Rise in Southend numbers boosts Stobart operating profit

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London Southend airport's owner Stobart Group says passenger numbers rose more than 20% and revenue per passenger more than 10% in the period 1 February to 31 July, and this year-on-year growth "has directly benefited underlying EBITDA".

The UK group is "actively working with operators to identify opportunities to bring further traffic" to Southend, it says in its pre-close trading statement for the six months ending 31 August, but it warns that passenger numbers "may be flat in the next six months".

It adds: "We have also been focused on restructuring management and developing [Southend] airport's systems to make the airport operation more efficient."

Swiss carrier SkyWork Airlines is to operate a twice-daily Southend-Bern service from October, having switched the route from London City.

For contract-flying specialist Stobart Air – of which the group owns 45% – July was a 13th consecutive month of increased passenger numbers. "We are working with the airline's management to identify further opportunities," says Stobart.

The group has meanwhile secured planning permission at the UK's Carlisle airport for an air/road freight distribution centre, which it says "also opens up potential opportunities for further development at the site, including passenger and air freight services".