MAG’s three airports defied the UK heatwave and the England football team’s progress in the World Cup to attract more than 3% more passengers in July.
The year-on-year rise to almost 6.4 million travellers gave a rolling annual total of 59.7 million passengers.
Stansted saw the highest rate of growth in the group, up 7.4% to a record 2.8m passengers.
The increase was driven by new long-haul routes to Dubai and New York, new summer links to Frankfurt, Reykjavik and Vilnius, and more passengers than last year jetting off to sun destinations such as Alicante (up 40%) and Malaga ( up 16%).
A total of 14,000 more passengers flew from Manchester airport, giving a marginal rise of 0.5%.
The holiday trend for this summer from Manchester has been people rediscovering Turkey and North African destinations, after years of strong growth to Spain.
Almost 30,000 more passengers combined flew from Manchester to Antalya and Dalaman in Turkey.
A re-launched route to Enfidha in Tunisia attracted bargain hunters, while Morocco also saw growth.
Manchester’s domestic route network saw 10% growth, thanks to a new route this year to Southend, and 53% growth to Belfast International.
East Midlands airport’s passenger traffic declined by 2.1% but routes to Turkey and the eastern Mediterranean proved especially popular, including Corfu, Dalaman, Antalya, Rhodes and Dubrovnik, all of which posted growth, alongside the new route for this summer to Seville.
Stansted CEO Ken O’Toole said: “As the main summer holiday season firmly gets underway, July is always a very busy month for us and this year we have welcomed a record number of passengers to the airport.
“We always work hard to ensure that going into the peak season our passengers have the best possible service and this year we introduced a number of improvements to our operation including recruiting more security staff, the introduction of new airport ambassador roles, creating more check-in desks, improved access to the forecourt and the opening of a new 350-seat restaurant.
“Over the next five years we are investing £600 million in transforming the airport experience for passengers, the main elements of which will be the construction of a new arrivals terminal, a re-vamp of the existing terminal, upgrades to the baggage system and more car parking spaces.
“With limited spare capacity at other airports in the south-east, Stansted will deliver 50% of London’s expected passenger growth over the next decade.
“Given this anticipated growth, we have applied for permission to raise the number of passengers we serve to 43 million a year, with a firm commitment to do so without any additional flights or noise impacts beyond our current permissions.”