Syria air strikes will wound ‘resilient’ travel industry but only in short-term, says Manchester Airport boss

The travel industry will suffer following parliament’s decision to extend airstrikes on ISIL in Syria – but not for long – according to Manchester Airport’s Managing Director.

Ken O’Toole explained that although there is likely to be a slight decline in trips to ‘exotic locations’, especially in the aftermath of the Tunisia and Paris attacks, the travel industry is a resilient one.

But it seems even with a temporary dip in travel, Manchester Airport Group (MAG) has nothing to worry about as they released their interim report showing a 25% year-on-year increase today.

Mr O’Toole told MM: “The air strikes will have a short-term impact but the travel industry is a resilient one on a broad base.

“In the aftermath of the attacks on France and Tunisia it is likely that people will be less likely to go to more exotic locations in the next month or so but that won’t last for long.

“People are more likely to travel to inland destinations.

“Also we have over 200 different destinations so in the great scheme of things we won’t really see much of an impact.”

The group have experienced their busiest summer yet and have had a record numbers of passengers in the past six months with Manchester Airport seeing its busiest ever month in August.

The managing director said: “It has been a great year for the Manchester Airport Group and it’s fantastic to see such positive results.

“Last month we were able to reveal that passenger numbers reached an all-time high of 23 million.

“We have achieved many huge achievements this year including a lot of new direct routes.”

The group has introduced 31 new routes across the globe. including long haul trips from Manchester to Boston, Beijing and Los Angeles.

They have also all new short haul routes from MAG airports to Azores, Deauville, Castellon, Stuttgart and Porto.

MAG CEO Charlie Cornish said: “It has been a great year so far and it is pleasing to see MAG put its highest ever interim dividend of £38.6 million right back into the heart of Greater Manchester – ensuring that our local community truly benefits from the success of Manchester Airport.”

Manchester City Council will receive a share of the £38.6million interim dividend for the half-year to September 2015 of around £13.83million. 

Council Leader Sir Richard Leese said: “Thanks to the far-sighted decision taken by the council to acquire a large stake in Manchester Airport, the group’s subsequent expansion and ongoing success means that this interim dividend will be used in full to support council services for the city’s people.

“This will give us more room for manoeuvre and will help protect some of our most vital services.”

And as the passenger numbers soar it seems it is only onwards and upwards for MAG.

Mr Cornish added: “As we approach the milestone of handling 50 million passengers a year, we are giving people the opportunity to upgrade their airport experience and begin their journeys in style.

“Our Escape Lounges have been a real hit with passengers in the UK, and we are now exporting the concept to the USA, with our first lounge opening in Minneapolis-St Paul next week.”

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