The UK’s third largest airport is set to undergo the final phase of a major overhaul this year. Manchester Airport will see its facilities expanded, advanced technology implemented, and a host of new shops, bars, restaurants and airport lounges open as part of a larger infrastructure investment.
Manchester Airports Group, which also owns London Stansted Airport and East Midlands Airport, has announced a £440 million ($541 million) investment in the airport over the next three years. The initiative is part of a £1.3 billion ($14.8 billion) transformation plan dollar) for a period of ten years, first announced in 2015. The investment will bring upgrades to the airport to optimize its capabilities and incorporate new technology to handle next-generation aircraft, including the introduction of a hydrogen pipeline.
The program will also oversee the completion of the Terminal 2 transformation, which will see progress to the check-in area, security lanes and baggage claim. Over 500 jobs will be created during the construction process, with the potential for 16,400 more by 2040, due to increased economic activity resulting from the expansion of the airport and its route network.
Upgrades to Terminal 2
The first phase of the expansion brought significant upgrades to the airport’s Terminal 2. The facility more than doubled in size with the opening of the expanded space in July 2021. The new investment covers the completion of the transformation of Terminal 2, with the last departures due to be completed in 2025.
The upgrades that are still expected for the terminal will mainly focus on improving the passenger experience. An additional security hall will be installed and equipped with next-generation security scanners. Two new check-in islands will be installed, and the works will more than double the terminal’s strong baggage capacity to more than 5,000 bags per hour. The upgrades will double the size of the existing departure lounge to incorporate a more comprehensive selection of shops and food and beverage outlets, while highlighting local businesses and products from the North.
On the side of the airport, a second pier will be built that will include additional boarding gates, matching the look and feel of the first pier that opened in 2019. A new double system for taxi lanes will also be installed to improve the efficiency of the airport, with flexible aircraft stands. Maximize capacity at the airport with two runways. Chris Woodruff, Chief Executive of Manchester Airport, expressed his excitement at the latest phase of the airport’s transformation:
“It is very exciting to announce this significant investment in Manchester Airport. It represents a major milestone in the history of our airport, and the region as a whole.
“By completing the transformation of Terminal 2, we will not only offer passengers across the North an unrivaled choice of destinations, but also provide them with world-class facilities and a great overall experience when traveling through Manchester.
“I can’t wait to see the plans come to fruition, for the benefit of all our customers, colleagues and supporters.”
Photo: Manchester Airports Group
Upon completion, 80% of all passengers will use the expanded Terminal 2. The airport’s existing Terminal 1, opened by His Royal Highness the late Duke of Edinburgh in 1962, will close after 63 years of operation.
Thousands of new jobs on the horizon
The investment plan is expected to create thousands of new jobs in the North of England. The airport hired over 700 new employees last year and is gearing up for what it expects to be a busy summer season. More than 1,500 jobs are still unfilled in customer service, security, hospitality and parking at the airport this summer. To help meet demand, the airport and more than 25 companies with operations at the airport will be hosting a Manchester Airport Job Fair on February 7 at the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce.
The North Center also announced that the project will create more than 500 jobs in the construction phase alone over the next two years. Further research by York Aviation indicated that up to 16,400 additional jobs would be created by 2040 as a result of the transformation plan being fully delivered. Manchester Airport’s contribution to the northern economy is also expected to increase by almost 80%, to 6.3 billion pounds by 2040, due, among other things, to economic activity stimulated by the expansion of the airport and its route network and the increase in business productivity in the region. British Transport Minister, Mark Harper , expressed his support for the project in a statement:
“As the airline industry recovers post-Covid, it is great news to see this significant vote of confidence in the UK.
“This investment will be a huge boost for the north, will benefit passengers flying in and out of the region, as well as support thousands of jobs.”
Photo: Manchester Airports Group
Back on track for growth in 2023
Manchester Airport has recovered much of its capacity in the past 12 months. The airport served 1.7 million passengers in December, about 88% of the passengers served during the same period in 2019. According to the airport, 95% of those passengers passed through security in 15 minutes or less. The airport served 23,369,770 passengers throughout the year, an increase of 283.2% from 2021 numbers.
Some essential routes have also returned to the airport recently. Hainan Airlines resumed its connection to Beijing in August after a two and a half year hiatus. Aer Lingus celebrated one year of transatlantic operations from the airport, and Kuwait Airways began operations in Manchester in May. Ethiopian Airlines also launched a fifth free flight to Geneva in November, continuing to Addis Ababa. Aviation Minister Baroness Vera, who toured the airport following the announcement, expressed her excitement about the project:
“Aviation has always been about breaking boundaries. Nowadays, that means everything, from providing advanced experiences to the passenger to supporting the latest innovations in low-emission and zero-emission aircraft technology.
“This investment will help place Manchester Airport at the forefront of aviation worldwide, and it was fantastic to visit the airport today and see its vision for the future which will bring huge benefits to passengers and the North alike.”
Photo: Manchester Airports Group
The upcoming summer season is also starting strong. Several airlines have announced increased services to the airport located in the north of England. Leisure company Jet2 has announced expanded services to reliable sun-drenched destinations, including Mallorca, Tenerife, Gran Canaria and Faro, to mark the conclusion.
Source: BBC, Manchester Airports Group