The number of passengers who used East Midlands Airport (EMA) last month was higher than expected and exceeded forecasts by about 20%.
110,435 people flew through the Midlands gateway in February which suggests that demand is building ahead of the busier summer season.
EMA welcomes two-thirds of its total annual passengers between the months of April and October and forecasts suggest that 2.6m passengers will use the airport during its peak season this year. This would equate to about 80% of pre-Covid levels, which would be a welcome boost following two challenging years as a result of the pandemic.
Manchester Airports Group (MAG) which owns and operates EMA, along with Manchester and London Stansted airports served 2.4 million passengers in February which is equivalent to 62% of the traffic seen in the same month in 2019, pre-pandemic.
The figures mean that the recovery of MAG airports exceeded the levels seen in November 2021, when passenger numbers peaked at 58% of 2019 levels. That was before Omicron travel restrictions saw passenger numbers fall back again by around a half.
EMA’s bosses say that current passenger demand is encouraging for the coming summer season.
Clare James, East Midlands Airport’s Managing Director, says: “I’ve now been in post over 20 months and I’m yet to see a properly busy peak summer day because of the impact of the pandemic on international travel.
“I’m very much looking forward to welcoming passengers back this year, many of whom will be taking their first trips overseas since pre-Covid.
“People’s confidence to travel has been growing steadily since many of the restrictions were lifted earlier this year and I’m sure that we will have a summer season more reminiscent of the years prior to Covid.”
More than 50 destinations to choose from this summer
The airlines that serve EMA are flying to some of the most popular holiday hotspots in Europe and North Africa this summer giving customers a good choice of over 50 beach and city break destinations including Bulgaria, the Channel Islands, Egypt, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Poland, Portugal, the Republic of Ireland, Spain (and the Canaries and Balearics), Turkey and the Rep of Ireland.
New to EMA this summer, and a further boost for passenger choice, is Ryanair’s route to Marseille launching on 2 May, while JET2.com is adding Izmir to its list of Turkish destinations from 3 May.
With the recovery of aviation set to continue in earnest ahead of the summer, East Midlands Airport continues to recruit for roles to support its operation and ensure passengers have the best possible experience. The bulk of the vacancies are within the airport’s security and car parking teams though other jobs are available too with the airport’s retail and hospitability providers and airlines and ground handling businesses.
East Midlands Airport’s cargo operation, the largest of its type in the UK, continues to perform strongly too. Figures show that the express freight specialists based at the airport are handling more goods than last year as the ripple effect of the pandemic, combined with global supply challenges continue to be felt. In February there was a volume uplift of 3.6% compared with the same month in 2021. If demand continues, then the financial year will end as the heaviest on record for the airport which is now seen as a critical gateway for global trade.