Manchester Airport

Manchester Airport
Manchester Airport
Manchester Airport logo.svg
Manchester Airport.jpg
Airport type Public
Owner Manchester Airports Group
Operator Manchester Airport Plc
Location Ringway, Manchester, Greater Manchester
Elevation AMSL 257 ft / 78 m
Coordinates 53°21′14″N 002°16′30″W / 53.35389°N 2.275°W / 53.35389; -2.275Coordinates: 53°21′14″N 002°16′30″W / 53.35389°N 2.275°W / 53.35389; -2.275
EGCC is located in Greater Manchester
Location within Greater Manchester
Direction Length Surface
m ft
05L/23R 3,048 10,000 Concrete /
grooved asphalt
05R/23L 3,050 10,007 Concrete /
grooved asphalt
Statistics (2010)
Passengers 17,759,015
Passenger change 09-10 decrease5.2%
Aircraft Movements 159,114
Movements change 09-10 decrease7.8%
Sources: UK AIP at NATS[1]
Statistics from the UK Civil Aviation Authority[2]

Manchester Airport (IATA: MANICAO: EGCC), formerly often called Ringway, is a major airport at Ringway in the City of Manchester within Greater Manchester, UK. In 2010 it was 4th busiest airport in the United Kingdom in terms of passenger numbers,[2] and the busiest airport in the UK outside the London region. It was also the 3rd busiest UK airport in terms of total aircraft movements, and the 24th busiest airport in Europe.

A small part of the airport extends into Cheshire East. The terminals are[3][4] 7.5 NM (13.9 km; 8.6 mi) south[1] of Manchester city centre.[5] It officially opened on 25 June 1938,[6] and was initially known as Ringway Airport. During World War II it was called RAF Ringway, and from 1975 until 1986 it was called Manchester International Airport.

The airport is owned and managed by the Manchester Airports Group (MAG), which is a holding company owned by the ten metropolitan borough councils of Greater Manchester, with Manchester City Council owning the largest stake and is the largest British-owned airport group. The airport has won awards including World's Best Airport 1995 and Travel Weekly Globe Awards' UK Best Airport 2008.[7]

The airport has two parallel runways, three terminals, a goods terminal, and a ground transport interchange, including a railway station and is one of only 17 airports in the world with the highest 'Category 10' rating enabling the airport to handle larger 'Code F' aircraft.[8] meaning from September 2010 the airport could handle the world's largest passenger plane, the Airbus A380.[9]. Historically the airport has also regularly handled Concorde and currently houses the British Airways G-BOAC flagship Concorde at the Manchester Runway Visitor Park. Manchester Airport has a CAA Public Use Aerodrome Licence (Number P712) that allows flights for the public transport of passengers and for flying instruction.

Unlike with Heathrow and Gatwick, the rural settlement of Ringway that the airport was originally named after, still exists, as a few buildings around a church at the south edge of the airport.



For history of Ringway before the airport started, see Ringway, Manchester.
Area where Manchester Airport and Wythenshawe are now, as around 1925

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. 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 WWII it was the base for RAF Ringway, and was important in military aircraft production and training parachutists.

After WWII it gradually expanded to its present size.

In 1972 the M56 motorway opened to the airport.

In 1993 the airport railway station opened.

In 1997 to 2001 its second runway was built, and caused large-scale protests in the area.

Terminals and destinations


Terminal 1 skylink
The airport viewed from the south

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 airport provides regular direct flights to destinations worldwide by over 60 airlines. North American carriers at Manchester include American Airlines, Continental Airlines, Delta Air Lines and US Airways. The only scheduled UK operator serving the USA market is Virgin Atlantic. Airlines serving the Asian market include Air Blue, Emirates, Etihad Airways, Pakistan International Airlines, Qatar Airways and Singapore Airlines. Manchester was an international hub for BMI which offered several destinations from Terminal 3, however the airline withdrew its routes from Manchester to North America and the Caribbean, including to Chicago and Las Vegas during early 2009.[10]

Scheduled airlines with a base at Manchester include: EasyJet, Flybe, Jet2, Monarch, Ryanair and Virgin Atlantic.

Charter airlines with a base at Manchester include: Fly Hellas, Monarch, Thomas Cook Airlines and Thomson Airways.

Manchester Airport offers flights to over 190 destinations across the globe and 65 tour operators utilise the facility.[11] 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.[12]

Manchester also offers more destinations than some of the biggest airports in the US, including New York, Chicago and Dallas, although it is still slightly behind the three biggest 'hubs' in the global aviation network – Atlanta, Frankfurt am Main and Amsterdam – which each offer more than 250 destinations. However, Manchester serves more foreign destinations than Atlanta and Frankfurt (but not Amsterdam), although being much smaller in terms of total passengers handled.

Terminal 1

Terminal 1 is mostly used by Star Alliance airline members as well as scheduled and charter operations. It was opened in 1962 by the Duke of Edinburgh, handling scheduled & charter European flights. It is also the base for Jet2 and Thomas Cook Airlines. EasyJet will also move to this terminal on 30 November 2011. Some other European scheduled airlines such as Germanwings, Lufthansa and Swiss International Air Lines also operate flights from the terminal.

The terminal has 29 stands, of which 15 have airbridges, and is the largest of the three terminals. Terminal 1's current capacity is around 11 million passengers a year.[13] compared with an thenual capacity of 2.5 million passengers when it first opened.[13]

In summer 2009, a £50 million redevelopment programme for Terminal 1 was completed.[14] 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. This comes after a proposed terminal re-alignment at the airport, with Terminal 1 becoming the scheduled international terminal. Etihad Airways and Singapore Airlines have also expressed interest in operating A380 flights out of Manchester.

Terminal 2

Terminal 2

Terminal 2 is mostly used by SkyTeam airline members and long haul and charter airlines flying to international destinations only. It opened in 1993, handling scheduled European and Intercontinental flights. It is also the base for Ryanair, Thomson Airways, Virgin Atlantic and Monarch's largest scheduled flight base. Some European scheduled airlines such as Air Malta and Tunisair also operate flights from the terminal.

Terminal 2 has 20 gates, of which 14 have airbridges. 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.[13] 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 landside shopping area to allow for an expanded airside 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.

Terminal 2 is planned for an upgrade for stand 202 to become able to withstand the weight of the Airbus A380..[when?][citation needed]

Terminal 3

American Airlines aircraft at Terminal 3

Terminal 3 is mostly used by airlines who offer domestic routes. It was opened by Diana, Princess of Wales in May 1989 and handles the majority of domestic routes from Manchester as well as some scheduled European flights and a few Intercontinental flights.. It is also the base for BMI, EasyJet and Flybe, however EasyJet are due to move to terminal 1 on 30 November. Some European scheduled airlines like Adria Airways, Air France and Brussels Airlines as well as International airlines like American Airlines also operate flights from the terminal.

Terminal 3 was known in succession as "Terminal 1 – British Airways", "Terminal 1A" and "Terminal 3 – British Airways and Domestic". In June 1998, British Airways opened their new £75 million terminal facility designed by Grimshaw Architects, a major extension to Terminal 3, and were the primary user of the terminal along with their partner airlines. However, more recently they have scaled down operations from Manchester Airport with the sale of their BA Connect subsidiary to Flybe; the ending of their franchise agreement with GB Airways and the retraction of their daily New York-JFK service in October 2008, after 54 years of operation. This leaves a BA operation serving only London Heathrow and Gatwick from Manchester. Also after taking over BA Connect's select routes, Flybe has gone on to add several more destinations.

Airlines and destinations

The first Airbus A380 to land at Manchester Airport on 1 September 2010
A Thomas Cook Airlines Boeing 757-200 taxiing to the gate.
A Monarch Airbus A321-200 takes off.
An EasyJet Airbus A320-200 taxiing to the gate.
A Continental Airlines Boeing 757-200 taxiing to the gate.
A Thomson Airways Boeing 737-800 takes off.
A Ryanair Boeing 737-800 taxiing.
A Jet2 Boeing 737-300 taxiing.
An Aurigny Air Services ATR 72-212A about to take off


Airlines Destinations Terminal
Adria Airways Seasonal: Ljubljana 3
Aer Arann Waterford 1
Aer Lingus Dublin 1
Aer Lingus Regional operated by Aer Arann Cork, Shannon 1
Air France Paris-Charles de Gaulle 3
Air France operated by Cityjet Antwerp 3
Air Malta Malta 2
Air Transat Toronto-Pearson
Seasonal: Calgary [begins 17 December], Vancouver [begins 4 May 2012]
Airblue Islamabad 2
American Airlines Chicago-O'Hare, New York-JFK 3
AtlasJet Nicosia-Ercan [begins 7 April 2012] TBA
Aurigny Air Services Guernsey 1
BH Air Bourgas, Dubrovnik, Plovdiv, Progorica, Sofia, Varna 1
Belavia Seasonal: Minsk 2
Biman Bangladesh Airlines Dhaka 2
BMI London-Heathrow
Seasonal Charter: Dalaman, Fuerteventura, Geneva, Jeddah, Kefalonia, Nice, Palma de Mallorca
BMI operated by BMI Regional Aberdeen, Edinburgh, London-Heathrow, Lyon 3
British Airways London-Gatwick, London-Heathrow 3
BA Cityflyer Charter Cagliari, Olbia [begins 27 May 2012] 3
Blue Islands Jersey 1
Brussels Airlines Brussels-International 3
City Airline Gothenburg-Landvetter 1
Continental Airlines Newark, Washington-Dulles [begins 2 May 2012][15] 2
Croatia Airlines Zagreb
Seasonal: Pula
Delta Air Lines Atlanta 2
EasyJet Alicante, Amsterdam, Athens, Belfast-International, Berlin-Brandenburg [begins 3 June 2012], Berlin-Schönefeld [ends 2 June 2012], Bilbao, Copenhagen, Geneva, Gothenburg-Landvetter [ends 8 January], Hamburg, Madrid, Málaga, Malta, Marrakech, Munich, Palma de Mallorca, Paphos, Sharm el-Sheikh, Sofia, Tenerife-South, Zürich
Seasonal: Bastia, Corfu, Dalaman, Heraklion, Menorca
3 (1 from 30 November)
EasyJet Switzerland Geneva 3 (1 from 30 November)
Emirates Dubai 1
Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi 1
Finnair Helsinki 1
Finnair operated by Flybe Nordic Helsinki 1
Flybe Aberdeen, Avignon, Belfast-City, Bergerac, Brussels, Düsseldorf, Edinburgh, Exeter, Geneva, Glasgow-International, Hanover, Inverness, Isle of Man, Jersey, Knock, La Rochelle, Limoges, Milan-Malpensa, Nantes, Newquay, Norwich, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Southampton
Seasonal: Berne, Brest, Chambéry, Derry, Rennes
Seasonal Charter: Enfidha, Innsbruck, Perpignan, Verona
Fly Hellas Athens, Larnaca 2
Germanwings Cologne/Bonn 1
Iberia operated by Air Nostrum Madrid 3
Icelandair Reykjavík-Keflavík 1
Jet2 Alicante, Barcelona [begins 28 March 2012], Budapest, Gran Canaria, Istanbul-Atatürk [begins 16 March 2012], Lanzarote, Madeira, Murcia, Paris-Charles de Gaulle [begins 29 March 2012], Prague, Rome-Fiumicino, Tenerife-South, Tel Aviv, Toulouse [begins 18 May 2012], Venice-Marco Polo
Seasonal: Bodrum, Chambéry, Dalaman, Dubrovnik, Faro, Geneva, Heraklion, Ibiza, Kos, Larnaca, Málaga, Nice, Palma de Mallorca, Paphos, Pisa, Pula [begins 14 May 2012], Olbia, Reus, Rhodes, Salzburg, Split
KLM Amsterdam 2 (3 from Dec 12)
KLM operated by KLM Cityhopper Amsterdam 2 (3 from Dec 12)
Libyan Arab Airlines Tripoli [Suspended until further notice] 1
Lufthansa Berlin-Brandenburg [begins 3 June 2012], Frankfurt, Munich 1
Lufthansa operated by BMI Frankfurt, Munich 1
Lufthansa Regional operated by Eurowings Düsseldorf, Hamburg 1
Lufthansa Regional operated by Lufthansa CityLine Stuttgart 1
Monarch Alicante, Barcelona, Dubrovnik [Begins 27 March 2012], Faro, Fuerteventura, Gibraltar, Gran Canaria, Heraklion [Begins 25 March 2012], Lanzarote, Larnaca, Málaga, Milan-Malpensa [Begins 25 March 2012], Palma de Mallorca, Rome-Fiumicino [Begins 27 March 2012], Sharm el Sheikh, Tenerife-South, Venice-Marco Polo [Begins 27 March 2012], Verona [Begins 25 March 2012]
Seasonal: Almería, Antalya, Bodrum, Dalaman [Begins 1 May 2012], Ibiza, Minorca, Paphos
Chartered Seasonal: Burgas, Cancún, Chania, Corfu, Dubrovnik, Geneva, Goa, Grenoble, Innsbruck, Kefalonia, Kittla, Kos, Luxor, Mombasa, Mytilene, Orlando-Sanford, Preveza, Rhodes, Salzburg, Skiathos, Sofia, Tenerife-South, Zakynthos
Norwegian Air Shuttle Oslo-Gardermoen 1
Onur Air Antalya, Bodrum, Dalaman 2
Pakistan International Airlines Islamabad, Lahore
Seasonal: New York-JFK
Pegasus Airlines Antalya, Bodrum, Dalaman 1
Qatar Airways Doha 2
Ryanair Alicante, Bremen, Brussels-Charleroi, Dublin, Faro, Frankfurt-Hahn, Girona, Katowice, Madrid, Málaga, Memmingen, Milan-Orio al Serio, Oslo-Rygge, Paris-Beauvais, Rome-Ciampino, Rzeszow, Tenerife-South
Seasonal: Béziers [begins 26 March 2012], Biarritz [begins 25 March 2012], Ibiza [begins 27 March 2012], Murcia [begins 25 March 2012], Palma de Mallorca, Reus [begins 25 March 2012], Tallinn [begins 26 March 2012], Tours [begins 27 March 2012], Valencia [begins 26 March 2012]
SATA International Seasonal: Ponta Delgada 1
Scandinavian Airlines Bergen [begins 6 January], Copenhagen, Oslo-Gardermoen, Stockholm-Arlanda 1
Singapore Airlines Munich, Singapore 2
Swiss International Air Lines Zürich 1
Swiss operated by Swiss European Air Lines Basel/Mulhouse 1
TAP Portugal Lisbon 1
Thomas Cook Airlines Alicante, Antalya, Calgary, Cancún, Cayo Coco, Dalaman, Faro, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Holguin, Hurghada, Lanzarote, Luxor, Madeira, Málaga, Malta, Monastir, Montego Bay, Paphos, Puerto Plata, Punta Cana, Sharm el-Sheikh, Tenerife-South, Toronto-Pearson, Vancouver, Varadero
Seasonal: Acapulco, Agadir, Almería, Barbados, Banjul, Boa Vista, Bodrum, Burgas, Corfu, Heraklion, Ibiza, Lleida-Alguaire, Izmir, Kalamata, Kefalonia, Kos, Larnaca, Las Vegas, Marsa Alam, Minorca, Naples, Orlando-Sanford, Palma de Mallorca, Preveza, Reus, Rhodes, Rimini, Rovaniemi, Santa Clara, Santorini, Skiathos, Sofia, Thessaloniki, Turin, Zakynthos
Thomson Airways Agadir, Alicante, Boa Vista, Cancún, Enfidha, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Hurghada, Lanzarote, Luxor, Madeira, Málaga, Malé, Malta, Marrakech, Monastir, Montego Bay, Orlando-Sanford, Palma de Mallorca, Paphos, Puerto Plata, Punta Cana, Sal, Santa Cruz de la Palma, Sharm el-Sheikh, Taba, Tenerife-South, Varadero
Seasonal: Antalya, Aruba, Bodrum, Burgas, Catania, Chania, Corfu, Dalaman, Dubrovnik, Faro, Girona, Heraklion, Holguin, Ibiza, Izmir, Kalamata, Kavala, Kefalonia, Kos, Larnaca, La Romana, Marsa Alam, Mersa Matruh, Minorca, Mombasa, Mykonos, Mytilene, Naples, Pisa, Preveza, Pula, Reus, Rhodes, Samos, Santorini, Skiathos, Thessaloniki, Venice-Marco Polo, Verona, Zakynthos
Tor Air Chania, Preveza, Corfu, Kos, Gothenburg 2
Turkish Airlines Istanbul-Atatürk 1
Tunisair Enfidha, Monastir 2
US Airways Philadelphia 2
Virgin Atlantic Airways Barbados, Las Vegas, Orlando 2


A Cathay Pacific Cargo Boeing 747-400 taxiing to parking.
Airlines Destinations
Cathay Pacific Cargo Amsterdam, Brussels-International, Dubai, Hong Kong, Milan-Malpensa
China Airlines Cargo Abu Dhabi, Delhi, Luxembourg, Taipei-Taoyuan
FedEx Express operated by Air Contractors Dublin, Glasgow-International, Liège, London-Stansted, Paris-Charles de Gaulle
Lufthansa Cargo Dallas/Fort Worth, Chicago-O'Hare, Frankfurt, New York-JFK
Cargolux Luxembourg
Star Air Belfast-International, Cologne/Bonn

World Freight Terminal

Antonov An-225 at Manchester Airport in 2006

Manchester Airport has a World Freight Terminal, served by 10 cargo-only freighter services and by civil airlines carrying cargo on passenger flights. 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. These are operated by: British Airways Regional Cargo, Swissport Cargo, Menzies World Cargo, Plane Handling and Servisair. There are over 100 freight forwarding companies on site.[16]

During 2006, 150,300 tonnes of cargo and mail were handled at Manchester, a small increase of 0.4% over the previous year (per CAA annual statistics table 2.2). Cargo growth sharply increased towards the third and fourth quarters of 2007, with October of that year setting a new record of tonnage passing through Manchester, with 16,326 tonnes being handled in the month. The twelve-month annual total to end December 2007 of 166,500 tonnes was 10.4% ahead of the previous year.

The 12-month rolling cargo total to March 2009 was 127,300 tonnes, 25% less than the previous 12 months, because MNG and Aeroflot and direct Fedex services to the USA withdrew from Manchester, and other airlines carried less. Fedex currently (June 2009) operate only feeder flights in a European network.

Manchester's two biggest cargo markets are the Far East and North America. The Far East is predominantly a source of import cargo for the airport and North America is a key destination for exports. The main cargo destination from Manchester is Hong Kong, with Cathay Pacific making a total of 7 freighter round trips every week.

By 2015 the total figure for cargo handled was expected to be around 250,000 tonnes per year, approximately double today's level.

Operations and statistics

Passenger numbers

Number of Passengers[2] Number of Movements[17] 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
Source: United Kingdom Civil Aviation Authority[18]

Manchester is the fourth busiest airport in the UK and the biggest outside of London, in terms of annual passenger throughput.

Busiest Routes

Busiest International Routes to and from Manchester Airport (2010)[2]
Rank Airport Passengers handled % Change
2009 / 10
1 Spain Tenerife South 596,912 decrease 2.6
2 United Arab Emirates Dubai 565,575 increase 8.4
3 Turkey Dalaman 559,875 increase 13.5
4 Republic of Ireland Dublin 551,285 decrease 15.9
5 Spain Palma de Mallorca 500,814 decrease 11.9
6 Spain Alicante 449,554 decrease 8.1
7 Egypt Sharm el-Sheikh 442,817 increase 9.8
8 France Paris Charles de Gaulle 441,341 decrease 0.7
9 Netherlands Amsterdam 437,279 decrease 7.0
10 Spain Málaga 395,906 decrease 26.0
11 United States Orlando International 365,893 decrease 3.8
12 Germany Frankfurt 329,973 decrease 0.2
13 Spain Lanzarote 313,534 increase 4.8
14 Germany Munich 286,985 increase 70.3
15 Portugal Faro 279,076 decrease 15.8
16 Switzerland Zurich 256,423 increase 23.0
17 Turkey Bodrum 255,003 increase 8.2
18 Cyprus Larnaca 252,157 decrease 2.6
19 Cyprus Paphos 250,569 decrease 7.9
20 Denmark Copenhagen 211,588 increase 28.9
Ten busiest domestic routes to and from Manchester Airport (2010)[2]
Rank Airport Passengers handled  % Change
2009 / 10
1 London Heathrow 799,264 decrease12
2 Gatwick 246,842 decrease14
3 Belfast City 226,516 decrease1
4 Edinburgh 126,653 decrease20
5 Isle of Man 125,845 decrease11
6 Belfast International 95,098 decrease22
7 Aberdeen 93,126 decrease11
8 Jersey 86,684 decrease8
9 Guernsey 69,530 decrease7
10 Glasgow International 68,315 decrease32

The airport's long range plan, published in July 2006, forecasts that passenger numbers will increase to approximately 38 million passengers annually by 2015. This would require an average annual growth rate from 2009 to 2015 of 17.2% and a sharp recovery from the reductions during the two years to December 2009. Further growth is postulated to 50 million by 2030.

In 2010 17.8 million passengers used the airport, a reduction of 5.2% compared with 2009 and below the 2000 total. There were 159,114 aircraft movements during the year, the third highest in the UK.[2]

Maintenance bases

Manchester Airport is the home to the engineering bases of Thomas Cook Airlines and Monarch Airlines. As well as their own aircraft, the airport regularly sees foreign visitors and special movements visiting for engineering work. Also, Air Livery have recently opened a new facility, with repaint facilities catering for aircraft up to the size of a Boeing 747-400.


Manchester Airport has two parallel runways, one 3,048 m (10,000 ft) and the other 3,050 m (10,007 ft) in length. The original main runway, then designated 06/24 and initially 3,300 ft (1,006 m) in length, dates back to 1941[19] 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, opened in February 2001[20] at a cost of £172 million,[20] and was the first full-length commercial runway to open in Britain for over 20 years.[20] 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[21] and because of the added flight paths which lead to and from the second runway. This results in aircraft flying low over the residential areas of Knutsford[22] and Stockport when landing or taking off, in particular landing aircraft which do not follow 'Preferred Noise Routes'.[23] For the latter reason, Runway 2 cannot legally be used between the hours of 10pm and 6am.[24] However, the airport has permission to use Runway 2 between these hours if maintenance work is needed on the original runway.[24]

During the quieter off-peak times which occur during the day, the airport reverts to single runway operations, where the original runway, 05L/23R, is used to accommodate both landing aircraft and those taking off. On some occasions when the airport is not busy, air traffic control can authorise light to medium aircraft to takeoff from the halfway point of the runway. Runway 05R/23L is non-active during this time (10.30am-4pm and 8pm-6.30am) with fewer local residential areas being affected by the operation of only one runway.


Manchester Airport is policed by the Greater Manchester Police. 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.[25]
  • 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.[26]
  • In 2005, police used a taser on a man spotted acting suspiciously, on the apron, after he appeared to resist arrest.[27]
  • 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.[28]

Ground transport

TransPennine Express Class 185 arriving at Manchester Airport Railway Station


Manchester Airport railway station, opened in May 1993,[29] 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 TransPennine Express and connect the airport to Manchester Piccadilly Station and other railway stations mainly throughout northern England, including Wigan and Southport, but some trains come from as far as Edinburgh. A third rail platform was completed in December 2008 to allow for an increase in rail capacity. There has also been a proposal to link the Manchester-to-Manchester-Airport line to the Chester to Stockport line, which would allow faster trains between the airport and parts of Cheshire, Merseyside and North Wales.[30] Since that proposal was put forward, little has materialised. However, the rail link could still be built and was mentioned as a possible future development in the long term by Network Rail in March 2009.[31]

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.[13] Buses serve many locations throughout Greater Manchester,[32] including the 24-hour bus service Skyline (service 43),[33] 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 19) operating every hour to Altrincham via Wythenshawe and Sale. A network of National Express coach services serve Manchester Airport and operate to destinations further afield, including as far as Dublin.

The bus and coach services that use the bus station and its Stand Letter are:[32] (Places in bold are where services terminate)

No. Operator Destination Stand
Bus services
18 Arriva North West The Trafford Centre via Wythenshawe, Sale and Stretford D
Altrincham via Hale K
19 Arriva North West Altrincham via Wythenshawe, Sale and Ashton-upon-Mersey G
43 Stagecoach Manchester Manchester Piccadilly via Wythenshawe, Northenden, West Didsbury, Withington and Fallowfield E
44 Hayton's Coaches Manchester Piccadilly via Gatley, Cheadle, East Didsbury, Withington and Fallowfield D
Manchester Airport Cargo Centre K
105 Stagecoach Manchester Manchester Piccadilly via Wythenshawe, Northenden, Southern Cemetery and Moss Side F
199 Trent Barton Buxton via Stockport, Hazel Grove and Chapel-en-le-Frith J
200 Swan's Travel Wilmslow via Styal H
Manchester Airport Viewing Park J
369 Stagecoach Manchester Stockport via Wythenshawe, Heald Green, Cheadle Hulme and Adswood H
X69 Stagecoach Manchester Stockport via Heald Green, Cheadle Hulme and Adswood (one late night journey only) H
Coach services
060 National Express Liverpool via M62 motorway B
Leeds via Manchester and Bradford (some) C
325 National Express Birmingham via Stoke-on-Trent and Wolverhampton A
Manchester Chorlton Street Coach Station C
328 National Express Plymouth via Wolverhampton, Birmingham and Bristol A
Rochdale via Manchester and Oldham C
333 National Express Bournemouth via Stoke-on-Trent and Bristol A
Blackpool via Manchester, Bolton and Preston B
336 National Express Penzance via Stoke-on-Trent and Bristol A
Edinburgh via Preston, Lancaster and Glasgow B
341 National Express Birmingham via Wolverhampton A
Burnley via Manchester, Bolton and Blackburn B
350 National Express Liverpool B
Clacton via Sheffield, Nottingham, Leicester and Ipswich C
380 National Express Bangor via Liverpool B
Newcastle-upon-Tyne via Manchester, Oldham (some), Bradford (some), Leeds, York and Middlesbrough C
381 National Express Chester B
Newcastle-upon-Tyne via Manchester, Oldham, Bradford and Leeds C
383 National Express Edinburgh via Manchester, Oldham, Bradford, Leeds and Newcastle-upon-Tyne C
422 National Express London Victoria Coach Station via Birmingham A
Burnley via Manchester, Bolton and Blackburn B
538 National Express Coventry via Stoke-on-Trent, Wolverhampton and Birmingham A
Inverness via Manchester, Preston, Glasgow and Aberdeen B
540 National Express London Victoria Coach Station via M6 motorway A
Colne via Bolton, Blackburn and Burnley B
880 Eurolines Dublin via Liverpool and Holyhead B

From December 2011 low cost coach operator Gorilla Bus will run direct services between Manchester Airport and Liverpool, Stoke-on-Trent, Birmingham, Carlisle, Hamilton and Glasgow including overnight services.[34]


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.

Taxi ranks are situated by arrivals at all three terminals. Passengers driving to the airport can use the drop-off areas outside the terminal buildings, but when picking up passengers the airport requires that they park in the short stay car parks provided for a fee. Long stay car parks are situated both on and off site.


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 serviced 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 serviced 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. There are several privately operated car parks within a short distance of the airport, served by shuttle bus.


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 will finally be built. The airport line will be one spur of the line from St Werburgh's Road, to East Didsbury and Manchester Airport. The Metrolink line is due to open in 2012 and Manchester Airport's tram station is due to open in 2016.

Future airport expansion

As part of the Government's 'The Future of Air Transport' White Paper, Manchester Airport published its master plan on its proposed expansion up 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. This is 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 an extra fifteen covered stands. A full-length parallel taxiway may also be added to the second runway and more crossing points added across the first runway to improve ground movements of aircraft.

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

All terminals have undergone a retail and airport security refurbishment programme, completed in summer 2009. The security control areas have new X-ray machines and passenger authenticity control systems, which will ensure a higher and faster passenger throughput, whilst improving the security at the airport. In Terminal 1, the security area has been increased to 14 lanes, from the prior 6-lane flow. The new security control areas are now in operation in all terminals. Terminal 2's security zone is now located on a newly constructed upper level, whilst Terminal 1's security zone has been moved closer to the check-in zones. Consequently, the land side retail shopping concourse before security has been removed in both terminals, to accommodate the expanded two-zone air-side departure area, which directs passengers through large duty-free shopping areas as they move from the zone 1 shopping areas immediately after security to zone 2, the food courts and gates. The new terminal layouts allow an increase in passenger numbers and a quicker, easier flow of passenger movement.

Terminal 3 acquired an extra security control area in November 2007, located near check-in zone C. This was dedicated to passengers traveling to 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 has been transformed into an airside seating/waiting area in the Terminal 3 departure lounge.

On 27 April 2008, it was announced that the Manchester Airports Group (MAG), which owns Manchester Airport and the regional airports at East Midlands and Bournemouth, planned to sell its majority stake of 87% in the smaller Humberside Airport, which it has run since 1999. The money raised from the sale would go into developments and expansion at its other airports, a large proportion of which will most probably be used to fund the above expansion of Manchester.[35] However, this decision was later revised, and MAG decided to keep Humberside for the immediate future.

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) obliterated woodland in the Styal area. It also closed a through country lane from Styal southwest to the A538; traffic along that route now must make a long detour through the center of Wilmslow.
    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[36] and Cedar's Wood. Swampy, a well known activist, was among many protesters.[37]
  • Big eastward expansion of car parks obliterated much open land and 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[22] and home owners have not been compensated by the airport.[22]

In 2007 Manchester Airport wanted to build on further green belt 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.[38] 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, despite claims that the number of parking spaces was insufficient for the number of passengers.

Despite public concerns about privacy and health risks,[39] Manchester airport has introduced full-body X-ray scanners in all terminals. Under Department for Transport regulations these scans are now compulsory for all passengers who are selected to undergo the scan. Passengers who object to the scans will not be allowed to fly.[40]

Incidents and accidents

  • On 27 March 1951, a Douglas C-47A-75-DL Dakota 3 cargo aircraft operated by Air Transport Charter[41] 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.[42]
  • 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 4 June 1967 – Stockport Air Disaster – British 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 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.[44]
  • 16 July 2003 – Near miss – Excel Airways Boeing 737-800 (Registration G-XLAG) with 190 passengers and seven crew took off from Manchester Airport while vehicles were working near the end of the runway. Despite the crew being told the runway was operating at reduced length, they took off from a runway intersection with reduced length using a reduced thrust setting calculated for the assumed normal runway length. The aircraft lifted off over the vehicles, missing them by 56 ft (17 m), according to the UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch report. Six safety recommendations were made.[45]
Concorde, now in her hangar at the Aviation Viewing Park

Public attractions

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.[46] 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.[citation needed] Visitors can view aircraft taking off and landing from both runways, and aircraft taxiing to and from the runways. This attraction now draws around 250,000 visitors a year and is one of the North-West of England's top 10 attractions.[citation needed] The visitor park also has a cafe and a shop selling aviation related items. Aircraft on display are:

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.
  • 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[47] 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.
  • A former RAF Nimrod aircraft, new for 2010.

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 from companies such as Hertz and Europcar. 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.


  • Scholefield, R. A.; MacDonald, Steve (1978). First and foremost : 50 years of Manchester's civic airports. Manchester: Manchester International Airport Authority. 
  • Scholefield, R. A. (1998). Manchester Airport. Stroud: Sutton. ISBN 0-7509-1954-X. 


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  10. ^ Bmi to end Manchester-Chicago services
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  17. ^ Number of Movements represents total air transport takeoffs and landings during that year.
  18. ^ "UK Airport Statistics". 2010-03-22. Retrieved 2010-04-04. 
  19. ^ Scholefield 1998, p. 17
  20. ^ a b c "Fact Sheet: Airport Summary". Manchester Airport. Retrieved 2010-04-04. 
  21. ^ Flight path to destruction[dead link]
  22. ^ a b c "Knutsford Guardian – Residents wait for airport to pay out". 2007-12-19. Retrieved 2010-04-04. 
  23. ^ "Community Operations". Manchester Airport. Retrieved 2010-04-04. 
  24. ^ a b "Operating procedure during single runway operation" (PDF).$File/Single+Runway+Operations+Data+Sheet.pdf. Retrieved 2010-04-04. 
  25. ^ "Test exposes airport security lapse". BBC. 9 February 2002. Retrieved 2007-11-04. 
  26. ^ "BBC finds airport security lapses". BBC. 5 September 2004. Retrieved 2007-11-04. 
  27. ^ "Man detained after airport alert". BBC News. 23 September 2005. Retrieved 2007-11-04. 
  28. ^ "Airport arrest man in court on terror charges". London: The Guardian (Newspaper). 15 June 2006.,,1798410,00.html. Retrieved 2007-11-04. 
  29. ^ Scholefield 1998, p. 138
  30. ^ [1][dead link]
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  32. ^ a b "TfGM – Where To Catch Your Bus – Airport". Transport for Greater Manchester. Retrieved 11 May 2011. 
  33. ^ "Service 43 timetable" (PDF). Transport for Greater Manchester. Retrieved 11 May 2011. 
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  35. ^ "Humberside Airport to be sold". Retrieved 2010-04-04. 
  36. ^ "Save Arthurs wood Press statements". Retrieved 2006-12-31. 
  37. ^ War in the Woods: A History of Runway 2 BBC 2007-04-24
  38. ^ "Victory for green belt campaigners as airport's plan for Styal is rejected". Wilmslow Express. Retrieved 2007-11-09. 
  39. ^ "Manchester Airport body scanners in all three terminals". BBC news. 2010-10-14. 
  40. ^ "Security Scanners Public Information". Manchester Airport. Retrieved 2010-11-15. 
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  42. ^ "ASN Aircraft accident Douglas C-47A-75-DL Dakota 3 G-AJVZ Manchester-Ringway Airport (MAN)". Retrieved 2010-04-04. 
  43. ^ "Accident description". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 7 October 2009. 
  44. ^ "British Air Tours KT28M air crash". 1985-08-22. Retrieved 2010-04-04. 
  45. ^ "Report No: 3/2006. Report on the serious incident to Boeing 737-86N, G-XLAG, at Manchester Airport on 16 July 2003". UK AAIB. Retrieved 2007-12-29. 
  46. ^ Scholefield 1998, p. 133
  47. ^ "Airport newts halt Concorde home". BBC News. 19 September 2008. 

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