Manchester Airports Group (MAG) has called on the government to carry out an urgent review of its new travel restrictions as the group released half-year results.
Figures for the first six months of its financial year showed MAG passenger numbers remained 82 per cent down on pre-pandemic levels, despite initial early signs of recovery over the summer.
MAG airports welcomed 6.6 million passengers between April and September, compared to 36.4 million for the same period in 2019.
The group, which owns and operates Manchester, London Stansted and East Midlands airports, saw year-on-year revenues increase by £65 million, but the figure was down 70 per cent on the same period two years ago.
Overall, MAG reported a loss before interest and tax of £76 million for the six-month period.
By contrast, the group returned £173 million in profit for the same six months in 2019.
Charlie Cornish, MAG chief executive, said: “The first half of this year tells a story of how travel restrictions held back the recovery of UK aviation, especially when compared to the rest of Europe.
“As restrictions eased, passenger numbers grew steadily at all three of our airports.
“The reintroduction of costly and inconvenient travel testing requirements has created further uncertainty and delayed our recovery.
“The government has talked openly about the damage these restrictions cause to the travel sector, but neither they nor the opposition have recognised the critical need to support our industry in return.
“As a business, we will always do our part to protect public health, but we also need these temporary measures to be removed when they are no longer worthwhile.
“These restrictions may have slowed the arrival of Omicron, but it is now transmitting in the community, and the Government needs urgently to review whether the rapidly reducing benefit of testing justifies the damage it is causing to consumer confidence.”