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Old 27th Jan 2023, 11:34
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Airports knuckle slapped by competition regulators

Reuters have reported that airport operators have had their knuckles slapped for breaching competition and Data protection act
The Competition and Markets Authority and CAA apparently sent a letter to the operators telling them to review their practices and that they and their employees must comply with the competition laws
No individual operators were named however directly
Given MAG are the largest operator of multiple facilities each sort of dedicated and numerous comments here and elsewhere let’s see if this relates to cross selling - Switch selling of freight and flexible fares business is the real reason
Perhaps an airline has snitched !
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Old 28th Jan 2023, 17:57
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Is it true that T1 will be demolished when the building work is complete? And if so, what is planned for the land currently occupied by T1?
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Old 12th Feb 2023, 14:06
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I'm starting to fear that S23 will be 'just OK' versus S22 rather than stellar. The programmes of the four main short-haul based carriers will be crucial. We need healthy growth from Ryanair, EasyJet, Jet2 and TUI. On long-haul, we already know that Virgin is a huge disappointment. Aer Lingus UK will upgauge one of the two based aircraft giving a respectable capacity increase. There is only one new name expected for S23 - a modest programme to Turkey by Southwind Airlines (if it goes ahead). And set against that, we've already lost one carrier in the form of FlyBe 2.0.

EasyJet has confirmed an extra based aircraft, taking their total to 21. And I believe that they will all be A320/A20N - no smaller A319's - so they're doing their bit. Jet2 and TUI are both mature operations focusing on leisure routes. I expect them to offer broadly similar programmes to S22. That's good, because they're both big players at MAN, but I don't anticipate substantial growth from them - especially if we're in a recessionary environment. What Ryanair do will be crucial. The most recent ACL report suggested a sixteenth based aircraft (+1) and a substantial increase in programmed flights. But the concern is that the programme on sale so far doesn't tally with that scale of growth, and whilst several other airports (including near neighbours) have seen press releases announcing additional based aircraft, MAN has not. One of my analyst friends [credit: MANFOD] even suggests that the MAN programme currently on sale looks like a reduction from S22. Hope not - but we need a positive announcement from Ryanair VERY SOON. If Ryanair don't grow their Summer programme from MAN, we must expect overall growth to flatline - at a level way below 2019 figures.

Post-covid air travel resumed in earnest in March 2022. Once the February stats are in (should be massively up) we start to see year-on-year comparisons where the difference will be much more marginal. S22 saw a huge wave of travel voucher redemptions as customers finally made long-postponed trips. That has largely worked through the market now. The success of S23 relies on totally new bookings coming in during a period of elevated economic stress.

Taking a broad overview, Southwind Airlines is (potentially) a new but low frequency addition. But more than offsetting that, it looks like Corendon Airlines will operate a smaller programme than last year. There are NO other new names expected at this stage. MAN's scheduled programme to the US is in the pits - covid aside, bumping along at a level not seen here in 20 years. Every Virgin announcement seems to be another cutback, US carriers are focusing on cities favoured by US-domiciled tourists (ie. not MAN). The only modest increase is the Aer Lingus UK upgauge of one based aircraft. SIA frequency to Houston is reduced. TUI serves Florida as before. Capacity to the Caribbean has not been backfilled from the Thomas Cook days, and US-instigated restrictions hitting travel to Cuba have hurt MAN as well. We do have operations to the Caribbean and Mexico, but not on the scale of S19. There is still nothing to Western Canada; Eastern Canada has crept back thanks to Air Transat. Air Canada has once again opted for a minimalist peak-Summer operation only - very underwhelming commitment as usual from them.

Traffic through the Gulf region has been a highlight. The third daily Emirates A380 will boost the stats as it works through the calendar; Qatar Airways looks back to full strength too. Etihad remains once daily; no sign of the second daily being restored. Welcome contributions from Saudia, Kuwait Airways, Gulf Air too. Add to these increased capacity through the twin Istanbul hubs of THY and Pegasus. BUT, BUT ... we mustn't overlook the elephant in the room here. All those passengers who used to board around ten high-density B777's per week to Pakistan have had to be absorbed onto those aforementioned carriers. So whilst the capacity on those Gulf routes is back, the composition of seat sales has changed. There is less capacity available for destinations in SE Asia and Australasia. And don't forget we also had Oman Air pre-covid. No sign of them resuming. Jet Airways was never backfilled; traffic to India must use one-stop options over the UAE or Istanbul as well. Thank goodness for Bangladesh Biman!

Direct services to the Far East are weak. Singapore Airlines is the bright-spot, hopefully thriving and increasing capacity to Singapore (but reducing frequency to Houston). Cathay has been throttled by covid rules only very recently lifted. Hopefully bookings can now come back in volume for them. Hainan - whilst welcome - is a token low-frequency operation, a shadow of its heyday. Rumoured new names such as Thai International and Juneyao won't be seen at MAN in S23.

Ethiopian to Addis via Geneva is a rare gem in MAN's African network. Carriers formerly seen on MAN schedules including EgyptAir, RAM, Air Arabia Maroc and Nouvelair Tunisie should be wooed again by MAG. Likewise El Al to Tel Aviv. EasyJet is doing fantastic business on that route ... just what do El Al need to see before they resume?

Meanwhile, the Baltics and Eastern Europe are overshadowed by the proximity of total war. The tragedy playing out there pushes all aviation concerns discussed here into complete insignificance, but this is the airport forum and we must stick to topic. There is no prospect of services to Moscow or Minsk in the foreseeable, and a resumption of Kyiv (and formerly announced Odesa) services is not feasible.

So I am cautious re S23. Strong points are UAE / Arabian Gulf, Türkiye, Spain. Weak points are USA, Caribbean, Western Canada, Baltics / Ukraine, SE Asia (except Singapore), non-stop Pakistan and India. Also domestic UK, though this is a multi-layered story. Northern Ireland, IOM, Channel Islands, Newquay all look strong. Services to London and (mainstream affordable) Southampton are capacity-starved. Edinburgh, Glasgow, Exeter, Norwich and Southend are amongst recent destinations no longer served from MAN. EasyJet has dropped their two Scottish routes to Aberdeen and Inverness, Loganair continues on these. Scottie Dog's stats show domestic pax down 43.3% year-on-year ... the loss of FlyBe and the reallocation of BA's LHR slots to other routes ex-London account for most of that pain. Though MAN's terrible on the ground offer for domestic - international interline doesn't help one bit. Getting domestic carriers transferred into T2 with state-of-the-art supporting transfer facilities should be an absolute top priority in my view. We need to scrape afew more fossils off Mr Cornish's wallet before its too late to recover this business.

The next ACL update for S23 is expected soon. The first thing I'll be looking at is the Ryanair programme. If it shows a reduction (catastrophe), watch out below. If it's a modest increase, pax totals for MAN as a whole should see cautious progress. Substantial Ryanair increase ... we can dream! But if you're holding out for a boom year, your expectations may need to be scaled back.
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Old 12th Feb 2023, 15:36
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After the issues last summer, maybe a period of consolidation isn't a bad thing.
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Old 12th Feb 2023, 15:57
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Originally Posted by OzzyOzBorn
I'm starting to fear that S23 will be 'just OK' versus S22 rather than stellar. The programmes of the four main short-haul based carriers will be crucial. We need healthy growth from Ryanair, EasyJet, Jet2 and TUI. On long-haul, we already know that Virgin is a huge disappointment. Aer Lingus UK will upgauge one of the two based aircraft giving a respectable capacity increase. There is only one new name expected for S23 - a modest programme to Turkey by Southwind Airlines (if it goes ahead). And set against that, we've already lost one carrier in the form of FlyBe 2.0.

EasyJet has confirmed an extra based aircraft, taking their total to 21. And I believe that they will all be A320/A20N - no smaller A319's - so they're doing their bit. Jet2 and TUI are both mature operations focusing on leisure routes. I expect them to offer broadly similar programmes to S22. That's good, because they're both big players at MAN, but I don't anticipate substantial growth from them - especially if we're in a recessionary environment. What Ryanair do will be crucial. The most recent ACL report suggested a sixteenth based aircraft (+1) and a substantial increase in programmed flights. But the concern is that the programme on sale so far doesn't tally with that scale of growth, and whilst several other airports (including near neighbours) have seen press releases announcing additional based aircraft, MAN has not. One of my analyst friends [credit: MANFOD] even suggests that the MAN programme currently on sale looks like a reduction from S22. Hope not - but we need a positive announcement from Ryanair VERY SOON. If Ryanair don't grow their Summer programme from MAN, we must expect overall growth to flatline - at a level way below 2019 figures.

Post-covid air travel resumed in earnest in March 2022. Once the February stats are in (should be massively up) we start to see year-on-year comparisons where the difference will be much more marginal. S22 saw a huge wave of travel voucher redemptions as customers finally made long-postponed trips. That has largely worked through the market now. The success of S23 relies on totally new bookings coming in during a period of elevated economic stress.

Taking a broad overview, Southwind Airlines is (potentially) a new but low frequency addition. But more than offsetting that, it looks like Corendon Airlines will operate a smaller programme than last year. There are NO other new names expected at this stage. MAN's scheduled programme to the US is in the pits - covid aside, bumping along at a level not seen here in 20 years. Every Virgin announcement seems to be another cutback, US carriers are focusing on cities favoured by US-domiciled tourists (ie. not MAN). The only modest increase is the Aer Lingus UK upgauge of one based aircraft. SIA frequency to Houston is reduced. TUI serves Florida as before. Capacity to the Caribbean has not been backfilled from the Thomas Cook days, and US-instigated restrictions hitting travel to Cuba have hurt MAN as well. We do have operations to the Caribbean and Mexico, but not on the scale of S19. There is still nothing to Western Canada; Eastern Canada has crept back thanks to Air Transat. Air Canada has once again opted for a minimalist peak-Summer operation only - very underwhelming commitment as usual from them.

Traffic through the Gulf region has been a highlight. The third daily Emirates A380 will boost the stats as it works through the calendar; Qatar Airways looks back to full strength too. Etihad remains once daily; no sign of the second daily being restored. Welcome contributions from Saudia, Kuwait Airways, Gulf Air too. Add to these increased capacity through the twin Istanbul hubs of THY and Pegasus. BUT, BUT ... we mustn't overlook the elephant in the room here. All those passengers who used to board around ten high-density B777's per week to Pakistan have had to be absorbed onto those aforementioned carriers. So whilst the capacity on those Gulf routes is back, the composition of seat sales has changed. There is less capacity available for destinations in SE Asia and Australasia. And don't forget we also had Oman Air pre-covid. No sign of them resuming. Jet Airways was never backfilled; traffic to India must use one-stop options over the UAE or Istanbul as well. Thank goodness for Bangladesh Biman!

Direct services to the Far East are weak. Singapore Airlines is the bright-spot, hopefully thriving and increasing capacity to Singapore (but reducing frequency to Houston). Cathay has been throttled by covid rules only very recently lifted. Hopefully bookings can now come back in volume for them. Hainan - whilst welcome - is a token low-frequency operation, a shadow of its heyday. Rumoured new names such as Thai International and Juneyao won't be seen at MAN in S23.

Ethiopian to Addis via Geneva is a rare gem in MAN's African network. Carriers formerly seen on MAN schedules including EgyptAir, RAM, Air Arabia Maroc and Nouvelair Tunisie should be wooed again by MAG. Likewise El Al to Tel Aviv. EasyJet is doing fantastic business on that route ... just what do El Al need to see before they resume?

Meanwhile, the Baltics and Eastern Europe are overshadowed by the proximity of total war. The tragedy playing out there pushes all aviation concerns discussed here into complete insignificance, but this is the airport forum and we must stick to topic. There is no prospect of services to Moscow or Minsk in the foreseeable, and a resumption of Kyiv (and formerly announced Odesa) services is not feasible.

So I am cautious re S23. Strong points are UAE / Arabian Gulf, Türkiye, Spain. Weak points are USA, Caribbean, Western Canada, Baltics / Ukraine, SE Asia (except Singapore), non-stop Pakistan and India. Also domestic UK, though this is a multi-layered story. Northern Ireland, IOM, Channel Islands, Newquay all look strong. Services to London and (mainstream affordable) Southampton are capacity-starved. Edinburgh, Glasgow, Exeter, Norwich and Southend are amongst recent destinations no longer served from MAN. EasyJet has dropped their two Scottish routes to Aberdeen and Inverness, Loganair continues on these. Scottie Dog's stats show domestic pax down 43.3% year-on-year ... the loss of FlyBe and the reallocation of BA's LHR slots to other routes ex-London account for most of that pain. Though MAN's terrible on the ground offer for domestic - international interline doesn't help one bit. Getting domestic carriers transferred into T2 with state-of-the-art supporting transfer facilities should be an absolute top priority in my view. We need to scrape afew more fossils off Mr Cornish's wallet before its too late to recover this business.

The next ACL update for S23 is expected soon. The first thing I'll be looking at is the Ryanair programme. If it shows a reduction (catastrophe), watch out below. If it's a modest increase, pax totals for MAN as a whole should see cautious progress. Substantial Ryanair increase ... we can dream! But if you're holding out for a boom year, your expectations may need to be scaled back.
Thank you Ozzy for your analysis as to how you see S23 working out. It is a very salient point that the ME carriers have been boosted by the loss of PIA services to MAN compared to pre-covid. Nevertheless, it is one segment of the market where there is cause for optimism compared to the state of affairs to the US.

CX as far as I can tell from their website appear to be operating 4 x weekly in mid - summer. Not the daily we had become used to, but with the tight covid restrictions that were in place for so long and political situation in HK, a reasonable frequency is certainly acceptable.

I agree the programmes of the Big 4 short haul carriers and how well that seat capacity is taken up will be crucial in terms of MAN's performance this coming summer measured against 2019. As regards Ryanair, a brief but by no means detailed analysis did indicate some concern. The initial ACL report showed SHL (Historic) slots of 25,502 for FR and RK combined. If that represented slots from S22, then the latest information available of 28,659 slots at 31 Jan'23 (handback date) is in fact an increase. But that is significantly lower than the 35,064 slots for S23 in the initial ACL report which mentioned an increase in based a/c from 15 to 16 as you say. From a trawl through Ryanair's website for MAN departures on Friday, 14 July, I could only find a maximum of 14 based a/c needed for the first wave. That is only 1 day and there did appear a higher proportion than normal of flights with away based a/c on that particular day. It was also noted that a new route originally planned to Toulouse does not appear in the list of French destinations. So it's very much conjecture at this stage and we'll have to see what the updated ACL report reveals. However, as Ozzy remarks, it is noticeable there has been no official Ryaniar press release regarding MAN's S23 programme so far.

Aviation is of course a competitive industry with airlines fighting for slots at LHR and other airports keen to win new business, and develop growth with new routes and higher frequencies from existing carriers. MAN's relative performance in S23 against 2019 will have to be measured against other airports such as BHX, STN and LGW even though the mix of traffic and passengers at those airports may vary.
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Old 12th Feb 2023, 16:54
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Originally Posted by SWBKCB
After the issues last summer, maybe a period of consolidation isn't a bad thing.
Those well-publicised issues were very much concentrated across the March to May timeframe. Back then, our endlessly helpful politicians had declined to offer the industry a roadmap to post-coronapanic reopening, so the announcement of the end of PCR testing requirements at very short notice wrongfooted the industry generally. MAN needed to recruit in a hurry (alongside many others) and the bottleneck in gaining clearance for airside security passes to be issued caused carnage. I believe that issue is under control now. Handling agents at MAN have also been addressed by the new CEO with a view to ensuring more resilient staffing levels for S23. Operators such as TUI which also suffered badly have another year of recruitment and training under their belt now.

I would suggest that the airport should now be capable of coping with further growth following a generally trouble-free late Summer and Autumn 2022. Whether or not we actually get healthy growth is another conversation entirely!
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Old 12th Feb 2023, 17:09
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Great to see some detailed analysis on here - long may it continue.
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Old 12th Feb 2023, 17:17
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Originally Posted by OzzyOzBorn

EasyJet has confirmed an extra based aircraft, taking their total to 21. And I believe that they will all be A320/A20N - no smaller A319's - so they're doing their bit
That's interesting if true! I believe they had 4x A319 in Su22 and 3x in Su19 but don't quote me on that!
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Old 12th Feb 2023, 19:29
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If it helps, FR announced an additional route (Rhodes) from EDI about two weeks ago. They then announced the final S23 schedule last week, and I think that they are working their way round their bases in turn - Glasgow in a day or two, for example. Gets maximum publicity, I guess

The extra EDI frame is providing additional rotations to their existing routes. So, unless they've announced new routes from Manchester, there probably won't be any, and the extra frame will be used to increase frequencies.
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Old 12th Feb 2023, 20:17
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Had a dropoff at T2 few days ago, just seen the newly built Holiday Inn and Ibis Budg

Had a dropoff at T2 few days ago, just seen the newly built Holiday Inn and Ibis Budget right next to it, as well as another hotel called Tribe being built. This is in addition to Clayton, Doubletree, Radisson Blu and Premier Inn. Surely this is overkill?
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Old 12th Feb 2023, 20:50
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Ozzy: some interesting assessments
I wonder if the construction work on T2 is leading to the airport being cautious around growth?
I don't know, but after the negative press last year, they might conclude it is better to restrain capacity and avoid over-promising.
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Old 12th Feb 2023, 21:01
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Regarding Ryanair, I read elsewhere that there’s uncertainty over how many Max deliveries they’ll get prior to the Summer. Initially they were promised over 60, whereas now Boeing are indicating somewhere between 30 and 45. MOL told investors that as a result they may have to hold off on announcing some new routes until 4 weeks prior to launch as that’s when they’ll know for certain if they’ll have the required airframes or not.
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Old 12th Feb 2023, 23:01
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Thanks, Una Due Tfc. That would certainly make sense. And it is far better that late delivery of new aircraft be the reason for any reduced expansion rather than dissatisfaction with the base for some other reason.
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Old 13th Feb 2023, 01:35
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Originally Posted by ZeBedie
Is it true that T1 will be demolished when the building work is complete? And if so, what is planned for the land currently occupied by T1?
T2 will be extended to the east. One big terminal about twice the size of the current T2 but with about 8 piers extending from it.
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Old 13th Feb 2023, 01:37
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Originally Posted by LFC22
Had a dropoff at T2 few days ago, just seen the newly built Holiday Inn and Ibis Budget right next to it, as well as another hotel called Tribe being built. This is in addition to Clayton, Doubletree, Radisson Blu and Premier Inn. Surely this is overkill?
There has to be enough capacity to house a couple of plane loads of pax in the event a technical or weather problem hits.
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Old 13th Feb 2023, 16:15
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Originally Posted by OzzyOzBorn
I'm starting to fear that S23 will be 'just OK' versus S22 rather than stellar. The programmes of the four main short-haul based carriers will be crucial. We need healthy growth from Ryanair, EasyJet, Jet2 and TUI.
.
According to the Jet2 forum MAN will see 3x A330. And if you believe what they say, one will have 388 customers on board. Coupled with is it 5/6 757 in operation daily and 2/3/4 A321's I suspect Jet2 will assist with growth. I agree it won't be a whole 189 seats, but a healthy additional 60 here, 40 there etc all helps.
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Old 13th Feb 2023, 18:11
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From what I was originally told the current T2 will become the only terminal eventually. Think, of your right hand. Pier 1 is your pinky. The Stub that will be Pier 2 is your Ring finger and Pier 3 would come from the end of the current T2 and extend out to the end of T1's rotunda. The Index Finger will go right through the main T1 real estate and the Thumb is where Ryanair lives now in T3. We now have a Westward extension to the original T2, Pier 1 and a stub used for bussing where Pier 2 should be going.
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Old 13th Feb 2023, 19:26
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Thanks, LBAflyer22.

Jet2 is one of the four bellweather carriers which portend the tone for the forthcoming season at MAN, the others being Ryanair (RYR/RUK/LDA), EasyJet (EZY/EJU) and TUI (TOM). If all of these show a healthy increase in capacity at start of season, then things look good.

In ACL's initial coordination report for S23, Jet2 was shown to hold 17,283 slots representing 3,871,873 seats. Since then, there has been a further update showing 16,606 slots held for the season, though I have not seen the commensurate number for reduction in seats.

This compares with Summer '22 numbers of 16,125 slots held representing 3,468,653 seats in that year's start of season ACL report.

That would indicate Jet2 offering 403,220 additional seats based on the initial filing, but we see that 677 slots seem to have been deducted since then. Whilst a larger aircraft is expected to be in the mix, some reduction from the original +403,220 should be anticipated. However, an increase in seats offered over the S22 total still looks a safe bet. I will await the next ACL report with interest.

Of course, the benchmark year most of us would like to see surpassed is pre-covid 2019.

The MAT (Moving Annual Total) for the 12 months to September 2019 (the peak of recorded stats at MAN prior to numbers falling away, then plunging) were reported as:

PAX Terminal & Transit: 29,510,599
Movements: 204,178
Freight & Mail: 113,248 Tonnes.

By comparison, the latest reported MAT's for the 12 months to the end of January 2023 are:

PAX Terminal & Transit: 24,310,746
Movements: 162,480
Freight & Mail: 65,460 Tonnes.

From these numbers, we see that MAN must recover a further 5,199,853 pax within the MAT in order to re-enter record territory.

The month of February 2022 was still amidst full covid recession; things began to change in March. April was the first "normal" month. So February and March 2023 numbers should again make decent inroads into that shortfall. However, from April onwards we start to compare months with more like-for-like conditions, so the rate of incremental gains will slow to the kind of percentages we became accustomed to in pre-covid years. Obviously, it would be great if positive momentum can be maintained once we hit that point, but as discussed earlier, bumper business is far from assured with some markets not back at scale, and the public dealing with the soaring cost of living and possible recession. In the leisure market, the risk is that operators will consolidate capacity if the bookings don't come rolling in at the volumes hoped for.

The 2019 movements total was disproportionately boosted by the high number of FlyBe movements using smaller types. We will probably face a long wait to break any movements records at MAN going forward.

The abject cargo number is the inevitable endgame of MAG's "Anywhere but Manchester" policy. There is no hope of meaningful recovery in that sector for as long as MAG persist with the current strategy. There should be a rise in tonnage as more capacity returns to long-haul services offering belly-hold space, but MAN now has NO scheduled cargo services whatsoever since the loss of the short-lived Lufthansa A321F service. I believe that this is the first time in my lifetime that MAN has had ZERO scheduled freighter services - and I'm absolutely ancient! Joking aside, it is sad to see such a situation - such a dramatic contrast with the cargo heyday of the 2000-2010 period. Still, I'm sure that certain executives will have been handsomely rewarded for switch-selling MAN's freighter throughput to other airports.

Returning to passenger numbers and comparisons with 2019. In that year, Thomas Cook Airlines held 10,097 slots representing 2,441,653 seats for the Summer season alone. The equivalent Summer season numbers for FlyBe were 19,882 slots representing 1,688,548 seats. Naturally, other companies have seen changes too - but these are the really substantial ones. So it is not enough for our remaining stalwart companies to increase over their own 2019 programmes; we need to see the deficits from lost operators backfilled too. And that's why the effort to break out to new highs on passenger throughput may yet prove to be an arduous slog against the backdrop of difficult economic conditions. Will current carriers' programmes advance sufficiently to offset those major players lost to the great hangar in the sky?
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Old 13th Feb 2023, 21:01
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I am too very surprised Ryanair have yet to announce a new additional aircraft at MAN, along with new routes. But, I have read with interest regarding the difficulties and delays with receiving the required number of 737 Max deliveries...hopefully an announcement will happen soon, ref both new routes and a new based aircraft.
A new route to Toulouse is still in the ACL report...I just hope it comes off!
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Old 13th Feb 2023, 23:15
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Shed-on-a-Pole Do we really need "War and Peace" level of posting to ignite the main deck freighter argument yet again? It's been done to the death, there's nothing new to add. It's what airport groups do, BAA were worse. Look at the IAG effect on BA, it drives profits for the shareholders but people who work there often struggle to move on, the business is now part of a larger whole with a strategy of making the best decisions for the group. That cuts costs, drives focus and should allow profits to be reinvested to rebuild the passenger infrastructure. Take a win when you're given one!
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