What was the thinking behind MAG’s decision to extend its business interests overseas?
Manchester Airport Group [MAG] is already the largest UK-owned airport operator, operating four airports that contribute more than $6 billion to the UK economy. As a commercial organisation with both public and private sector shareholders, we are always looking at ways to increase shareholder value.
With our airports consistently outperforming the market and achieving revenues of $1.1 billion in 2015, an overseas expansion was an obvious opportunity for further growth.
MAG USA was launched in 2015 as an airport development, management and services company in North America, with an ultimate objective of becoming the ‘go-to’ organisation for developing market-leading commercial solutions that transform customer experiences in airports.
Why the USA?
As MAG’s first international venture, the USA was a clear choice for us. In terms of culture and language we are closely related, but furthermore a number of opportunities exist across the states for our successful products to transform the travelling experience; MAG’s shareholders are both public and private, this unique ownership structure means that like most US airports, our focus is on improving the customer experience for our passengers.
We have already enjoyed great success in our first year with the opening of our very first lounge at Minneapolis-St Paul Airport and our premium, common-use Escape lounges opening in the fall of 2016 at Oakland and Bradley International Airports.
What is your business development strategy and what are you main areas of focus?
Though we manage whole airports in the UK, from operating our own car parks to our running our own air traffic control, MAG USA is focused on offering three proven products that add value by enhancing the airport experience:
Escape is MAG’s award winning common use lounge. The lounge offers a relaxing atmosphere away from the hustle and bustle of the airport environment and provides all of the amenities a passenger can desire: unlimited fresh food and drink, high speed Wi-Fi, Flight Information Displays visible from every seat, iPads and charging stations as well as an array of magazines and newspapers to name but a few. As a common use lounge, anyone can enjoy our relaxing lounge.
MAG has a proven track record in transforming car park operations into highly profitable, customer service focused businesses. Our commercial expertise, combined with our innovative approach to product development, has given us a tried and tested formula for attracting customers and driving revenue growth for airports. In addition to being profitable, our car parking services improve the traveller’s experience, which is reflected in our exceptional Airport Service Quality (ASQ) scores.
P3 and terminal developments that transform the passenger experience have been a major factor in MAG’s commercial success and customer satisfaction. Whether it is a P3 or traditional development, MAG’s industry leading retail and marketing expertise enhances the customer’s journey through the airport. MAG has recently completed a successful redevelopment of London Stansted Airport and is in the midst of a $1.5 billion redevelopment of our terminals at Manchester Airport.
Are you an equity investor?
MAG USA has invested 100% equity in its portfolio of three lounges in the USA. We assess each opportunity individually and the level of equity investment will be unique depending on the product size and other commercial terms.
How important to MAG USA are car parking services and developing your network of Escape Lounges?
Very! We are extremely confident in the quality, convenience and value that both our Escape Lounge and Car Parking products can bring to US consumers. We have seen great success in the UK and are confident that we can replicate that success in the US. Crucially, all of our products not only make commercial sense, but they each contribute to an improved airport experience.