanger 16, the moves to T2 we know about will not create any more space at T3 next summer for Ryanair expansion. Jet2 are also transferring more flights to T2 from T1 which enables the easyjet expansion at the latter.

As EGCC_MAN mentioned earlier, unless MAN invest in T3 or could effectively combine T1 & T3 (and even then capacity at T1 might be constrained unless there were further transfers to T2), or MAN/Ryanair could could come up with a creative solution, perhaps along the lines David suggested, it's difficult to see how significant expansion can be achieved. Of course, if the flybe financial situation led to a downsizing of their MAN operation from what I believe is 7 based a/c currently, that would free up some space in T3, but that's not a desired outcome. Also, at present, flybe also has a very significant first arrivals wave from other bases normally between 07.30 and 08.00 which could have an impact if Ryanair were prepared to have later departure slots for their first wave or wanted to get more early arrivals into MAN from other bases.

A difficult problem for MAN, who would presumably not want to see potential RYR growth go to competitor airports.
At present Summer 2019 planned movements are at +18.8% and available seats sit at +23.5% compared with S18 season actual.
A quiet(ish) evening and so I thought I would produce some reports for the period Nov 2017-Oct 2018, broken down by area.

The first report covers Africa, Middle East (excluding Israel), Indian Subcontinent, Asia and the Far East. A number of of destinations are showing no passengers but are included as there have been visited since my records started in 2005.

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