Manchester Airport

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Manchester Airport
WMO: 03334
Airport type Public
Owner Manchester Airports Group
Operator Manchester Airport Plc
Serves Greater Manchester and North West England
Location Ringway, Manchester
Hub for Flybe[1]
Elevation AMSL 257 ft / 78 m
Coordinates Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found.
MAN is located in Manchester
Location within Manchester
Direction Length Surface
m ft
05L/23R 3,048 10,000 Concrete
05R/23L 3,050 10,007 Concrete/
grooved asphalt
Statistics (2014)
Passengers 21,989,682
Passenger change 13–14 Increase6.0%
Aircraft Movements 170,639
Movements change 13–14 Increase0.7%
Sources: UK AIP at NATS[2]
Statistics from the UK Civil Aviation Authority[3]

Manchester Airport (IATA: MANICAO: EGCC) is an international airport in Ringway, Manchester, England, 7.5 nautical miles (13.9 km; 8.6 mi) south west of Manchester city centre.[2][4] In 2014, it was the third busiest airport in the United Kingdom in terms of passenger numbers.[3][5] Manchester Airport has flights to around 225 destinations,[6] three terminals, a goods terminal and two runways, each over 3,281 yd (3,000 m) in length. The airport covers an area of 1,440 acres (580 ha).

Officially opened on 25 June 1938,[7] it was initially known as Ringway Airport. In World War II, as RAF Ringway, it was a base for the Royal Air Force. The airport is owned and managed by the Manchester Airports Group (MAG), a holding company owned by the Australian finance house IFM Investors and the ten metropolitan borough councils of Greater Manchester, with Manchester City Council owning the largest stake.

The airport regularly handled the supersonic transport Concorde and houses the British Airways G-BOAC flagship Concorde at the Manchester Runway Visitor Park. Ringway, after which the airport was named, is a village with a few buildings and church at the southern edge of the airport. The airport handled 20.8 million passengers in 2013 and has capacity for up to 50 million passengers annually.[8] This potential figure is limited by the airport's restriction to 61 aircraft movements per hour.[9] Future developments include the £800 million Manchester Airport City logistics, manufacturing, office and hotel space next to the airport, and transport improvements such as the SEMMMS relief road and a High Speed 2 station.


Early years

Circa 1925 map of the area where Manchester Airport and Wythenshawe now are

Manchester Airport (earlier called Ringway Airport) started construction on 28 November 1935 and opened partly in June 1937 and completely on 25 June 1938, in Ringway parish north of Wilmslow.[citation needed]Its north border was Yewtree Lane (on this map, the lane between Firtree Farm and The Grange, east of the crossroads marked "Ringway"). Its southeast border was a little west of Altrincham Road (Styal) (the lane from Oversleyford running northeast then east into the Styal area.)

During World War II it was the Royal Air Force's base RAF Ringway, and was important in military aircraft production and training parachutists. After World War II, the base reverted to a civilian airport, and gradually expanded to its present size. Historically, Manchester Airport was consistently the busiest airport after London Heathrow for a number of decades following the War.[10]

In 1972, the M56 motorway opened to the airport. By 1993, the airport railway station opened. From 1997 to 2001 its second runway was built, causing large-scale protests in the area.[citation needed]

Later events

More recently British Airways have scaled down operations from the Manchester Airport with the sale of their BA Connect subsidiary to Flybe; and the ending of their franchise agreement with GB Airways a business subsequently sold to Easyjet. In October 2008 the daily New York-JFK service was also terminated and in March 2013, the frequent service to London-Gatwick was terminated as well. This leaves a daily high frequency BA Shuttle serving London Heathrow. In codeshare with British Airways Oneworld Alliance partner American Airlines operations remain in Terminal 3 with daily flights to both New York-JFK and Chicago-O'Hare. American Airlines has since merged with US Airways, which offers year-round service to Philadelphia and operated a seasonal route to Charlotte, North Carolina in the summer of 2014 (now terminated).[11][12]

Since taking over BA Connect's select routes, Flybe has gone on to add several more destinations. In 2012, Flybe introduced the "mini hub" concept coordinating the arrival and departure times of various domestic services throughout the day and thereby creating combinations such as Norwich-Manchester-Belfast, Glasgow-Manchester-Southampton or even Edinburgh-Manchester-Exeter, and others to be accomplished in each direction with conveniently short transfer times.[13]

In 2013 Virgin Atlantic introduced its 'Little Red' short-haul brand to take-up some of the available Heathrow and Gatwick slots. Manchester was the inaugural destination, with further roll-outs subsequently including Aberdeen and Edinburgh. Initially, these services are operated by aircraft 'wet-leased' from Aer Lingus. There are currently four flights in each direction between Manchester and London which are described as timed to coincide with Virgin Atlantic's international schedules. However, Virgin have announced that from March 2015 the Little Red services will cease due to low popularity. Therefore, the MAN/EDI/ABZ routes will stop early 2015.[14]

Future airport expansion

Manchester Airport viewed from the south-west
Terminal 1 skylink

As part of the Government's 'The Future of Air Transport' White Paper, Manchester Airport published its Master Plan on its proposed expansions until 2030. Demolition of older buildings, such as old storage buildings, the old Alpha Catering Building and Males Garage, to the east of Terminal 3 has already begun, to make way for a new apron and taxiway towards runway 05L/23R, and an eastwards extension of Terminal 3, which is planned to provide 15 more covered stands. A full-length parallel taxiway may be added to the second runway, and more crossing points added across the first runway to improve ground movements of aircraft.[citation needed]

Passenger flow on Terminal 1's gating piers is due to be realigned, with plans to redesign the piers so departures and arrivals do not contraflow on the same level, allowing larger seating areas at the gates, express retail outlets, and a dedicated lounge and gating area for future Airbus A380 flights. Currently, Gate 12, Pier B has been upgraded to accommodate the A380, the only gate at the airport that can handle this aircraft so far. An early phase of this has seen the removal of the South Bay remote aircraft stands, constructed in 1962 between taxiways Juliet and Kilo, and as a result more recently re-aligning taxiway Juliet into an extended taxiway Bravo.

Terminal 2 is due to receive a major extension, to encompass current remote stands to the west. A satellite terminal is also projected for Terminal 2. Between twelve and fifteen covered aircraft stands will be made available by this. An air side link for transferring passengers between Terminals 1 and 2 is at the planning stage, designed in an effort to boost Manchester's chances of becoming a major hub airport and minimise missed connections.

Terminal 3 acquired an extra security control area in November 2007, near check-in area C, dedicated to passengers travelling to Common Travel Area (CTA) destinations. In January 2008, the usage was extended to all Terminal 3 passengers, with the exception of those destined for Frankfurt, Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport and Brussels. This new security control area is now used for all departures from Terminal 3; the old security area has now closed and the area which it once covered is now part of the Terminal 3 air-side departure lounge, housing the retail outlets Accessorize and Dixons Travel.

There also plans to create a business centre to help encourage businesses to set up in Manchester.

Expansion plans 2010 to 2030

Manchester Airport has made no secret of ambitious development plans to meet the growing demand to fly. One document "The Need for Land" outlines many development ideas that have been mooted for decades and will provide required capacity and more jobs over coming years. Those neighbouring the Airport have natural concerns about how expansion will alter their lives and Manchester Airport has taken great care to listen to concerns and incorporate feedback to make growth more acceptable. Five affected areas are:

Area Where Current use Planned use (if not already constructed)
Area A A triangle of land between the A538 road and Runway 1 and the cargo terminal Now under development to be available for summer 2016. Adjoins a deep natural gully called Cotterill Clough (that will not be developed). Expansion of aircraft maintenance and cargo terminal areas. Clough area to be enhanced with mitigation measures that will become part of the extensive Landscape Habitat Management Area. The A538 alignment to be retained and capacity added as required by increased traffic volumes.
Area E A triangle of land west of the A538 up to the M56, with its west corner opposite Warburton Green. Constructed cargo shed for DHL and roads laid out to accommodate future developments.
Area B A area north of Ringway Road and east of Shadow Moss Road Constructed car park incorporating 8 Hectares of Mitigation Areas. These Areas incorporate bunds, planting and fencing to provide a visual and physical barrier between parked cars and residential dwellings Constructed car park; providing replacement spaces for those lost to the Airport City development and apron expansion.
Area C Land inside the M56 / M56 spur junction; land further east between the spur and Woodhouse Park open land hotel, offices, etc.
The present northwestern airport car park car park aircraft taxiing and apron area. Thorley Lane to be diverted round its west edge.
Land around Hasty Lane east of M56 houses; unused land
Land around the current M56 spur Haletop Farm; other houses; M56 spur car parking and access.
Area D land on both sides of Manchester Airport railway spur open land, derelict market garden land car parking
Smithy Farm; land east of B5166 Styal Road around and inside railway spur junction farm and various offices, hotel, etc.

World Logistics Hub

The Hub is part of the Airport City Enterprise Developments in South Manchester. This development is designed to meet the growing demand for cargo handling space and infrastructure outside of the southeast. Positioned on the southwest side of the A538 road next to the southeast side of the M56 motorway (across the A538 from the World Freight Terminal) providing access to the trunk motorway network via Junction 6. DHL are the first tenant and are already using their shed. Another shed is now externally complete but the inside is now being fitted out in time for September when Amazon will move in. Over the next decade the site will generate around 10,000 jobs. As the site grows increased capacity will be added to the A538 with the extension of the dual carriageway between the M56 and runway tunnels and a traffic light controlled junction; improving access to the Runway Visitor Park and Romper pub.


Manchester Airport has three passenger terminals (Terminals 1, 2 and 3). Terminals 1 and 2 are linked by the skylink, with travelators to aid passengers with the 10–15-minute walk. Terminal 3 is linked to Terminal 1 and the skylink by a covered walkway. The "skylink" also connects the terminals to the airport railway station complex (known as "The Station") and the Radisson BLU Hotel. The Skylink started construction in 1996 and opened 1997. Expansion to the Radisson Hotel was completed in 1998 when the hotel opened.[citation needed]

Terminal 1

A departure hall at Terminal 1

Terminal 1 is used by airlines with scheduled and charter operations, flying to European and other worldwide destinations. It is the largest terminal at the airport. It was opened in 1962, by Prince Phillip, the Duke of Edinburgh,[citation needed] and it is a base for EasyJet, Jet2 and Thomas Cook. Some other airlines that fly out of Terminal 1 include Air Transat Brussels Airlines, Emirates, Etihad Airways, Lufthansa, Swiss, TAP Portugal and Turkish Airlines. Terminal 1 is spread over an area of 110,000 m2 (1,200,000 sq ft).

The terminal has 2 Piers of which combined have 29 stands, of which 15 have air bridges, and is the largest of the three terminals. Gate 12 was specially adapted to accommodate the Airbus A380 which is operated by Emirates on their route from Dubai to Manchester.[15] Terminal 1's current capacity is around 11 million passengers a year.[16] compared with an annual capacity of 2.5 million passengers when it first opened.[16]

In the Summer of 2009, a £50 million redevelopment programme for Terminal 1 was completed.[17] As part of the overhaul, which took over 2 years, a new £14 million 14-lane security area opened during April 2008. The terminal's arrivals area has since been revamped with additional catering and retail facilities. Terminal 1's departure lounge has been expanded with a greater choice of shops and restaurants, following the virtual elimination of the landside area, and additional executive lounges have been added. Following the 2007 smoking ban, the indoor ventilated smoking room in the departure lounge was closed, however this was replaced in 2010 by a rooftop smoking terrace to allow passengers to smoke after passing through security.

Terminal 1 will not be included in the 10 Year Airport expansion project, and will be closed and demolished by around 2022. However Pier B in Terminal 1 is due to be kept and will be entirely rebuilt.[18]

Terminal 2

Aircraft at Terminal 2

Terminal 2 is used by a variety of airlines, operating both charter and scheduled flights to many European and worldwide destinations. It opened in 1993 and it is a base for Monarch, Thomson Airways and Virgin Atlantic. Some other airlines that use the terminal include Air Malta, Singapore Airlines, Qatar Airways, and United Airlines. Cathay Pacific returned to the Terminal in December 2014 and operate a service to their hub at Hong Kong. Terminal 2 is spread over an area of 52,000 m2 (560,000 sq ft).

Terminal 2 has 20 gates, of which 14 have air bridges. The design of the terminal makes it capable of extensive expansion; planning permission already exists for an extension providing additional gates, together with the construction of a satellite pier. Terminal 2's current capacity is around 8 million passengers a year, this will be extended to ultimately handle 25 million passengers a year.[16] In 2007, an £11 million project commenced to redevelop Terminal 2 by improving security facilities and enhancing retail and catering services. This has resulted in the elimination of the land-side shopping area to allow for an expanded air-side departure lounge. The ground level arrivals area has also been redeveloped with improved catering and retail facilities. Like Terminal 1, following the 2007 smoking ban, the indoor ventilated smoking room in the departure lounge was closed, however this was replaced in 2009 by an external smoking area at Gate 300 to allow passengers to smoke after passing through security. The departure lounge also has an unsupervised children's play area at Gate 212. Terminal 2's new upper-level security area opened during July 2008 and the entire terminal redevelopment completed during autumn 2009.

It was announced in June 2015 that the airport would have an expansion taking 10 years to complete. Terminal 2 will be the most developed, adding new piers to the terminal and also create a larger security hall as well as more outlets. There will also be a connecting hallway to Terminal 3 so passengers won't have to leave the Terminal to transfer between terminals.[19]

Terminal 3

Terminal 3

Terminal 3 was opened in 1989 by Diana, Princess of Wales as 'Terminal 1 Domestic' before re-designating as Terminal 3 in May 1998. The terminal was known in succession as "Terminal 1 – British Airways", "Terminal 1A" and "Terminal 3 – British Airways and Domestic" before becoming simply known as Terminal 3.

In June 1998, British Airways opened their new £75 million terminal facility designed by Grimshaw Architects, this being a major extension to Terminal 3, and became the primary user of the terminal along with codeshare partner airlines (Oneworld Alliance). Terminal 3 now spreads over an area of 44,400 m2 (478,000 sq ft).

British Airways currently operates a high frequency shuttle to their main hub at Heathrow Airport from Manchester Terminal 3. It operated a shuttle to its second hub at Gatwick Airport until March 2013, but the route was dropped after a fall in demand.[20]

This Terminal now handles the majority of domestic routes from Manchester as well as some scheduled European flights. American Airlines operates daily flights to the USA from Terminal 3.

It is now primarily a base for low-cost carriers Flybe and Ryanair. Some other airlines that fly out of Terminal 3 include Air France, British Airways, Iberia Express and KLM.

Terminal 3 is to get a major expansion during the airport's 10 year expansion project. The terminal is to be expanded as well as also getting a connecting hallway to Terminal 2 so passengers won't have to change Terminals between flights.[19]


The airport has over 50 airline customers operating a global network of scheduled, charter and freight services.

North American carriers at Manchester include American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines. The Virgin Atlantic scheduled USA services are also joined by Thomas Cook Airlines with frequent services to New York and Miami.[21] and Boston and Los Angeles in summer 2016[22] Europe is connected via an extensive range of scheduled and charter services coving all major alliance hubs, important cities and holiday destinations. Scheduled airlines with a base at Manchester include easyJet, Flybe,, Monarch Airlines, Ryanair and Virgin Atlantic. Charter airlines with a base at Manchester include Thomas Cook Airlines and Thomson Airways.

Manchester Airport offers flights to over 190 destinations across the globe and 65 tour operators utilise the facility.[23] Many of Manchester's overseas routes are served by charter flights to holiday destinations, some being seasonal. The proportion of scheduled passengers passing through Manchester has increased from 43% in 1991 to 68% during 2009.[24]

Airlines and destinations


Airlines Destinations Terminal
Adria Airways Seasonal: Ljubljana 3
Aegean Airlines Seasonal: Athens 1
Aer Lingus Dublin 1
Aer Lingus Regional
operated by Stobart Air
Cork, Dublin 1
Air Canada Rouge Seasonal: Toronto-Pearson 2
Air France Paris-Charles de Gaulle 3
Air Malta Malta 2
Air Transat Toronto-Pearson
Seasonal: Calgary, Vancouver
American Airlines New York-JFK, Philadelphia
Seasonal: Chicago-O'Hare[25]
Aurigny Air Services Guernsey 1
Austrian Airlines Vienna[26]
Seasonal: Innsbruck
BH Air Seasonal charter: Burgas, Sofia, Varna 1
Belavia Seasonal: Minsk 2
British Airways London-Heathrow 3
British Airways
operated by SUN-AIR
Billund, Gothenburg-Landvetter 3
Brussels Airlines Brussels 1
Cathay Pacific Hong Kong 2
Condor Fuerteventura, Ibiza, Palma de Mallorca, Tenerife-South[27]
Seasonal: Burgas, Heraklion, Kos, Lanzarote,[28] Zakynthos
Corendon Airlines Seasonal charter: Antalya 2
Delta Air Lines New York-JFK[29] 2
Denim Air Charter: Innsbruck 3
easyJet Alicante, Amsterdam, Athens, Basel/Mulhouse, Belfast-International, Berlin-Schönefeld, Bilbao, Catania, Copenhagen, Funchal,[30] Geneva, Gibraltar (begins 3 July 2016) Hamburg, Málaga, Malta, Marrakech, Marseille,[31] Milan-Malpensa (begins 10 June 2016), Munich, Paphos, Paris-Charles de Gaulle (begins 13 June 2016), Pisa, Porto,[31] Prague, Reykjavík-Keflavík, Sharm el-Sheikh (suspended),[32] Sofia, Tel Aviv-Ben Gurion, Tenerife-South, Venice, Vienna [33]
Seasonal: Antalya, Bastia, Cephalonia,[31] Corfu, Dalaman, Heraklion, Lyon, Mykonos, Olbia (begins 18 June 2016), Palma de Mallorca,[34] Santorini, Split,[31] Thessaloniki, Tivat (begins 27 March 2016)[35]
Emirates Dubai-International 1
Enter Air Charter: Heraklion, Preveza, Zakynthos, Enontekio, Kiruna 2
Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi 1
Eurowings Düsseldorf, Hamburg 1
operated by Nordic Regional Airlines
Helsinki 1
Flybe Aberdeen, Amsterdam,[36] Belfast-City, Düsseldorf, Edinburgh, Exeter, Glasgow-International, Hannover, Jersey, Knock, Milan-Malpensa, Nantes, Newquay, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Rotterdam, Southampton
Seasonal: La Rochelle, Lyon, Rennes
Seasonal charter: Calvi, Geneva, Verona
operated by Loganair
Inverness,[37] Norwich, Glasgow-International 3
operated by Stobart Air
Isle of Man[38] 3
Freebird Airlines Seasonal charter: Bodrum, Dalaman, Izmir 2
Germania Seasonal charter: Corfu, Heraklion, Larnaca, Rhodes, Skiathos, Thessaloniki, Zakynthos 2
Germanwings Cologne/Bonn 1
Hainan Airlines Beijing-Capital (begins 10 June 2016)[39] 2
Iberia Express Madrid[40] 3
Icelandair Reykjavík-Keflavík 1
Jetairfly Seasonal: Palma de Mallorca 2 Alicante, Budapest, Funchal, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, Málaga, Murcia, Prague, Rome-Fiumicino, Tenerife-South, Venice
Seasonal: Antalya,[41] Barcelona, Bodrum, Cephalonia , Chambéry, Corfu, Dalaman, Dubrovnik, Faro, Geneva, Girona (begins 20 May 2016), Grenoble, Heraklion, Ibiza, Kefalonia,[42] Kraków (begins 28 April 2016), Kos, Larnaca, Lyon, Malta,[43] Menorca, Naples (begins 29 April 2016), Nice, Palma de Mallorca, Paphos, Pisa, Pula, Reus, Rhodes, Salzburg, Split, Toulouse, Turin, Zakynthos
KLM Amsterdam 3
Lufthansa Frankfurt, Munich 1
Monarch Airlines[44] Agadir (ends 30 April 2016), Alicante, Barcelona, Faro, Fuerteventura, Funchal (begins 1 May 2016), Gibraltar, Gran Canaria, Hurghada (ends 29 April 2016), Lanzarote, Lisbon (begins 1 May 2016), Málaga, Naples, Palma de Mallorca, Sharm el Sheikh (suspended),[32] Tel Aviv-Ben Gurion (begins 19 April 2016),[45] Tenerife-South, Venice-Marco Polo, Verona
Seasonal: Almeria, Dalaman, Friedrichshafen, Geneva, Grenoble, Ibiza, Innsbruck, Kos, Lyon, Menorca, Preveza, Rhodes
Norwegian Air Shuttle Oslo-Gardermoen, Stockholm-Arlanda, Stavanger 1
Nouvelair Charter: Enfidha[46] 1
Onur Air Seasonal charter: Dalaman, Ercan 2
Pakistan International Airlines Islamabad, Lahore, New York-JFK1 2
Pegasus Airlines Seasonal: Bodrum (begins 30 May 2016), Dalaman 1
Qatar Airways Doha 2
Ryanair Alicante, Barcelona, Bratislava (begins 1 April 2016),[47] Brindisi, Bremen, Bergamo, Budapest, Charleroi, Carcassonne (begins 1 April 2016), Dublin, Eindhoven, Faro, Fuerteventura, Gdańsk, Gran Canaria, Kraków, Lanzarote, Limoges (begins 3 April 2016), Lisbon, Madrid, Málaga, Malta, Moss, Riga, Rome-Ciampino, Rzeszów, Shannon, Stuttgart,[48] Tenerife-South, Warsaw-Modlin
Seasonal: Beauvais, Béziers, Bologna, Chania,[49] Corfu, Girona,[49] Ibiza, Murcia,[49] Palma de Mallorca, Valencia, Zadar
Saudia Jeddah 2
Scandinavian Airlines Bergen, Copenhagen, Oslo-Gardermoen, Stockholm-Arlanda 1
Shaheen Air Islamabad (begins 1 March 2016)[50] 2
Singapore Airlines Munich, Singapore 2
Small Planet Airlines Seasonal charter: Chania, Corfu, Heraklion, Kos, Larnaca, Palma de Mallorca (begins 28 May 2016),[51] Preveza, Rhodes,[52] Skiathos, Volos, Zakynthos 2
Swiss International Air Lines Zürich 1
Swiss International Air Lines
operated by Helvetic Airways
Zürich 1
TAP Portugal Lisbon 1
TAP Portugal
operated by Portugália
Lisbon 1
Thomas Cook Airlines Alicante (resumes 22 May 2016),[53] Cancún, Cayo Coco, Gran Canaria, Holguin, Lanzarote, Las Vegas, Montego Bay, Punta Cana, Tenerife-South, Varadero
Seasonal: Almería, Antalya, Antigua, Banjul, Boston (begins 30 May 2016),[54] Barbados, Bodrum, Burgas, Corfu, Dalaman, Djerba, Faro, Fuerteventura, Funchal, Goa, Grenoble, Heraklion, Hurghada, Ibiza, Innsbruck, Lleida-Alguaire, Izmir, Kalamata, Kavala (begins 6 May 2016), Kefalonia, Kos, Larnaca, Los Angeles (begins 2 May 2016),[54] Malta, Menorca, Miami, Monastir, Naples, New York-JFK, Orlando-International, Palma de Mallorca, Paphos, Preveza, Reus, Rhodes, Sal, Salzburg, Santorini, Sharm el-Sheikh(Suspended),[32] Skiathos, St Lucia, Tobago (begins 13 November 2016), Thessaloniki, Turin, Zakynthos
Charter: Girona, Venice-Marco Polo
Thomson Airways Agadir, Alicante, Antalya, Boa Vista, Cancún, Enfidha, Fuerteventura, Funchal, Gran Canaria, Hurghada, Innsbruck, La Palma, Lanzarote, Luxor, Málaga, Malta, Marrakech, Montego Bay, Orlando-Sanford, Paphos, Puerto Plata, Puerto Vallarta, Punta Cana, Sal, Salzburg, Sharm el-Sheikh (suspended),[32] Tenerife-South, Verona
Seasonal: Alghero, Almeria, Aruba (resumes 2 May 2016), Barbados, Bodrum, Burgas, Catania, Chambéry, Chania, Corfu, Dalaman, Djerba, Dubai-Al Maktoum (begins 3 November 2016), Dubrovnik, Faro, Geneva, Girona, Goa (resumes 2 November 2016), Grenoble, Heraklion, Ibiza, Ivalo, Izmir, Jerez, Kavala, Kefalonia, Kos, Larnaca, Mauritius (begins 10 November 2016), Menorca, Naples, Palma de Mallorca, Phuket (begins 3 November 2016), Porto Santo, Preveza, Pula, Reus, Reykjavík-Keflavík, Rhodes, Santorini, Skiathos, Sofia, Split, Thessaloniki, Toulouse, Turin, Venice, Zakynthos
Turkish Airlines Istanbul-Atatürk 1
United Airlines Newark
Seasonal: Washington-Dulles
Virgin Atlantic Atlanta, Barbados, Orlando-International
Seasonal: Las Vegas
Vueling Alicante (begins 17 June 2016), Barcelona,[55] Rome-Fiumicino (begins 24 June 2016)[56] 3
  • ^1 Pakistan International's flight from New York to Lahore is nonstop, however the flight from Lahore to New York makes a stopover in Manchester (UK), where the airline has fifth freedom rights to board passengers to New York.


Airlines Destinations
BinAir Asturias
DHL Aviation Leipzig/Halle
FedEx Express Birmingham, Paris-Charles de Gaulle
FedEx Feeder
operated by ASL Airlines Ireland
Glasgow-International, Liège, London-Stansted, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Shannon
Lufthansa Cargo Frankfurt, Los Angeles[57]
Saudia Cargo Taif


Passenger numbers

Passenger numbers at Manchester peaked in 2006 when over 22.4 million passed through the airport. In 2014 around 22 million passengers used the airport, an increase of 6% compared with 2013, making Manchester the third busiest airport in the UK in terms of annual passenger throughput.[3]

Emirates A380 (A6-EDI) landing at MAN
An Etihad Airways Boeing 777-300ER departing from MAN wearing the current livery
Manchester Airport Passenger Totals 1997–2014 (millions)
Updated: 26 March 2015.[58]
A Thomson Airways Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner taxiing
Number of Passengers[59] Number of Movements[60] Freight
1997 15,948,454 147,405 94,318
1998 17,351,162 162,906 100,099
1999 17,577,765 169,941 107,803
2000 18,568,709 178,468 116,602
2001 19,307,011 182,097 106,406
2002 18,809,185 177,545 113,279
2003 19,699,256 191,518 122,639
2004 21,249,841 208,493 149,181
2005 22,402,856 217,987 147,484
2006 22,422,855 229,729 148,957
2007 22,112,625 222,703 165,366
2008 21,219,195 204,610 141,781
2009 18,724,889 172,515 102,543
2010 17,759,015 147,032 115,922
2011 18,892,756 158,025 107,415
2012 19,736,502 160,473 96,822
2013 20,751,581 161,306 96,373
2014 21,989,682 162,919 93,466
Source: United Kingdom Civil Aviation Authority[3]

Busiest routes

Busiest routes (2014)[3]
Rank Airport Passengers handled % change
1 London-Heathrow 858,786 Increase010
2 Dubai 799,864 Increase04
3 Dublin 755,594 Increase022
4 Tenerife South 743,069 Increase07
5 Amsterdam 728,198 Increase06
6 Palma de Mallorca 654,543 Decrease04
7 Alicante 597,580 Decrease03
8 Málaga 545,042 Increase010
9 Paris-Charles de Gaulle 506,018 Steady00
10 Dalaman 470,644 Increase01
11 Abu Dhabi 435,978 Increase027
12 Orlando 394,547 Increase022
13 Faro 394,500 Decrease05
14 Arrecife de Lanzarote 388,189 Increase021
15 Frankfurt 375,183 Increase012
16 Munich 324,492 Increase03
17 Sharm el-Sheikh 308,158 Decrease04
18 Belfast-City 297,467 Increase06
19 Copenhagen 294,885 Increase014
20 Paphos 289,243 Steady00
21 Doha 239,380 Decrease02


Maintenance bases

Manchester Airport is the home to the engineering bases of Thomas Cook Airlines and Monarch Airlines. Airlines such as Etihad Airways also have one of six maintenance bases worldwide in Manchester with their newly opened line maintenance facility.[61]

World Freight Terminal

Antonov An-225 at Manchester Airport in 2006

Manchester Airport has a World Freight Terminal, serving cargo-only freighter services and cargo carried on regular passenger flights.[62] It was opened in 1986, west of the original airfield. There is 550,000 sq ft (51,000 m2) of warehouse and office space on site, including a chiller unit for frozen products and a border inspection post. There are three aircraft maintenance hangars, with five transit sheds, operated by British Airways Regional Cargo, Swissport Cargo, Menzies World Cargo, Plane Handling and Servisair. There are over 100 freight forwarding companies on site.[62]

Freight throughput at the airport grew from 94,000 tonnes in 1997 to the peak at 165,000 tonnes in 2007, but then declined to around 97,000 tonnes in 2012, making Manchester the fifth-busiest UK airport for freight behind London Heathrow, East Midlands, London Stansted and Gatwick airports.[3]


The A538 road runs beneath both runways via two separate tunnels. Part of the road is exposed between both runways.
The new control tower, opened in June 2013, with Thomson Airways' Boeing 787 Dreamliner taxiing in at the end of its delivery flight.
Manchester Airport Fire Service

Manchester Airport has two parallel runways. Runway 1 (23R/05L) 3,048 m × 45 m (10,000 ft × 148 ft), and Runway 2 (23L/05R) 3,050 m × 45 m (10,007 ft × 148 ft).[2] The parallel runways lie 390 m (1,280 ft) apart and staggered by 1,850 m (6,070 ft) so that landings can be conducted independently on one runway whilst takeoffs are conducted on the other.[63]

The original main runway, then designated 06/24 and initially 3,300 ft (1,006 m) in length,[64] opened on 17 May 1937[65] when the airport was used as an RAF base and a military aircraft assembly centre. It was extended in stages from 1952, reaching its current length in 1981 to attract long-haul international traffic. As demand and aircraft movements both increased during the mid-1990s, mainly due to the newly completed Terminal 2, the airport studied the option of a second full-length runway. A consultation process began and planning permission was approved in 1997, with construction work starting the same year.

The second runway, initially designated 06R/24L,[66] became operational on 5 February 2001[65] at a cost of £172 million,[66] and was the first full-length commercial runway to open in Britain for over 20 years.[66] The site where the second runway was constructed was on the southern airfield boundary, which is near the village of Styal in the Cheshire countryside. The project was deemed controversial because of the destruction of natural wildlife habitats[67] and because of changes to flight paths to enable aircraft to fly in and out of the second runway. Aircraft landing from the southwest on to Runway 2 (05R) fly lower over the residential area of Knutsford.[68] As aircraft rarely land on to Runway 2 from the northeast (Runway 23L) or takeoff from Runway 2 to the northeast (Runway 05R) there has been no change to the path of aircraft over Heald Green, Cheadle and Stockport.

Planning permission for Runway 2 (23L/05R) permits use of both runways between the hours of 0600-2200.[65] At night between the hours of 2200-0600 single runway operations based on Runway 1 (23R/05L) are used.[65] Exceptions are made for emergencies and planned maintenance. In practice, dual runway operations incorporating Runway 2 (23L/05R) are only used at peak demand, which is currently in the morning and then again between 1300-2000hrs.[69]

Most aircraft arriving into Manchester Airport use the Instrument Landing System, which in line with most other airports has a glide slope of 3 degrees equal to descending 318 feet per nautical mile.[65] The prevailing wind direction is westerly, so normally aircraft fly from northeast to southwest. In practice this means that normally aircraft land from the northeast over Stockport, Cheadle and Heald Green and takeoff towards Knutsford. In dual runway operations aircraft will usually land on to Runway 1 (23R) and depart from Runway 2 (23L). When the wind direction changes, usually affecting 20% of movements per annum,[65] operations are reversed with aircraft landing from the southwest, lining up to the south over Northwich and over Knutsford and taking off towards Stockport.[65] In dual runway operations aircraft will usually land on to Runway 2 (05R) and depart from Runway 1 (05L).[65] Sometimes, aircraft arriving into Manchester Airport are held in stacks, usually in poor weather when the movement rate decreases.[65] The airport has 3 stacks: DAYNE, MIRSI and ROSUN, each located approximately 15/20 miles from the airport.[65] DAYNE serves arrivals from the south, ROSUN from the north and east and MIRSI from the west.[65] If you live within 20 miles of the airport, you will likely see and hear aircraft.[65]

Control Tower

A new control tower was opened on 25 June 2013. At 60 m tall, it is the UK's second tallest control tower, after London Heathrow, and it replaces the old tower on top of Terminal 1.[70]


Manchester Airport is policed by the Greater Manchester Police and Manchester Airport Fire Service. Several security-related incidents have occurred at the airport in recent years.

  • In 2002, a security firm successfully smuggled fake explosives, detonators and genuine firearms onto a flight.[71]
  • In 2004, the BBC's Whistleblower programme revealed security failures at the airport, including faulty metal detectors and a lack of regular random baggage checks.[72] Many of the claims made on the programme were later discredited and much of the camera work was found to be misleading (filming from a raised footpath was used to suggest there was no security fence on the southern perimeter of the site).
  • In 2005, police used a taser on a man spotted acting suspiciously, on the apron, after he appeared to resist arrest.[73]
  • On 6 June 2006, Aabid Hussain Khan, 21, of West Yorkshire and a 16-year-old boy were arrested at the airport and later charged under Section 57 of the Terrorism Act, for conspiracy to murder and conspiracy to cause public nuisance by using poisons or explosives.[74]
  • On 24 July 2012, an 11-year-old boy went straight through security and managed to board the nearest boarding flight from security in T1, which happened to be a Jet2 flight to Rome. Halfway through the flight one passenger reported him to the cabin crew, who then detained the boy at Rome and put him on the next flight back to Manchester.[75]
  • On 5 August 2014, a 47-year-old man was arrested after the pilot of a plane became aware of a potential explosive device on board. This turned out to be a hoax. As a result, Manchester Airport airfield operations were suspended for around 30 minutes whilst the man was led away by armed police.[76]

Ground transport

TransPennine Express Class 185 arriving at Manchester Airport Railway Station
In the future Manchester Airport could benefit from construction of a dedicated high-speed rail station linking the airport with the South and Central Manchester


Manchester Airport railway station, opened in May 1993,[77] by British Rail forms part of The Station and is located between Terminals 1 and 2. It is linked to the terminals using a Skylink moving walkway. Trains are operated either by Northern Rail or First TransPennine Express and connect the airport to Manchester Piccadilly Station and other railway stations mainly throughout northern England, including Crewe, Wigan and Southport, but some trains come from as far as Edinburgh Waverley. A third rail platform was completed in December 2008 to allow for an increase in rail capacity. In 2009 Network Rail stated that the creation of the third platform has meant that the capacity at Manchester airport will become constrained by the layover of the trains and congestion at the throat. To solve this issue they have recommended building a line underneath the Airport towards Northwich in the 2019 to 2024 period.[78] On 28 January 2013, the Government announced the Airport will be included in the 2nd stage of High Speed 2 which will provide links with other British cities like Birmingham and London and also a quicker route into Central Manchester. Work on building a new fourth platform commenced in early 2014 with a blockade required in February 2015 to allow completion.[79] Construction finished in May 2015 and the platform is due to open to passengers in Autumn 2015.[80]


A tram at Manchester Airport in November 2014 shortly after the line opened.

A Metrolink service from Cornbrook station to the Airport opened in November 2014 and runs at 12 minute frequency. Journeys along the 15-stop line between Cornbrook take approximately 35 minutes. The Manchester Metrolink light rail system has had plans to extend to the airport for many years. When the idea of a congestion charge was mooted, part of the scheme was to have extended the Metrolink to the airport. However, when this was rejected the future of the scheme was in doubt. In 2009, it was announced that the line to the airport would finally be built. The airport line is one spur of the line from St Werburgh's Road, to East Didsbury and Manchester Airport, which opened on 3 November 2014 – 18 months ahead of schedule.[81][82] From 2017, Metrolink services from the Airport will operate to Manchester Victoria with the construction of the Second City Crossing.

Bus and coach

The Station is the airport's ground transport interchange and brings bus, coach and rail passengers under one roof. Over 300 trains, 100 coaches and 500 buses a day use the facility.[16] Buses serve many locations throughout Greater Manchester,[83] including the 24-hour bus service 43,[84] which runs every 10 minutes (every 30 minutes at night) to Manchester city centre via Wythenshawe, Northenden, Withington, Fallowfield and Rusholme. There is also Skyline service 199 operating every 30 minutes to Buxton via Stockport, Disley and Chapel-en-le-Frith, as well as a number of Stagecoach and Arriva services to Stockport, Altrincham and various parts of South Manchester. A network of National Express coach services serve Manchester Airport and operate to destinations further afield, including as far as Dublin.


The airport is a 20-minute drive from Manchester city centre and is reached by the M56 motorway, with a dedicated approach road from the motorway at junction 5. The M56 is the main route used by traffic to reach the airport. There are also minor local roads serving the airport from the north (Wythenshawe) and the east (Heald Green). The M56/A538 road junction serves the World Freight Terminal, to the west of the airport. The A538 runs east-west serving the local towns of Altrincham and Wilmslow.

Proposed as part of the SEMMMS (South East Manchester Multi-Modal Strategy) Relief Road Scheme, a new link road to the A6 south of Stockport has been approved. Planning permission has been granted, with inquiries for Compulsory Purchase and Side Roads Orders to follow in September 2014.[85]

Taxi ranks are situated by arrivals at all three terminals.


The airport's official short-stay car parking can be found in the multi-storey car parks adjacent to Terminals 1, 2 and 3. In July 2007 the airport introduced a 'No Waiting' restriction on all access roads surrounding the terminals. This was a direct result of the 2007 Glasgow International Airport attack and so all pick-ups must take place by using the short-stay car parks.

In 2009/2010 Terminal 1's multi-storey car park was refurbished. Each level of the car park is colour-coded. The floor, walls, ceiling and supports have all received a repaint with every parking space having a sensor and green light above it, with empty parking bays indicated by the green light.

Official long-stay on-airport parking from Manchester Airport is located near the terminals and served by a regular courtesy bus. There is one long-stay car park serving Terminals 1 and 3, and a separate dedicated long-stay car park for Terminal 2. In 2009 the airport opened JetParks – two long-stay car parks less than a mile from the terminals. This is a cheaper alternative to the on-site car parks and is served by a 24-hour shuttle bus every 15 minutes. The airport also operates a Shuttle Park for long-stay car parking, which is also served by a regular courtesy bus, and is located just off the airport site to the east of Terminal 3. The airport has since augmented these products with a 3rd JetParks car park, JetParks 3. This is located adjacent to Shuttle Parks, and as a result, Shuttle Parks was renamed JetParks Plus. Manchester Airport also operates a very large scale valet parking product across all 3 terminals that it has branded as "Meet & Greet".[86]

In 2014 a new, 9000 space car park located underneath the approach to 23R was constructed, the first area of the site opened in the autumn. The remainder of the facility will open in time for summer 2015.

There are several privately operated car parks within a short distance of the airport, served by shuttle bus, as well as several off-site companies operating valet parking services.

Effect on the area; criticism

Expansion of the airport caused closures of public roads in the area.

  • Early development closed Yewtree Lane, which ran across the modern terminal area.
  • Building the goods terminal closed country lanes to the southwest of the airport area.
  • The 1982 expansion cut the A538 road from Altrincham to Wilmslow and diverted it south through a tunnel under the runway: unlike with London Heathrow Airport not all the area is flat: to the south the land drops sharply into the Bollin river valley, and the runway extension needed heavy embankment building.
  • Building the second runway put the A538 through another tunnel, and (this caused public protest and sit-ins) removed some woodland in the Styal area. It also closed a through country lane from Styal southwest to the A538. Although under the terms of the Planning Permission agreement Manchester Airport made funds available to build a replacement road, Cheshire County Council instead chose to use the monies on short term public transport funding.
  • Between 1997 and 1999 three protest camps were set up to oppose the building of the second runway, the felling of nearby trees on land owned by the National Trust in Styal, Cheshire and air transportation in general. Camps were set up in Flywood, Arthur's Wood[87] and Cedar's Wood. Swampy, a well known activist, was among many protesters.[88]
  • The natural eastward expansion of car parks displaced the community of Heyhead.
  • The south west end of the new runway is closer to the town of Knutsford and to the village of Mobberley. There has been an increase in noise experienced by local residents from the aircraft being lower and closer[68] and home owners who were able to prove that their property had lost value as a result of these changes have been compensated by the airport. As a further gesture of goodwill the airport paid the precept of tax payers to Mobberley Parish and Knutsford Town Councils, made some payments to individual property owners (who had not taken action to prove loss of property value) and made payments to Schools in Knutsford/Mobberley.

In 2007 Manchester Airport applied to build on land in Styal to increase its car parking. However, the former Macclesfield Borough Council refused to give them planning permission to do so and expressed annoyance at the airport for not investing enough in public transport.[89] Macclesfield Borough Council have said that they would consider giving planning permission for a new car park on brownfield land. The airport did not make another application for parking in this area and land to the north of the site had instead to be used to ensure sufficient spaces were available. Areas around Styal village continue to be used by private enterprise parking companies not owned or managed by Manchester Airport.

Despite public concerns about privacy and health risks,[90] Manchester Airport introduced full-body X-ray scanners in all terminals. Under Department for Transport regulations these scans were compulsory for all passengers selected to undergo the scan. Passengers who objected to the scans were not allowed to fly.[91] The X-ray body scanners were removed in September 2012.

Incidents and accidents

  • On 27 March 1951, a Douglas C-47A-75-DL Dakota 3 cargo aircraft operated by Air Transport Charter[92] and en route to Nutts Corner Airport, Antrim, Northern Ireland, crashed at Heyhead shortly after take-off from runway 06, following the aircraft's failure to gain height. There were four fatalities – two of the three crew on board and two of the three passengers. The subsequent investigation found that the crash resulted from a loss of engine power, caused by ice forming in the carburettor intakes, attributable to the captain's failure to use the heat controls. An extended undercarriage and snow on the wings may have also been contributory factors.[93]
  • On 14 March 1957, British European Airways Flight "Bealine 411" operated by Vickers Viscount 701 (registration G-ALWE) inbound from Amsterdam crashed into houses in Shadow Moss Road, Woodhouse Park. The aircraft was on final approach to Runway 24 at Manchester Airport, and the crash was due to a flap failure, caused by fatigue of a wing bolt. All 20 occupants on board died, as did two on the ground.
  • On 29 April 1957, a Miles Aerovan Type 4 crashed on take off due to fuel pump failure. 2 on board were killed including the pilot.
  • On 4 June 1967 – Stockport Air DisasterBritish Midland Airways Canadair C-4 Argonaut (registration G-ALHG) was inbound from Palma and crashed near the centre of Stockport after loss of engine power due to fuel problems and an aborted approach to Manchester Airport, with 72 fatalities.
  • On 20 March 1969, Vickers Viscount G-AVJA of British Midland Airways crashed on take-off. Three of the four people on board were killed.[94]
  • On 22 August 1985 – British Airtours Flight 28M – an engine failed during take-off from runway 24, the fire spreading into the cabin, resulting in 55 fatalities aboard the Boeing 737–236 Advanced G-BGJL. The uncontained engine failure was later traced to an incorrectly repaired combustor causing the turbine disc to shatter and puncture the wing fuel tanks.[95]

Public attractions

Concorde BOAC in her hangar at the Aviation Viewing Park.
ex-British European Airways Hawker Siddeley Trident 3B preserved at the Aviation Viewing Park. Delivered new in 1971, G-AWZK flew for BEA and British Airways, retiring in 1985.

Manchester Airport has had public viewing areas since the airport opened to the public in 1938. The 1960/1970s pier-top viewing facilities have been closed because of security concerns. In May 1992, an official "Aviation Viewing Park" (AVP) was created just off the A538 road on the south-western side of the airfield. This was moved to the western side of the airfield in May 1997 to allow construction of the second runway.[96] Renamed the "Runway Visitor Park" in June 2010, the facility is regarded as providing the best official viewing facilities for aircraft spotting at any major UK airport by aircraft enthusiasts.[97] Visitors can view aircraft taking off and landing from both runways, and aircraft taxiing to and from the runways. This attraction now draws around 300,000 visitors a year and is one of Greater Manchester's top 10 attractions.[98]

The visitor park also has a cafe and a shop selling aviation related items. Aircraft on display are:

  • G-BOAC, a retired British Airways Concorde, once the flagship of the airline's seven-strong Concorde fleet. The project to build a hangar for the jet was delayed due to the discovery of protected Great Crested Newts[99] on the site, which the airport is under obligation to rehouse at their own expense. The aircraft was moved into the hangar on 13 January 2009.
  • The last airliner to be built in the UK, BAE Systems Avro RJX G-IRJX.
  • The forward fuselage of Monarch Airlines Douglas DC-10 G-DMCA, which was retired in 2002.
  • One of only two preserved Hawker Siddeley Trident 3B aircraft, G-AWZK in full BEA livery.
  • A former RAF Nimrod aircraft. The aircraft was moved into place in April 2010.[100]

Level 13 of the short-stay car park at Terminal 1 has another viewing location, popular with spotters for the last 32 years. As part of a recent refurbishment, the café and aviation shop which were once part of the viewing area have now been closed, with the aviation shop moving to the Terminal 1 arrivals area. The level (13) is now used as a car park for rental cars. The building that once housed the cafe and aviation shop is now the reception area/offices for the car rental companies. Spotting is still tolerated on level 13, and it is still a good place to take pictures of aircraft taxiing and parked up at Terminal 1, Terminal 2, the World Freight Terminal and the hangars. Terminal 3 stands are not visible from level 13; they are better viewed from the south side of the airport near Moss Lane.

The Airport Hotel is a public house operated by Robinson's Brewery, and is on Ringway Road about 0.5 mi (0.80 km) from the airport. Its beer garden overlooks the east end of Taxiway J and the eastern threshold of runway 23R which are only 50 ft (15 m) away and provides good views of east-west landing approaches and some take-off rolls.



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  • Scholefield, R. A.; MacDonald, Steve (1978). First and foremost: 50 years of Manchester's civic airports. Manchester: Manchester International Airport Authority.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Scholefield, R. A. (1998). Manchester Airport. Stroud: Sutton. ISBN 0-7509-1954-X.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links

Media related to Manchester Airport at Wikimedia Commons Manchester Airport travel guide from Wikivoyage