MAG (Manchester Airports Group) has 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 plans for new spacious facilities, state-of-the-art technology and equipment, and an exciting array of shops, bars, restaurants and airport lounges.

The plans will see Manchester Airport expand its role as the UK’s global gateway in the North, connecting the region to further international destinations and 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.

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. It will also see upgrades to 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 across Greater Manchester and the wider North.

Lou Cordwell, Chair of Greater Manchester Business Board (LEP), said: “Today’s announcement on the next phase of the Manchester Airport Transformation Programme is fantastic news for people and businesses in Greater Manchester and across the wider North.  

“Manchester Airport has an integral role in the North’s economy, connecting us with the rest of the world and supporting businesses who export goods and services overseas. As well as creating hundreds of jobs in the immediate term, the improvements being delivered will enable and support economic activity for decades to come.”

Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, said: Manchester Airport is a massive asset to our city region, connecting those living and working here to global destinations, as well as helping attract visitors, tourists and inward investment.

“The further investment in the Manchester Airport transformation programme will enhance Greater Manchester’s international credentials and make a major contribution to the northern economy.

“The project is also doing a huge amount to create employment for people from all backgrounds and providing training that will ensure it leaves a skills legacy for future generations.”

Cllr Bev Craig, Leader of Manchester City Council, said: We welcome this important investment in a thriving future for Manchester Airport.

“It is a boost not just for the airport itself but for Manchester, and Greater Manchester, as a whole. The airport is a vital asset which helps attract employment and investment to the city and supports tens of thousands of jobs, both directly and through the wider visitor economy. Having this global connectivity is a major competitive advantage for Manchester. 

“As well as boosting the airport, this next phase of the transformation programme will also create thousands of jobs which Manchester people can access, including young people getting started in their careers.  

“This scale of investment, underpinned by a long-term vision to transform the airport and its facilities, is a real statement of confidence.” 

Rhys Whalley, Interim Managing Director at MIDAS, Manchester’s Inward Investment Agency said:

“Manchester Airport’s next phase of investment is another significant boost to Greater Manchester’s offering, as one of the most accessible cities in the UK.

Not only will this transformation help to secure more high value routes, it will also create a world class hub connecting the North of the UK to key markets internationally. Both those factors combined will make us an even more attractive place for international investors and I can’t wait to see it come to fruition.”

Sheona Southern, Managing Director at Marketing Manchester, said; “This year Lonely Planet and National Geographic have named Manchester a must-visit city, so it is great to hear about Manchester Airport’s investment to strengthen its position as a major international hub for the city, and gateway to the North. As the volume of international visitors to Greater Manchester increases, it is reassuring to know Manchester Airport will be ready to handle demand and offer visitors a warm welcome and a positive travel experience.”

Deepa Bharadwaj, Head of Infrastructure Europe, IFM Investors, said:

“This announcement is extremely positive news for Manchester Airport, its colleagues, passengers and airline customers.

“As a pension fund owned infrastructure investor, IFM’s commitment to MAG is very long-term, unlocking significant value for the North of England, and the UK economy as a whole.”

Damian Waters, Regional Director – CBI, said:

“I am delighted to hear that Manchester Airport is making such a major investment in its facilities and am excited to see the positive impact this will have on the region as a whole.

“This is yet another demonstration of not only MAG’s long-term commitment to providing an excellent experience for passengers and airlines, but also the key role it continues to play as a true driver of economic growth and success for the North West.”

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.”

Emma Degg, CEO of the North West Business Leadership Team, said:

“‘Manchester Airport is an essential transport hub for the North West – it connects us to key markets, the international investment community, students and visitors.  If the region is to continue to grow and competitive effectively across the world, business requires an airport of truly global class, and this latest phase of the transformation programme will help to deliver what we need long into the future.”

Paul Stowers, Head of Exports in the Northern Powerhouse at Department for International Trade said: 

“It’s wonderful to see these developments for the transformation and expansion continue, positively impacting on trade and investment in the North. This new capacity at Manchester Airport will help our businesses grow further, expanding their global reach and making the journey much more exciting.”