Manchester Airport Group (MAG) has reported a loss of £170 million for the year to March 31st, following what the company called an “unprecedented period”.

The figure compares to a profit of £378 million a year earlier.

The group – which owns Manchester, Stansted and East Midlands airports – saw passenger numbers fall 89 per cent this year, down from 60 million in 2020 to 6.3 million in 2021.

Passenger numbers dropped to 2.8 million from 28 million a year at Manchester airport; 3.1 million from 27 million at Stansted and 400,000 from 4.5 million at East Midlands.

The group was forced into a “major streamlining” of its workforce, including management, back-office functions and operational staff “to reflect the short-term reduction in operating activity”. 

All non-essential expenditure was frozen, and all staff took a ten per cent pay cut from April last year.

MAG chief executive, Charlie Cornish, said: “These annual results paint a very different picture to previous years, reflecting the true impact of what has been the most difficult 12 months in our history.

“We saw international travel come to a near standstill with passenger numbers collapsing to less than ten per cent of normal levels, and we have had to take a series of decisive, and often difficult actions to protect the future of our business.”

He added: “As we look ahead, I am confident of the strong recovery our business and our sector can make, as well as the critical role our airports will play in ensuring a full recovery of the UK economy.

“Even in the last few weeks, we have taken tentative steps forward with some important markets now on the green list.”