AIRPORT bosses are "confident" of a strong recovery in 2022 after Omicron restrictions on travel were lifted last week.

Manchester Airports Group, which runs Stansted, Manchester and East Midlands, claims they were seeing a stronger recovery than other UK airports before Omicron restrictions came in.

The group says it was serving about 60 per cent of pre-pandemic traffic in November, with London Stansted recovering at the fastest rate overall.

Figures for December released this week show Stansted traffic was down by 55 per cent compared to the same month in 2019, as a result of testing requirements put in place in response to the Omicron variant.

But MAG saw bookings surge in the days following the news that pre-departure and Day 2 PCR testing would be removed.

The airport operator is now expecting to see traffic much closer to pre-pandemic levels by the end of the summer season.

CEO Charlie Cornish today said: “Now that Omicron testing requirements have been removed, people are clearly excited about where they can travel this year.

“We are confident that the recovery will be strong as we head towards to the summer, and the sharp increase in bookings in recent days is hugely encouraging.

“It is clear that the temporary reintroduction of travel restrictions impacted passenger confidence during December, which came after we had seen a strong revival of passenger volumes up to November.

“We will continue to work closely with the Government on a plan for the full removal of all remaining restrictions and hope to see that set out by the end of the month."

Stansted has already announced it is recruiting hundreds of staff to support the increase in passengers expected over the coming months.

The group will be holding a series of virtual jobs fairs later this month.

Mr Cornish said: “As we prepare our airports for the increased demand we expect to see, we’re delighted to be creating thousands of jobs right across MAG, to suit a range of experience and skills, which will all play a part in ensuring our passengers have the best possible experience as we get back to travel.”

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