Page last updated at 10:50 GMT, Tuesday, 29 July 2008 11:50 UK

Airport profits taking off again

Manchester Airport generic
Passenger numbers were down at Manchester but up elsewhere

Profits are up for Manchester Airports Group - owners of Manchester, East Midlands, Bournemouth and Humberside airports - after two bad years.

The group - the country's second largest airport owner - reports a 16.4% rise in profits from 82.9m to 96.5m.

In 2006 and 2007, earnings were hit by a combination of travellers switching to trains, soaring security bills and low-cost flights using other airports.

It follows a costs squeeze and better returns from its shops and car parks.

Chief executive Geoff Muirhead hailed an "excellent year" and said the group was in good shape to withstand turbulent times ahead.

But he said the consumer-spending-slowdown and credit squeeze were expected to leave passenger numbers and group profits flat this year.

Group revenues during the year to 31 March rose from 385.5m to 395.7m as the strong retail and car parks performance offset lower income from airlines.

Income at Manchester rose 3.2% to 286.5m.

The group is paying a dividend of 26m to its shareholders, the 10 local authorities of Greater Manchester. It represents a rise of 1m and is the first increase since 2005.

Passenger numbers across the group saw a 2% rise from 28.6 million to 29.2 million, fuelled by strong performances at East Midlands and Bournemouth.

They fell by 200,000 at Manchester to 22 million.

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