Manchester Airport (IATA: MAN, ICAO: EGCC), is an international airport at Ringway, Manchester, England. In 2011 it was third busiest airport in the United Kingdom in terms of passenger numbers, and the 23rd busiest airport in Europe. Manchester Airport is the largest outside the London region with over double the passengers of its nearest non-London rival, Edinburgh Airport.
The terminals are 7.5 NM (13.9 km; 8.6 mi) south of Manchester city centre. It officially opened on 25 June 1938 and was initially known as Ringway Airport. During World War II, it was called RAF Ringway and from 1975 until 1986 Manchester International Airport. The airport is owned and managed by the Manchester Airports Group (MAG), a holding company owned by the ten metropolitan borough councils of Greater Manchester, with Manchester City Council owning the largest stake. A Category 10 airport, the airport comprises three terminals, a goods terminal and a railway station. It is the only British airport other than London Heathrow to have two runways over 3,000 metres in length.
The airport regularly handled Concorde and currently houses the British Airways G-BOAC flagship Concorde at the Manchester Runway Visitor Park. Ringway, which the airport was named after, still exists as a few buildings and church at the southern edge of the airport. Vacant land exists for expansion, and the £649,000,000 Manchester Airport City scheme aims to create logistics, manufacturing, office and hotel space adjacent to the airport.
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 World War II it was the base for RAF Ringway, and was important in military aircraft production and training parachutists. After World War II, the base reverted to a civilian airport it gradually expanded to its present size. Historically, Manchester has consistently been the busiest airport after London Heathrow for a number of decades following World War II.
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.
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.
The airport provides regular direct flights to destinations worldwide by over 60 airlines. North American carriers at Manchester include American Airlines, United 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.
Scheduled airlines with a base at Manchester include: EasyJet, Flybe, Jet2, Monarch, Ryanair and Virgin Atlantic. Charter airlines with a base at Manchester include: Monarch, Strategic Airlines, Thomas Cook Airlines and Thomson Airways.
Manchester Airport offers flights to over 190 destinations across the globe and 65 tour operators utilise the facility. 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.
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 is mostly used by Star Alliance airline members such as Lufthansa and Swiss International Air Lines as well as other scheduled and charter operations. It was opened in 1962 by the Duke of Edinburgh, handling scheduled & charter European flights. It is also the base forEasyJet, Jet2 and Thomas Cook Airlines. Some other European scheduled airlines such as Germanwings and Aer Lingus 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. compared with an annual capacity of 2.5 million passengers when it first opened.
In summer 2009, a £50 million redevelopment programme for Terminal 1 was completed. 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. Emirates currently operate the only A380 service out of Manchester from Terminal 1.
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 Strategic Airlines, Thomson Airways, Virgin Atlantic andMonarch'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. 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 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, Flybe and Ryanair. 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. Since taking over BA Connect's select routes, Flybe has gone on to add several more destinations.
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.
Manchester Airport has a World Freight Terminal, serving cargo-only freighter services and cargo carried on regular 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, operated by British Airways Regional Cargo, Swissport Cargo, Menzies World Cargo, Plane Handling and Servisair. There are over 100 freight forwarding companies on site.
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 107,000 tonnes in 2011, making Manchester the fourth-busiest UK airport for freight behind London Heathrow, East Midlands and London Stansted.
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 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 at a cost of £172 million, and was the first full-length commercial runway to open in Britain for over 20 years. 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 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 and Stockport when landing or taking off, in particular landing aircraft which do not follow 'Preferred Noise Routes'.For the latter reason, Runway 2 cannot legally be used between the hours of 10pm and 6am. However, the airport has permission to use Runway 2 between these hours if maintenance work is needed on the original runway.
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.