Manchester Airport set for a strong summer as passenger numbers near pre-pandemic levels and travellers look to far flung destinations

  • 1.7 million passengers travelled through Manchester Airport last month – 500,000 more than February last year and 93% of the total flown in February 2019
  • Emerging trends show more passengers flying to far-flung destinations including Barbados, Istanbul, Sharm-El-Sheikh and Doha than before the pandemic and also that low-cost airlines are proving popular
  • More than 2,000 new members of staff joined the airport in 2022 with more being welcomed this year
  • 96% of passengers queued for under 15 minutes at security with new systems in place to support increases in passenger numbers from April

Manchester Airport is set for a strong summer season, as passenger volumes edge ever closer to pre-covid levels and hundreds of new recruits are welcomed on board to send travellers on their way.

 New data shows the UK’s global gateway in the North welcomed 1.7m passengers during February – which is 93% of the numbers handled in 2019.

 Low-cost carriers had a particularly strong month with 865,000 passengers in February 2023, which is 99% of pre-pandemic levels.

 Meanwhile long-haul markets are also recovering strongly with 320,000 passengers during February, which is 92% of pre-pandemic levels.

 The most popular destination in February was Dubai, with more than 88,000 passengers travelling to the Middle East hub, either to enjoy a mini break there, or to connect onto other far-flung locations like Thailand, Australia and India.

Dublin, Amsterdam, Tenerife and Paris made up the rest of the top five.

Other popular destinations for February half-term breaks included Alicante, Lanzarote and Barcelona in Europe, while in long-haul markets Doha, Abu Dhabi, Orlando and New York also performed strongly.

A number of destinations have seen more passengers so far this year than pre-pandemic including Istanbul, Barbados, Tenerife, Lanzarote, Sharm-El-Sheikh, Doha, Dubai and Geneva - illustrating the pent-up demand for travel.

The statistics come as the airport prepares for the start of its summer season in April. New systems have been put in place this year to ensure queuing times are kept below 15 minutes where possible. In February 96.4% of passengers got through security in 15 minutes or less.

In 2022 Manchester Airport welcomed more than 2,000 new colleagues and more are being recruited this year ahead of the summer.

Manchester Airport Managing Director Chris Woodroofe said:

“It’s fantastic to see so many travellers choosing to fly through Manchester Airport and passenger numbers returning to normal shows how far we’ve come.

“It’s also interesting to see how the landscape has changed with more people looking to travel long-haul than previously. It confirms Manchester Airport’s role as the UK’s global gateway in the North – whether you’re flying to Europe or going further afield.”

 The data published today also shows:

  • Manchester Airports Group (MAG) – made up of Manchester, East Midlands and London Stansted Airports served 3.5million passengers in February, equivalent to 90% of pre-pandemic levels
  • In the last 12 months 53million passengers have flown through MAG airports
  • 24.7million passengers have flown from Manchester Airport in the last 12 months

 Further information:

  • Passenger volumes across Manchester Airports Group (MAG) in February were 90% of those seen pre-pandemic.
  • MAG, which owns and operates Manchester, London Stansted and East Midlands Airports, served 3.5 million passengers in February.
  • Passenger figures were up by 47% on February 2022, when Covid-19 testing requirements began to ease for travellers.
  • Manchester Airport served 1.6 million passengers in February, representing the highest proportion of 2019 traffic across MAG, standing at 93%. London Stansted served 1.7 million passengers across the month - representing 92% of travellers served in 2019. East Midlands Airport’s traffic for the month was 64% of pre-pandemic levels.




London Stansted 

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Rolling 12- month total February ’22  





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London Stansted 

East Midlands 

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