Manchester Airport announces £440 million investment
New facilities will provide a great airport experience and attract new routes to the UK’s global gateway in the North.
MAG (Manchester Airports Group) today announced a £440m investment in Manchester Airport that will create thousands of jobs and unlock billions of pounds of economic value for the North over the next decade.
The investment will transform the passenger experience at the UK’s third largest airport, with new spacious facilities, state-of-the-art technology and equipment, and an exciting array of shops, bars, restaurants and airport lounges.
It will see Manchester Airport expand its role as the UK’s global gateway in the North, connecting the region to even more international destinations, including some of the world’s most important economic markets.
The investment is the final phase of the £1.3bn Manchester Airport Transformation Programme (MAN-TP), first announced in 2015 with a 10-year vision to revolutionise the customer experience at the Northern hub and unlock the potential of its two full-length runways.
The first phase saw Terminal 2 more than double in size, with the new facility having received positive feedback from passengers and airlines since opening in July 2021 (video above).
This latest investment will complete the transformation of Terminal 2, delivering improvement to all stages of the passenger journey – from check-in to baggage reclaim – as well as upgrading its airfield to cater for next generation aircraft.
Upon completion in 2025, around 80% of all passengers will use the expanded Terminal 2, with Terminal 1 set to close – 63 years after it was opened by the Duke of Edinburgh, in 1962.
More than 500 jobs will be created in the construction phase alone, while independent analysis shows around 16,400 extra jobs will be generated by 2040 as a result of the economic activity stimulated by the expansion of the airport and its route network.
The same research – by York Aviation – reveals that Manchester Airport’s current contribution to the Northern economy of £3.5bn is expected to soar by nearly 80%, to £6.3bn by 2040 as a result of the full delivery of the transformation programme.
And a further £2.9bn boost will be triggered through the increased productivity of businesses travelling and trading globally through Manchester over the same period.
Charlie Cornish, CEO of MAG, said: “Manchester Airport is a key economic asset for the North, and this investment will maximise the contribution it makes to creating a balanced and globally competitive UK economy.
“Our £1.3bn transformation programme demonstrates our long-term commitment to providing a great airport experience for passengers who travel through Manchester. I’m delighted to be announcing the go-ahead for the final phase, which will open in 2025, connecting the people and businesses of the North to dozens more global destinations, and creating jobs and stimulating increased levels of trade and tourism.”
Chris Woodroofe, Managing Director of Manchester Airport, said: “It is hugely exciting to be announcing this significant investment in Manchester Airport. It represents a major milestone in the history of both our airport, and the region as a whole.
“By completing the transformation of Terminal 2, we will not only be offering passengers across the North an unrivalled choice of destinations, but also providing them with world class facilities and a great overall experience when they travel through Manchester.
“I cannot wait to see the plans come to fruition, for the benefit of all of our customers, colleagues and supporters.”
Transport Secretary Mark Harper said: “As the aviation industry recovers after COVID, it’s great news to see this significant vote of confidence in the UK. This investment will be a huge boost for the North, benefitting passengers flying in and out of the region as well as supporting thousands of jobs. The expanded Terminal 2 has already welcomed a number of new airlines to Manchester, and seen the launch or relaunch of a string of key routes.”
Examples include a brand-new service to Kuwait, a revived service to Beijing and a first UK Transatlantic base for AerLingus.
Enabling works for the second phase of the project are already underway, and planned improvements include:
- Doubling the size of the existing departure lounge, with a wider selection of shops and food and drink outlets, showcasing the best of what the North has to offer
- The construction of an additional security hall, fitted with next-generation security scanners.
- A new pier, matching the look and feel of the first pier that opened in 2019. It will include spacious gates
- A new dual taxiway system to improve airfield efficiency, with flexible aircraft stands
- More than doubling the terminal’s hold baggage capacity to over 5,000 bags per hour, with two new teardrop check in islands.
The news has been welcomed by business and political leaders.
Henri Murison, Chief Executive of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, said: “As the international gateway to the North of England, Manchester Airport acts as a critical player in our economy, supporting thousands of jobs and unlocking billions in economic value by facilitating tourism, trade and investment.
“This major investment will sit at the heart of plans to make the North one of the most competitive economic regions in the world, helping the North realise its full potential while rebalancing the UK economy.
“Over the past decade the Northern Powerhouse has built up a heavyweight reputation around the globe, with foreign direct investment up more than 72% in the last five years. This transformation project from Manchester Airport will help to cement our position on the world stage and attract even more visitors and investors in the years to come.”
International Airport Review analysis
After seeing such sobering news during the COVID-19 pandemic, sharing good news of recovery among international airports has been a cheering tonic for us here at International Airport Review. Airports, especially in the UK, really suffered during the pandemic and as a result had to put projects like this on hold, cut costs and unfortunately let go of staff. It’s fantastic to see high-value investment like this in our UK airports restart, as it is a great sign of the recovery.
Airports are huge social and economic drivers of their region, so this will be a huge boost to the north of England, as well as the passengers flying in and out of Manchester, and as York Aviation revealed, the benefits reaped in terms of economic contribution to the local economy is even greater than the original investment. More than 500 jobs will be created in the construction phase alone and 16,400 extra jobs generated by 2040 due to the economic and route stimulation is testament to the national and international importance of airports.
Airports are there to serve their passengers and their staff so any improvements that can be made to the passenger experience is absolutely worth it as travel is a human right that everyone should get to enjoy. Greater choice of routes and commercial outlets means a better experience for the passenger, which should be celebrated.