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Birmingham Airport profits soar after 'busiest ever year'

Sandwell | News | Published:

Soaraway profits have rocketed by 80 per cent at Birmingham Airport as it enjoyed its busiest-ever year, new figures reveal.

Pre-tax profit jumped to £25 million in the 12 months to the end of March, according to accounts newly filed at Companies House.

As passenger figures and air traffic soared to new highs, turnover at the airport grew by £9.5m to £130.5m.

In their strategic report, directors said: "During the year ended March 2016, Birmingham Airport reported its busiest ever year and for the first time in the airport's history 10 million passengers passed through the terminals.

"It was also the fifth consecutive year of passenger growth, surpassing the previous record set during 2015/16 by 5.5 per cent."

The airport earns its income from two key revenue streams. Aeronautical income is generated by charges levied on airlines, for aircraft and passengers using its facilities. Commercial income is from activities including duty free shopping, car parking, catering and property rental.

The report reveals that Birmingham's aeronautical income grew by four per cent in the year but the commercial side enjoyed another strong year with income up 10.5 per cent, boosted by developments in the terminal with a new Giraffe restaurant and revamps to its Wetherspoon pub and Dixons and Next shops.

New duty free brands including Jo Malone, Bobbi Brown, Urban Decay and a World of Whisky along with the new Joe and the Juice coffee shop are expected to help boost income this year.

It was a year that also saw 11 new airlines signing up to fly from Birmingham, including American Airlines, Wizz Air, Vueling, Iberia Express, Qatar, Icelandair, Czech Airlines, VLM and Blue Air.

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But hopes 2015's extended summer charter flights to China would turn into a permanent service crashed earlier this year when tour operator Caissa Touristic pulled out.

2015 saw a string of new flight destinations, however, as passenger numbers grew to 10.4 million. That growth has continued unabated this year, with figures earlier this week revealing 11 million people passed through the West Midlands gateway over the last 12 months.

The most popular destinations last year were Dublin, Dubai and Amsterdam.

The year saw employee costs rising almost 18 per cent as the airport took air traffic control services in-house, ending its contract with national service NATS. The airport now employs 619 people, 33 more than in the previous year.

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Operating profit at the group, before exceptional items, increased 28.8 per cent to £39.3m with higher income partially offset by higher operating costs.

The airport is half owned by the eight West Midlands local councils, including Wolverhampton, Walsall, Dudley, Sandwell and Birmingham, and half by Canada's Ontario Teachers Pension Fund. Employees also have a small stake.

The success of the business saw them benefitting from dividend payouts of £94.6 million, including a special dividend of £74.7m paid in April.

After more than £23 million spending on major projects the previous year, the airport's capital project budget fell to just £9.7m last year to pay for an upgrade to its baggage system, a new airbridge for the Emirates A380 superjumbo, security search equipment and more energy efficient LED lighting in the car park.

Yesterday, it emerged passengers had hit out after being forced to wait nearly two hours for their baggage at Birmingham Airport.

Arrivals from Istanbul, Paphos and Dalaman said they were waiting for up to an hour and 45 minutes after their flights on Wednesday.

They took to Twitter to share their disgust.

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