Purchase of Stansted by Manchester Airport Group good news for region and didn’t cost taxpayer, says council leader

By Paddy von Behr

Not a penny of taxpayers’ money was used in the purchase of Stansted Airport, according to the leader of Manchester City Council.

Sir Richard Leese assured residents they would benefit from last week’s acquisition by Manchester Airports Group (MAG), which is owned by the city’s ten boroughs.

Manchester City Council is the majority shareholder and Sir Richard is excited to see the deal’s success rub off on residents.

“Not a penny of taxpayers’ money has gone into the acquisition of Stansted,” he said.

“It will help us deliver maximum value for Manchester City Council and the other local authority shareholders.

“This is a good deal for the long term benefit of Manchester. A larger, stronger MAG will benefit the whole region.”

Stansted is the UK’s fourth-ranked airport – one spot behind Manchester – and represents a significant purchase for the group.

However Andrew Cowan, MAG’s chief operations officer, re-assured Northwest passengers focus will not shift from the group’s primary asset.

Manchester airport employs 19,000 people, contributes more than £3billion to the economy and continues to expand, with routes to Moscow and Cairo to be announced soon.

Mr Cowan also pointed to the £650million Airport City development, as well as investment of £15million to a new control tower and £50million to the Metrolink line.

He stressed the fact that, rather than negatively affecting Manchester passengers, the deal will financially benefit council services.

“It is business as usual at Manchester Airport,” said Mr Cowan.

“There is already a team in place to plan and run the integration of Stansted Airport into MAG so actually nothing changes at Manchester.

“Stansted is a good long-term investment – and creates a larger, stronger Manchester Airports Group.

“Ultimately the deal would not have gone ahead if the shareholders – i.e. the councils, who are representatives of the people of Manchester – didn’t give their approval.”

Picture courtesy of newbierunner, with thanks.

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