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roverman 27th Nov 2020 23:42

I do rather hope that MAG / MAN will use the Covid 19 hiatus as a 'foot on the ball' moment to consider the business model now that specific areas of capacity shortage have gone away, temporarily at least. Rather than going back to the old model of pursuing and stimulating traffic by pricing and volume deals, instead use the opportunity to exist for the time being as a single-runway / single-terminal airport whilst a comprehensive strategy for redeveloping and/or withdrawing core facilties is drawn up.

By the advent of MAN-TP at the middle of the last decade MAN had reached the point where it was throwing down track ahead of the train in the manner of Grommit the dog pursued by the evil penguin. The recently enforced huge drop in demand means that terminal redevelopment (not necessarily expansion) projects which looked very difficult and expensive to deliver when capacity was tight could now be done so far more easily. I was never convinced that encouraging multiple low cost flights to the Mediterrean and to unpronouncable Eastern European cities is really contributing to the economy of the North-West, nor is justifiable environmentally as public concern around this grows. I can see value in a MAN which rebuilds and developes its long haul network to key cities whilst carefully managing domestic and European demand and offer. This would be achieved by pricing the facilities to make a profit on the use of those facilites and put some funds in the kitty for ongoing development and maintenance, not tipping the revenue model towards unsustainable off-shoots such as car parking. We also need to review the funding of local government so as not to assume dividends from assets such as MAN, but that's another topic!

If this means that MAN ends up in 10 years time as a 20 mppa airport with just the one runway (and there are options to configure either one of them as an efficient single runway) and one terminal (the extended and redeveloped T2) then I would consider that a win if its a quality and value for money experience for its users.

OzzyOzBorn 28th Nov 2020 04:47

A very thoughtful response, Roverman. However, I would respectfully put it to you that neither MAG, nor any other airport operator, can significantly influence the inevitable trends implicit in the evolution of global air passenger travel. Low cost / no-frills is the inevitable future of short-haul, and airports which presume to stand against this tide will be washed away. Even Lufthansa Group has finally buckled and gone BOB. IAG were ahead of them on that one. Whether we welcome this new paradigm or not is immaterial. It simply is so. We might as well reminisce about the halcyon days of the stagecoach. Change happens. MAN in particular should stand acutely aware of this, having served as an industry case-study in the perils of customer selection when they refused to engage with no-frills carriers in the earliest days of that emergent sector. The result was that they catapulted nearby LPL from a 250K ppa minnow to a 5M ppa pain in the side in short order, and ended up firefighting for a decade to recover the ground they lost. And the gamble was an abject failure even viewed from the perspective of protecting legacy short-haul schedules. As Eastern Europe opened up from LPL, MAN lost carriers such as LOT, CSA, Air Baltic, Balkan, TAROM and Estonian Air like dominoes. The customers just shifted down the East Lancs Road. MAN didn't even have the no-frills replacements to show for it. Plus the elephant in the room: BA walked away anyway. It was arguably the single greatest strategic blunder in the history of the airport.

I have the greatest respect for your forum contributions - I know that you have long experience at a very high level of airport management - but I just cannot endorse a strategy which (again) prefers to marginalise the no-frills sector in favour of rapidly contracting legacy carriers which are themselves devolving into the price-led no-frills space at a rate of knots. Not only do I expect established no-frills carriers to be the strongest market participants as we emerge from Covid, but I would also anticipate that the most likely new homes for relatively young parked-up white tail B737's/A320's will be new-entrant no-frills players joining the market with no legacy debts, bargain lease deals and a ready supply of highly-trained labour in a recruiters' dream market. Even long-haul will be forced to gravitate more towards the budget sector than full service (which favours MAN's core customer base if played smartly). And keep in mind that even the established prestige long-haul names routinely carry far more passengers in the cheap seats already, a trend which we can only expect to accelerate.

On the idea of becoming a single runway / single terminal operation for a decade to come, I must again take an opposing view. Firstly, as discussed in my earlier posting, I expect short-haul no-frills to be the prominent resurgent sector of the market. MAN is - and needs to be - at the forefront of this (RYR and EZY are already two of the largest based operators). Jet2 and TUI, whilst offering a more value-added customer proposition, are overwhelmingly leisure-orientated too. MAG would have to be delusional to presume that IAG, Lufthansa Group, Air France / KLM and the like are (in isolation) the key to a prosperous future. And that's if we overlook that their onboard experience is barely distinguishable from the no-frills players already. These groups will need to face off against the Ryanairs and the Wizzairs or fade away. MAN needs to embrace this sector - imperfect as it is - or be left to spectate from the sidelines as competing airports grow around them. The early 2000's revisited - but on steroids.

On the environmental impact issue ... a subject which I don't wish to introduce in depth for the purposes of this discussion ... keep in mind that carriers conveying 195 (B738) or 220 (A321) seats per rotation with consistently high load factors serve the cause of clean air far more efficiently than a high fare generously configured aircraft operating with a 50% load factor. No frills carriers aren't a bad thing. And it is up to the industry as a whole - not an airport group of modest size - to drive the agenda towards industry-wide green propulsion technology. Until that arrives, the best thing we can do in the meantime is to ensure that air seats don't fly empty. The no-frills model is the best gateway to delivering this outcome.

I would suggest a further issue with aspiring to a single-runway operation - quite aside from the obvious. If you have a highly valuable strategic infrastructure asset ready and available why ever would you mothball it at the cost of rejecting incremental business which would profoundly benefit the region? I note your view that services such as those to Eastern European cities are of low value to the economy, but I must again respectfully disagree. These regions have entered a cycle of substantial growth in economic importance, and I contend that it is a good thing that the NW has established rapidly growing expat communities from these countries which will expand cultural links far into the future. And don't be too quick to dismiss no-frills customers as being of economically low value to the region. I recall reading an account of a group of conference delegates exchanging tales of how cheap their air travel to the selected resort complex had been: many had used no-frills carriers and discussed this as a badge of honour. Every one of them had a net worth of multiple millions. We cannot pigeonhole customers by the airline they fly with. Taking even myself as an example, pre-covid I flew Tiger Air (Australia), Singapore Airlines long-haul and Ryanair short-haul just days apart. Judge me how you will - I'm the same person on all of these journeys and my economic value to the airport concessions was broadly similar on each occasion.

Continuing on the theme of single runway / single terminal. The serendipitous good fortune of having one terminal which given modest investment in a refresh will be the very epitome of the ideal no-frills short-haul facility, and another which is a state-of-the-art full service facility with all the trimmings, offers a stunning opportunity which MAN must not waste. An opportunity to embrace both sides of the mainstream air passenger market whilst maintaining a clear distinction between them. Many large airports would dream of such good fortune. And do note that the days of Ryanair and Wizz hiding away at unknown former military airbases located in the sticks are rapidly fading into memory ... carriers such as these are bagging slots at many of the highest profile gateway airports now. MAN could attempt to sidestep this trend, but the industry wouldn't stop for them if they did ... though I speak theoretically, as RYR and EZY are established in size at MAN already. Any attempt to cap their further growth in an environment where Thomas Cook and FlyBe haven't been backfilled (even before accounting for C-19 wounds) would be reprehensible in my view. A new level of negligent arrogance.

One further point on your single runway proposal. I would suggest that the return of air transport movements and passenger volumes will not necessarily transpire in lockstep. At first glance this sounds illogical, but it really isn't. We're seeing early examples of this trend playing out already. HOP! Embraer 170's/190's replacing Air France A321 rotations; KLM Embraer 175's/190's replacing Boeing 737-800's/900's; Lufthansa Regional CRJ900's and Embraer 190's replacing A320/A321's. On long-haul, Qatar B787-8's replace A350-900's; Emirates B777's replace A380's. And at the extremes, Eastern Jetstream 41's have replaced FlyBe Embraer 195's on MAN-NQY. In fact, several former FlyBe routes are defaulting to smaller types. We mustn't disregard the upsurge in executive movements too. This trend in motion sees demand for runway slots coming back much more quickly than passenger numbers. MAN must not look the other way and pretend that this isn't happening. The network carriers will want to protect frequencies and the hub connections they open up; MAN must accommodate this. It would be quite negligent for MAN to close a hard-won full-length runway to wilfully thwart the needs of its airline customers. Where is the upside in wasting arguably the North's primary strategic transport infrastructure enhancement of the last half-century? What kind of message does it send to Whitehall if we can't be bothered to use the world-class infrastructure we actually have? Please no ... don't even think about it.

So whilst I agree with you that the tragedy of C-19 has delivered an unforeseen chance to reorganise the Manchester Airport estate to best prosper from new opportunities offered by the post-virus paradigm, I must very respectfully hope for a quite different outcome than the one which you advocate. But I still hold your contributions to the forum in the highest regard. Your relative absence of late has been noticed; please do post your insights more frequently once again.

SWBKCB 28th Nov 2020 07:40

Ozzy - agreed "carefully managing domestic and European demand" just means giving it away to competitors, as happened with LPL and LBA years ago. I'd query one point on your analysis -

They can do this with some confidence too, as previous recessions have shown that people DO still take vacations after a downturn - but they often choose to trade down to a lower budget option for a couple of years. Hence cheapie flights to Spain and Turkey come back much stronger than upmarket offerings to Florida and the Caribbean.
Let's not forget that those that are still in full time employment have done well economically this year, a full wage and nothing to spend it on. I've seen reports that the top end of the market is seeing huge interest from those wanting a "holiday of a life time" when they can travel again, having missed out this year.

southside bobby 28th Nov 2020 08:22

Whilst not gainsaying the eloquence & partial luxury of the postings the future of all airports through their owner/operators will be dictated entirely from the boardroom of surviving operators of airliners given possibly the overwhelming force of C-19...local politics/national politics/international politics,economic tragedy,unemployment & only awaiting in short order the green agenda along with COP26 next year in the UK,the little Scandi girl & a fully signed up compliant PM.

Amid scenarios thus it could be imagined the shareholders in MAG will not be looking for a "masterplan" in the post regarding the MAN estate they will be looking for any return on their investment in the form of dividend in the bank as soon as.

Short termism rules OK within UK corporate culture.

Not so sure any mention of the actual word "employment" in the above ideas/plans but that should be a top priority given within MAG & is more reason to believe & suppose MAG management will show an ankle to all & sundry & cobble up on the ground any plan to accommodate results.

MANFAN 28th Nov 2020 09:00

Arrived last night from CDG with AF at 9.15pm, on stand 23 and we had the downstairs & upstairs experience. I understand this was to separate arriving & departing passengers but at the moment and at that time of the evening, no flights were departing, be easier to open up the corridor in between! T1 has had itís day or at least the piers have, time to say au revoir for good!

As for the single runway idea, surely runway 2 needs to be kept serviceable for when runway 1 had itís monthly scheduled maintenance. Although I do wonder what used to happen years about pre runway 2 when maintenance was required and in the summer flights were arriving 24/7...

chaps1954 28th Nov 2020 09:27

They used to do same as BHX close airport at night for couple of weeks but not as easy when more flights arrive late in evening ( pre covid )

MAN777 28th Nov 2020 09:30

T2 Works
I haven't been near MAN for 10 months now.

Whats the state of play with the T2 redevelopment ?

Are works still ongoing & is the closure of T2 being taken as a chance to move on quickly with the revamp of the old T2 without the inconvenience of having passengers around you ?


southside bobby 28th Nov 2020 09:33

For some r/w work displaced thresholds come to mind & heavy maint for instance programmed into winter months similar to most single r/w airports without the luxury of a second.

HKGBOY 28th Nov 2020 09:36

I wouldnít be too dismissive of MAN ability to regain its premium traffic. Pre COVID all my Cathay flights were full up front, likewise my EK A380s were the same. Even the evening Finnair connecting at Helsinki flights up front were full.
No frills market offer low cost air carriers but not always necessarily low fares. Screwing airports for slots and facilities paying peanuts isnít always a win win.
T1 is well past its sell by date and as MANFAN says this up down up down fiasco on piers B & C usually on non working escalators is beyond a joke.
ignore the premium market at your peril.
My colleagues usually travel premium economy but at flexible fares that are much higher than business saver tickets. They usually have access to premium check in and luggage but travel mid cabin- but donít expect to be treated like cattle.
Here in Hong Kong the non working escalators / lifts and security cock ups at MAN were the source of much conversation with the result some always booked via LHR because of the smoother and better facilities there for premium pax.With better premium facilities they could have attracted even more pax than they did. The facilities lost traffic.

MANFOD 28th Nov 2020 15:22

Excuse me for not quoting the earlier well argued posts by Ozzy and roverman, both of whose contributions on this forum I appreciate. How good also to read respectful debate form those with differing views.

I would just add a few comments on some of the issues: -

On the value of lo-cost / no frills carriers to the NW economy, a couple of things come to mind.
Firstly, a significant number of the flights nowadays are to city destinations. Although the majority of passengers will be outbound from the UK, I suspect the number of Europe originating passengers may not be insignificant; whether it be to attend football matches for the weekend, holidays, general leisure or visiting friends. Hopefully, they will be spending money here that helps the local economies in pubs, restuarants, shops, theatres and the like. Attendees at major conferences often look to cheaper travel, and good air (and rail) connections are important for that market.

Secondly, outbound passengers are not averse to spending money in the bars, cafes and shops at the airport itself, some benefit from which will presumably go the airport's coffers plus rents. Whatever we think about the financial structure of airports and their ownerships, in MAG's case profits enables dividends to be paid, and for MAN, that means the City and 9 local councils as well as the Australian shareholder.

As regards roverman's suggestion of a focus on long haul, personally I would like nothing more to see MAN grow its international network. However, while some routes may be viable from MAN's catchment area alone, some more marginal destinations may rely on a good feeder network, be it domestic or European. So 'managing' domestic & European demand may work against that goal. And further afield, flights from India for example would not only provide a vital link to the NW but could help support services to the US and possibly Canada.

I have to agree with Ozzy that MAN's disdain for the advent of lo-cost airlines in the 90's was a big mistake which helped boost competitor airports and took years to unravel.

As regards Terminals, a question: If T3 could be developed, could the Terminal building itself be extended to provide sufficient extra capacity, including check-in, security and immigration facilities, to enable T1 to be redundant? It occurs to me that if T1 could be demolished and its car park, then either the space created could incorporate additional apron for remote stands, or even in the future a further extension to the south of T2.
I've no idea whether the land available would be sufficient and how costly expanding T3 building would be, so informed views would be appreciated.

southside bobby 28th Nov 2020 16:28

It appears the example many here need to reflect on perhaps is LHR...

Not too sure there is so much energy as here expended in the commercial office at LHR Ltd on what traffic was & might be but at least for the medium term perhaps...the here & now...today...right now.

They appear exemplar in attitude in comparison but with a huge void to fill & within the imposed strictures & structures are not resting on their laurels.

The amount of temporary (or is it?) slot allocation is quite impressive together with ad hoc & non ad hoc cargo business with commercial visitors ranging from ATR thru the B744F & airlines they have never had to provision for before...though all gratefully received & accepted down West London way.

What would reflect a determination at MAG/MAN to arise from the catastrophic landscape would be a mooted here "grab" of EZY/WZZ/WUK/RYR business...

If MAG want it then to park it should be secondary.

The shareholders should hopefully "influence" the management here.

roverman 28th Nov 2020 16:39

Thanks to all for the gentlemanly debate. Just to clarify some of my points I wasn't suggesting that MAN pay no attention to domestic and European traffic, just cautioning against the pursuit of target volumes achieved by pricing and deals which lead to multiple carriers serving similar destinations at low yields. 20mppa in 2030 need not be a failure, the measure will be do we have the flights to the key destinations/hubs and the network connectivity which will provide real economic benefit. Travelling back and forth frequently to holiday homes in the Med will not achieve that and I believe it will become increasingly taxed and seen as socially irresponsible. Of course it's important that we have good links in to the hubs and the secondary cities of Europe as well as a decent choice for UK holidaymakers to popular resorts for annual holidays. MAN was built up on package tour flights alongside the flag carriers and that will always be important. Call me naive but I see LIverpool as a complimentary airport, not a competitor. They're 30 miles apart after all. The whole Northern Powerhouse concept is cemented on the idea that the cities / city regions of the North work together, finding out who can do what best. That means setting aside some rivalries and duplication because these only serve to undermine the bigger picture. Liverpool and Hull are our great sea port assets. Manchester has the airport with the facilities and ground transport links best placed to connect the North globally rather than through Heathrow as some would wish. LPL plays a complimentary role in enabling certain very popular leisure services to be facilitated as well as GA and perhaps cargo. It's ok in my mind for MAN to say sometimes 'sorry we can't offer you slots at a bargain rate as it doesn't fit our required return on investment'. LPL with a lower cost base can pick up that traffic, and if it means MAN 'loses' some traffic, then so be it. The North still gets the benefit. On long-haul, the coming of Code C single-aisle aircraft types to 7-8 hour sectors opens the possibility of greater North American service as well as in to Africa and the Middle East. That's exciting.

southside bobby 28th Nov 2020 17:53

Still unsure if living in the somewhat distant past or the distant future...

Again the one word missing is employment or retaining employment within the group & airport.

If this at all reflects the thinking within MAG itself then it is a failing project dominated by overthinking & management speak here certainly & much too much graciousness & myopia.

MAG at STN had no problem thank goodness for employment & profit with volume even though many in the forum railed against it.

Volume provides massive income from ancillary provision for airport owners & more employment locally too.

If certain airlines are willing to provide the volume/capacity even in these catastrophic times then get on with it.

Feigned indignation at departures boards with cities not cared for or even pronounce will no longer do.

Rutan16 28th Nov 2020 21:38

Short clarification on Air India withdrawal some twenty or so years ago was because the GOI instructed them to redeploy their A310 aircraft on Expat flying to the desert region. These aircraft disappeared across Europe in one fell swoop as they compiled with the edicts from above .

UnderASouthernSky 28th Nov 2020 23:28

Originally Posted by roverman (Post 10936435)
Call me naive but I see LIverpool as a complimentary airport, not a competitor.

Do you mean LPL is "free", or "polite"?!

OzzyOzBorn 29th Nov 2020 02:56

Lots of great comments here. Thanks to those who have shared their thoughts on the topic.

It seems to me that the different viewpoints expressed concerning MAN's best course for the future boil down to differences of philosophy at a fundamental level. Consider the two following statements. Which one would you most closely identify with?

Option One: Manchester Airport is an infrastructure asset whose primary role is to maximise profits accruing to its parent holding company, MAG, and thereby to its shareholders. If the pursuit of this goal means not serving the surrounding region to its fullest potential then so be it. The airport should select its business partners based solely upon the forecast return to bottom line earnings. Group interests take absolute precedence over those of the region served, so selected business opportunities will be switch-sold to other group airports if it benefits MAG corporate profitability. Profits accruing to MAG are absolutely paramount, so there is seen to be no moral obligation to attract and retain skilled jobs via other stakeholders on the campus (eg. aircraft painters, aircraft engineering providers) unless directly swelling MAG profits. Wider social responsibilities are entirely secondary to MAG's financial best interests.

Option Two: Manchester Airport is an infrastructure asset whose primary role is to serve as the preferred link to the rest of the world for businesses and people within its catchment area. The airport's role includes acting as a conduit for attracting overseas visitors and investment to the region, optimising the boost to the regional economy brought by incoming executives and tourists. It should endeavour to deliver an attractive ROI for its shareholders, but within the remit of optimising the facility's contribution to serving the best interests of the regional economy and the Northern Powerhouse Initiative. Positive engagement with all sectors of the market to this end should be the prime objective. No company motivated to work with MAN for the betterment of the region should be dismissed based purely on corporate expediency. Employment opportunities for the area should be optimised, both directly on campus and in the surrounding communities beyond. MAN should strive to be the best it can be in all sectors on behalf of the region it serves.

I fear that there is little chance of reconciling the opinions of those who think in terms of option one with those who identify with option two and vice-versa.

It will come as no surprise that I identify with option two myself. But I have felt for some time that MAG puts its own interests first in many instances with little consideration for the lost opportunity this represents to the region served. Perhaps more could have been done to retain Air Livery on campus? How much urgency has there been to encourage interest expressed by Dublin Aerospace for a maintenance operation which would deliver highly-skilled jobs to the airport? Is there enthusiasm towards working closely with THG to establish a cargo airline at MAN? Why are pure freighter leads routinely switch-sold away? Why has there been an unconcerned shrug when additional based RYR / EZY aircraft were turned away when there was ample opportunity to manage space in readiness for them ahead of time? Many more good decisions have been made than disappointing ones - let me be clear about that. But I aspire to see the pursuit of excellence in all areas of the business and there appears to be a way to go on that. I hope that the mood in MAG Towers is finally shifting towards embracing all new business opportunities as we emerge into the post-covid economy.

Other points arising:

just cautioning against the pursuit of target volumes achieved by pricing and deals which lead to multiple carriers serving similar destinations at low yields.
There is an implicit assumption here that there will continue to be a range of potential airline partners to choose from representing a cross-section of different business models. But the field has been narrowing for some years now and covid is expediting that process. Airlines generally - not just the established no-frills names - are demanding very attractive terms from their airport partners across the board. It really is incumbent upon airport operators to optimise income from ancillary revenue streams, and MAN's pre-covid profit levels (amongst others) show that healthy returns can be made by working with carriers from across the spectrum. Including the rapidly-expanding proportion of the market represented by the LCC's. MAN does not have the luxury of being too choosy about new business. When we're thinking of potential additional based aircraft, the competing offers come from MAD, CDG, BER, MXP, GVA, PMI and many more ... not just the neighbours down the road. It is important for the UK economy as well as the region that MAN should compete with intent to maximise its share of the business on offer.

Travelling back and forth frequently to holiday homes in the Med will not achieve that and I believe it will become increasingly taxed and seen as socially irresponsible.
The whole environmental debate is another contentious can of worms which could fill pages on here. But it's been discussed in depth before, so I'll keep it brief here. I personally don't agree with stigmatising customers travelling by air for leisure. As previously mentioned, they tend to fly on larger aircraft with very high L/F's which is actually a good thing from an environmental perspective. And they are taxed: APD was introduced as a 'green' initiative because fuel could not be taxed directly (and that is a rip-off). But the industry is working towards 'green' propulsion solutions, and MAN has shown support for that very recently by announcing its competition which will reward the first carbon-neutral carrier to serve the airport.

But MAN must not be so naive as to reject airline business under the guise of environmental responsibility in the meantime. If they presume to socially-engineer customer travel habits by intervening to restrict the choice of leisure flights then they're in for a shock. Everyone who wants to fly from this region to Mallorca will still do so. But it will be from LPL if some eco-extremist at MAG presumes to play 'Nanny': the fossil fuels will still be consumed either way. Its just that jobs at MAN would be sacrificed so that some self-important climate zealot in an office can feel virtuous about their role in 'saving the planet'. And don't worry about cars and earning revenues from parking them either: mass-adoption of EV's is well on the way. [There is a debate about how to responsibly source electricity for charging up those too, but let's leave that one alone for now!].

Call me naive but I see LIverpool as a complimentary airport, not a competitor.
I'm not convinced that they reciprocate your view with such public-spirited generosity? Like it or not, they ARE the competition! And they know it. I hope that MAG execs see that too. :-)

LPL with a lower cost base can pick up that traffic, and if it means MAN 'loses' some traffic, then so be it.
LPL will enjoy their share of business wins based on their own proposition, but they should work for them. They should not be 'gifted' business which some at MAG consider to be beneath their dignity. Those are peoples' jobs we're talking about. Including ratepayers of the councils which share ownership of MAG itself.

Short clarification on Air India withdrawal some twenty or so years ago was because the GOI instructed them to redeploy their A310 aircraft on Expat flying to the desert region. These aircraft disappeared across Europe in one fell swoop as they compiled with the edicts from above .
There is a bit more to this. A corrosion issue was identified with the A300 fleet which meant that the A310's were required in a hurry to cover the shortfall. The MAN route was 'suspended', but when capacity did become available again BHX won the nod ahead of a return to MAN.

MANFOD 29th Nov 2020 10:04

southside bobby makes a good point about employment and job opportunities. They certainly need to be put into the equation along with profits and dividends. Here again, I think volume is important. Large numbers of Ryanair and Easyjet flights may not bring in a fortune in aircraft landing and parking fees but they do mean jobs for handling agents and other providers, and in the bars, restaurants and shops that are available in a busy airport. Car parking requirements from high volume of passengers produce financial benefits and jobs, although I note the environmental concerns from higher use of private cars.
Inbound tourism from those cheaper flights not only help the local economies but is a source of job creation.

So yes, I agree MAN & MAG's responsibility and opportunities encompass far more than simply maximising profits and dividends for its shareholders, although those dividends can of course be spent wisely for the benefit of the local community.

commit aviation 29th Nov 2020 12:03

Some really interesting points as always from Ozzy and others.

I am not entirely convinced that Options One and Two are unreconcilable. The majority shareholders in MAG are still the local councils and they are interested in protecting those jobs as in many cases they are also their council tax payers and contributors to the local economy. Not forgetting domestic and overseas visitors to the area bringing additional spending power to the north. In more normal times, the airport makes returns for those councils so a sensible balance needs to be struck in protecting the interests of Manchester and the surrounding area whilst allowing the management team to do what they are employed to do.

MAG is very adept at sweating their assets and in the current situation will continue to do so. Those who call for a wholesale rebuild or even a reconfiguration of T1 and T3 are likely to be out of luck for now. Whilst nobody would argue that it is a laudable idea and much needed, there is simply no revenue right now to pay for it. The little money coming in at present should surely be funnelled into keeping the business alive and protecting as many of those jobs as possible for the longer term.

The commercial team for MAG is headed by someone with a background at Ryanair so I would imagine the ability to do deals is within his capability. The LCCs will undoubtedly return quickest along with charter outfits. The decision on slot use for next summer may determine what happens around any immediate long haul return but profitable traffic is unlikely to return for a few more seasons I suspect.

On the environment it is good to see MAG leading the way but I agree it should not be at the expense of commercial traffic. I don’t see it as an issue in that government policy will need to lead on this in the long term whilst airports and airlines will fall in line.

In the short term there is some significant pain (as with the entire aviation industry) and retrenchment but I would suggest both MAG and MAN have a bright future.

Skipness One Foxtrot 29th Nov 2020 16:47

The worry I have about Roverman's key point about volume traffic being, for want of a better term, the "wrong kind of flights" is that it chimes with what the WEF is leading on. The whole "Build Back Better" agenda chorus being shared from Canada to Biden's campaign, to Boris's podium to Australia's posters is that there is a wider agenda seeking an economic re-set and using COVID to save us from ourselves. So basically, the less well off need to be discouraged from travelling so frequently and invoking the green agenda to do so whilst allowing the right kind of people to travel as they have always done, on expenses.


Many of the plans made for the preCOVID economy are not aligned with post COVID politics. It worries me that many have so easily fallen into agreeing with the "new normal" consensus. It's not called the "Great Reset" for nothing. No one knows what a post COVID aviation industry will be ALLOWED to look like. So any capital investment right now would be brave. Given the unprecedented amount Boris has borrowed, taxes will have to rise and so called green taxes (anti aviation by their intent) are a great way to extort even more money from hard working people to go some way to digging us out of the financial mire.
MAN needs rebuilt from the ground up, T2 rebuild was a great start, the next phase might be more "interesting".

southside bobby 29th Nov 2020 18:17

From the MAG website describing themselves...

FIRST heading & the FIRST line from that...

"Our mission is to deliver sustainable growth in shareholder value"...

Another elephant in the room not mentioned on here is of course that an equal shareholder in terms of % holding at least along with Manchester City Council (the greater of the group of 10) is the Australian investment fund IFM Investors with 35.5%.

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