Stobart trading in line as London Southend Airport passengers jump 42%


London Southend Airport owner Stobart said it was continuing to trade in line with market expectations, amid a jump in airline passenger volumes.

The company, which also has energy and rail divisions, said passenger numbers at Southend Airport had risen 42% in the six months through August.

'The group is trading in line with market expectations and continues to make strong commercial progress in its two core divisions: aviation and energy,' it said.

Growth in passenger volumes was driven by the start of Ryanair flights in April, Loganair flights in May and the continued successful growth of easyJet.

From October, WizzAir would start flying from London Southend Airport, to three new destinations.

However, Stobart said that given ongoing uncertainty in the sector, in part caused by Brexit, it was taking a cautious approach to passenger forecasts in the short term.

The company, therefore, said it was working on the basis of around 2.3m passengers for the year through February 2020, representing an increase of 53% on-year.

In the energy division during the first half, the volume of waste managed rose by 148k tonnes to 806k tonnes.

That was equivalent to a run rate of 1.7m tonnes per annum - representing a 22% increase on-year.

Stobart Rail & Civils had been affected by delays to tendering for works, while the ongoing reorganisation at Network Rail had further impacted the pace of new contract awards.

'However, we are encouraged by the overall improvement in operational performance following the appointment of a new management team last year,' Stobart said.

'The division has been reoriented to focus on securing profitable new external contracts and is well placed to secure further opportunities once Control Period 6 gathers momentum.'

Chief executive Warwick Brady said the company had made considerable progress in the first half, particularly at London Southend Airport and in its waste fuel business.

'I am particularly encouraged by the quality of airline partners that we are now working with and the opportunity that brings to deliver future sustainable operating profits,' Brady said.

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