Manchester Airports Group chief executive has called on the government to develop a new aviation policy following the approval of a third runway at Heathrow.

Charlie Cornish said the group’s airports, which include Manchester, Stansted, East Midlands and Bournemouth, are among the most “significant drivers of economic growth” in those regions.

“With the decision on Heathrow now made, Government must quickly commit to developing a new aviation policy that will maximise these opportunities for both the country as a whole and the regions that our airports serve,” said Cornish.

“The short-term priority for Government must be to make the most of the runways we already have in the 10-15 year period before any new runway is ready and we are calling on them to support faster rail services to Stansted and reduce aviation taxes to encourage new connections from Manchester, particularly to key long haul markets.”

His comments follow MAG’s half-year results, which shows record passenger number growth.

Traffic was up 7.7 per cent year-on-year to 32 million with Manchester airport now serving more than 25 million passengers per year for the first time in its history and Stansted handling over 24 million.

Increased revenues have also been driven by the completion of terminal renovations at Stansted and East Midlands – with retail revenue across the Group up 11 per cent on last year, compared with the first six months the previous year.

MAG added that the new direct service from Manchester to Beijing with Hainan Airlines in June 2016 has been a huge success, with load factors at 90 per cent over the summer.

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