Records levels of cargo at East Midlands, as operator MAG posts strong results

East Midland Airport’s (EMA) cargo tonnage increased by 9.7 per cent to 358,000 tonnes in the last financial year from 1 April 2017 to 31 March 2018, operator MAG Airport has reported.

MAG released its figures for the year and said the gateway which is the UK’s second busiest for tonnage continues to play a key role in the thriving ‘Midlands Engine’ and is the UK’s busiest airport for ‘pure cargo’ aircraft.

The airport handled £9.935 billion of goods from outside the European Union, up four per cent from the previous 12 months. Freight included airport fashion, Rolls Royce parts, smart phones, pharmaceuticals, production line parts, medical equipment and Formula One team equipment.

Integrators are investing in EMA and DHL is ploughing in £162 million to meet e-commerce demand, UPS is investing £114 million in a facility that will open in late 2019 and FedEx also has a strong presence.

Aviation Minister Baroness Sugg will visit EMA on today to understand more about its potential, and to meet business leaders to discuss how the airport could better serve them with possible new international connections.

She said: “Today’s figures show that East Midlands Airport’s cargo performance continues to go from strength to strength and plays a hugely important role in boosting regional growth and investment.

“Our regional airports support the backbone of our economy – providing skilled local jobs and business export opportunities which open the UK up to the world.

“That’s why the Government will promote sustainable growth through our aviation strategy and has pledged to support all UK airports to make best use of their existing runways, as long as they address crucial economic and environmental planning issues.”

Through East Midlands Airport and its connections to air cargo hubs in Europe and the USA, UK businesses export to 200 different countries around the world. Latin America, Asia, North America and the Middle East are some of the biggest regions for exports.

EMA’s Managing Director, Karen Smart said: “MA’s cargo performance is a real success story, not just for this airport but for the region and the wider UK economy. We are now a major contributor to ensuring that the UK can compete on the global stage and trade all around the world.

“With more demand than ever for next day deliveries, we can only expect further growth especially in the e-commerce market. We need to ensure that we stay ahead of the game by improving our facilities so that more businesses can access international markets through EMA.”

As for MAG’s overall financial results, it reported its seventh consecutive year of growth in adjusted EBITDA (+5.8 per cent to £358.8 million) while revenue was up 10.2 per cent to £818.1 million and result from operations was £206.8 million, up six per cent.

MAG said its three airports (EMA, Manchester Airport and London Stamsted Airport) combined, contributed £7.1 billion in economic activity to the UK economy in FY 2017, an increase of 15 per cent on the previous financial year.

In the last year alone, 5,000 jobs were created at MAG’s airports and in their supply chains, in industries including construction, tourism and transport, and those involved in global import and exports.

MAG chief executive, Charlie Cornish said: “The world class connectivity that our airports are delivering will ensure that MAG continues to play a leading role in powering the UK economy.

“Manchester and London Stansted are the two largest UK airports with significant runway capacity and our investment will allow us to meet continued demand for aviation growth both in and out of the UK.

“The Government’s support for airports looking to make the best use of existing capacity provides a clear framework for growth, and it is critical that it now matches its backing for Heathrow expansion with specific and practical proposals to improve rail access and maximise the potential of airports like Manchester, London Stansted and East Midlands.

“As the UK prepares to leave the EU, we are confident that the UK Government and the EU recognise the importance of providing confidence to passengers and airlines, and we welcome the commitment from both sides to putting in place a framework that will enable air services to continue post Brexit.

“Looking forward, our resilient foundations, healthy financial position and attractiveness of our UK airports will ensure that the business is well-placed to respond to any challenges that may be felt by the UK economy in the future and we continue to take a positive long-term view of our prospects for growth.”