manchester airport
Image Source: Nikos Roussos
MAG-O will aim to improve passengers’ end-to-end experience through technology
Richard Bell

Manchester Airports Group brings in 65 tech experts for digital overhaul

Manchester Airports Group (MAG) has established its own technology and ecommerce business.

The launch of MAG-O, which operates from an office at Manchester Airport, saw a 65-strong team of software developers, designers, system architects and user experience specialists recruited to bring the group’s three UK airports into a new digital era.

Sitting at ‘arms length’ from the rest of the group to encourage innovative thinking away from the day-to-day operation, MAG-O will aim to improve passengers’ end-to-end experience through better technology and new online products.

The investment in MAG-O, inspired by the work of tech-led brands like Amazon, Spotify, John Lewis and Asos, follows passenger feedback highlighting how people are underwhelmed generally by the digital experience on offer at the UK’s airports.

Nolan Hough, who previously ran the group’s car parking operation, has been appointed as managing director of MAG-O.

He commented: “For many of our passengers, the super-slick experiences that they get from dedicated tech companies and popular venues like Disney and the Etihad Stadium are now the norm.

“MAG-O is about bringing that sort of thinking to the way we serve our passengers, so that they can enjoy their time at the airport. Our mission is to connect up the journey in so that passengers get a much smoother, and stress-free, experience.”

He added: “Everyone within this new team comes to work aiming to challenge the wider business to evolve our passenger offering so it embraces the modern demands of both online and offline customer experience.”

Speaking further, Nolan said: “We are essentially a start-up and already MAG-O has introduced a number of changes to the wider MAG operation that have made a noticeable difference to passengers, including how they are able to find and book flights, receive live flight notifications, and purchase car parking and fast track services.”

In the future, MAG-O is aiming to deliver a “truly personalised airport experience”, Nolan explained, where passengers are guided directly to their parking spaces through mobile web services, have their food ready and waiting for them at their chosen airport restaurant and have access to personalised discounts.

MAG’s UK portfolio comprises Manchester, London Stansted and East Midlands Airports.

Bournemouth Airport was also part of the group, but MAG announced its sale earlier this week to airport business Rigby Group PLC for an undisclosed sum.

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