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Manchester Airport

About Manchester Airport

The story of Manchester Airport.
Today, Manchester Airport is one of Britain's, and the world's principal airports, handling millions of passengers each year, connecting the North of England with world-wide destinations. Still growing, Manchester Airport has an exciting and promising future, but it has an equally illustrious past, beginning in 1928.

Before 1928 , Manchester had seen plenty of air activity, starting in 1910, when Louis Paulhan landed his Farman biplane in a field near Burnage, claiming the £10,000 Daily Mail prize as the first man to fly from London to Manchester.

Various short-lived aerodromes sprang up in and around Manchester, in order to handle increasing air traffic. In 1919, Britain's first ever scheduled air service launched from a private airfield in Manchester, flying to Birkdale Sands in Southport, then on to South Shore, Blackpool.

However, Manchester still had no permanent airport. But in 1926, some far-seeing city fathers realised that unless Manchester had a permanent airport, the city would suffer commercially. They agitated for the establishment of a more permanent airport, and as a result of their efforts, the first Manchester Airport was built, and in turn resulting in the Manchester Airport we know today.

  • 1928 Barton, near Eccles, is chosen as the site of Manchester's new aerodrome. At the same time, Manchester City Council is keen to establish a municipal airport, so a temporary airfield is built in Wythenshawe.
  • 1934 Discussions open with KLM (Royal Dutch Airlines) on a Holland-North of England service. Barton Aerodrome is considered unsuitable for larger aircraft and the necessary improvements would be prohibitively expensive, so land at Ringway, South of Manchester, is earmarked for a new airport.
  • 1938 With the approach of war, the Air Ministry approves the formation of No. 613 (City of Manchester) Auxiliary Air Force Squadron at Ringway Airport. The squadron becomes a regular unit of the RAF later in the year. Ringway Airport is officially opened on the 25th June, and operations commence two days later. In the first 14 months of operation, Ringway handles 7,600 passengers (a summer morning's work today!).
  • The Second World War The Airport is a hive of activity as an aeroplane manufacturing centre (Fairey Aviation and Avro). Runway and airport facilities are enhanced with three new runways and ten new hangars. The Airport also acts as a training centre for over 60,000 parachutists.
  • 1946 Normal passenger services resume with an Air France Dakota flight from Le Bourget to Manchester.
  • 1951 The main runway is extended from 1,280 metres to 1,798 metres.
  • 1952 The Airport commences 24-hour operations, and handles 163,000 passengers annually.
  • 1954 The Airport logs its millionth passenger since the Second World War.
  • 1962 HRH the Duke of Edinburgh opens the new £2.7 million terminal. It is the first in Europe to incorporate the pier system, in which passengers remain under cover until ready to board the aircraft. Passenger throughput now stands at over a million per year.
  • 1969 The runway is extended to 2,745 metres, allowing aircraft to take off with a full payload and fly non-stop to Canada and the eastern seaboard of America.
  • 1978 15 scheduled airlines operate flights to 37 destinations in the UK, Europe and North America. Over a hundred companies operate at the Airport, employing more than 5,000 people.
  • 1981 The runway is extended by 244 metres, so as to attract long haul operators to destinations throughout the world.
  • 1987 A throughput of one million passengers a month is achieved for the first time.
  • 1989 HRH the Princess of Wales opens the Domestic Terminal, which includes its own check-in and car park. It is capable of handling over two and a half million passengers a year.
  • 1991 Manchester publishes its new 'Development Strategy for the year 2005', including plans for the 21st century Airport, designed to handle 30 million passengers per annum by 2005. Proposals for the Airport's second runway are included in this document.
  • 1993 Terminal 2 is opened by HRH the Duke of Edinburgh, doubling Manchester Airport's terminal capacity to around 20 million passengers a year. The railway station is opened in May, providing direct links to many towns and cities in the North of England.
  • 1995 The Public Inquiry into the proposal to build a new runway closes in March. The new British Airways maintenance hangar is completed at a cost of £27 million. Passenger throughput hits 15 million.
  • 1999 Manchester Airport acquires a majority shareholding in Humberside International Airport.
  • 2000 Work starts on the £60 million Integrated Public Transport Interchange and the government gives the go ahead for a £289 million Metrolink extension to the Airport.

Manchester Airport - Facilites

What facilities are available to you?
Here's what you need to know. As an in-coming or out-going passenger, it's useful to know all the Airport facilities that are at your disposal. Here's where you'll find the facts.

  • Car Parks
    There are numerous Short and Long Stay car parks at Manchester Airport.
  • Special Needs
    For the disabled and hard of hearing.
  • Cultural and Religious Facilities
    For all cultures and denominations.
  • Children's Facilities
    Baby care and children's play area.
  • Business and Conference Facilities
    Conference and banqueting facilities for private and business use.
  • Manchester Airport Lounge, Terminal 2
    Now open........ Escape - a new experience in Airport lounges
  • Business Facilities
    Everything for the busy executive.
  • Other Facilities
    A range of additional Airport services.
  • Medical Facilites
    Walk-In Medical Centre.
  • Toilets
    Award winning facilities.


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