Manchester Airport Begins Next Phase of £1.3bn Transformation

Manchester Airport Begins Next Phase of £1.3bn Transformation

Manchester Airport has started work on the next major phase of its £1.3bn Transformation Programme.

Together with lead contractor, Mace, the airport has started work on the construction of a new pier, which will connect to Terminal 2.

The pier is the most significant new structure being built in the second and final phase of the airport’s £1.3bn Transformation Programme (MAN-TP), first announced in 2015 with a 10-year vision to revolutionise the passenger experience at the UK’s global gateway in the north.

More than 500 jobs are being created during the construction phase of the project – which is forecasted to generate up to 16,400 jobs by 2040, according to independent analysis.

The new pier will mirror Terminal 2’s Pier 1, which opened in 2019, and will provide 12 new spacious boarding gates and flexible aircraft stands for next-generation aircraft. It will also be equipped to handle the giant Airbus A380, the largest passenger aircraft currently in operation.

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 the summer of 2021. The second phase will see the original building upgraded with a second security hall and a new-look, extended departure lounge, along with reconfigurations of the airfield to make operations more efficient.

Upon completion in 2025, around 80% of all passengers will use the expanded Terminal 2, which will also boast 27 new shops, bars and restaurants, including a high-street style shopping area, a champagne bar and a food hall.

The Manchester Airport Transformation Programme is the largest ever investment made in the Northern gateway by MAG, which also owns London Stansted and East Midlands Airports.

MAG Deputy CEO Ken O’Toole was on hand to put the first spade in the ground, as work started on the pier on Monday.

It comes after it was announced he will become Group CEO from 1st October last week.

Mr O’Toole said:

“We are pleased to be beginning work on what is a major milestone in our transformation of Manchester Airport.

“Our £1.3bn transformation programme is the largest investment ever made in Manchester Airport, and will create thousands of jobs, revolutionise the customer experience and ensure we connect to the North to even more global destinations in the years ahead.

“We are already seeing the benefits of the first phase of our investment, with passengers and airlines providing excellent feedback on our extended Terminal 2. Through this second phase, we will deliver yet more improvements to the passenger experience and cater for the growing network of airlines operating from Manchester.

“As we break ground on this pier, I look forward to seeing the project progress to its conclusion in 2025, cementing Manchester’s role as the UK’s global gateway in the North.”

The news was welcomed by Aviation Minister Baroness Vere, who said:

“The UK is renowned for its cutting-edge technology, and with Manchester Airport’s new pier set to cut emissions by 40%, it will lead the way in creating a sustainable sector and will accelerate our progress towards net zero.

“The development of the pier showcases the aviation sector’s significant role in driving economic growth, creating jobs and boosting the local economy.

“This is a significant milestone for the aviation industry, and we look forward to seeing Manchester Airport set new standards for the rest of the industry to follow.”

Cllr Bev Craig, Leader of Manchester City Council, said:

“Manchester Airport is the city, and the North’s, gateway to the world. This marks the start of another significant step in its transformation to ensure it is fit for the future, creating construction jobs in the immediate term and helping to support tens of thousands of jobs and other opportunities in the longer term.”

Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham said:

“It’s great to see this investment going in to Manchester Airport. Having been through Terminal 2 myself, it’s clear that this is a facility that the city-region can rightly be proud of, and this investment will improve the passenger experience and provide good employment opportunities for young people. The airport’s role as the UK’s global gateway in the North matches Greater Manchester’s ambition to be a city-region that competes with capitals across the world.”

The new pier will be a short walk from the departure lounge and will incorporate flexible stands, accommodating either wide or narrow bodied aircraft in the same footprint. It will offer 12 additional ‘contact gates’, which means passengers can directly walk onto the aircraft.

Construction of the new pier will utilise cutting-edge techniques to reduce the amount of embodied carbon emissions by up to 40 per cent, including pre-casting the concrete used and minimising the amount of excavation work required, through the use of an innovative piling solution. Mace will use a ‘kit of parts’ approach to build the pier, manufacturing nodes and links off-site, allowing the on-site construction elements to be completed more quickly and with minimal disruption on the airfield.

More than 500 construction jobs will be created in the second phase of the MAN-TP programme, 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 analysis – by York Aviation – predicts 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.

In its role as lead construction contractor on the project, MACE will also engage 1,500 young people across Greater Manchester, aims to raise £70,000 for local charities and donate 500 hours of employee volunteering time. MACE and its supply chain partners are also targeting that at least 5% of the workforce should be apprentices for the duration of the project.

Jill Fraser, Transformation Programme Delivery Director at Manchester Airport added:

“The new pier will future-proof Terminal 2 by offering extra capacity and ensuring we are equipped to flexibly deal with all types of aircraft.

“This work forms part of a much wider programme, which will ensure passengers travelling through Manchester Airport will have an experience befitting a major global hub and allow us to operate in a sustainable way into the future.”

Carl Dainter, Head of Global Aviation for Mace Consult, said:

“This exciting next phase of Manchester Airport’s transformation is giving us the opportunity to implement ideas, methodologies and solutions that will allow us to speed up delivery, reduce carbon and, crucially, minimise impact to the live airfield operations.

“This is only possible due to the collaborative and integrated relationship with have with the client and supply chain. By working as one team with shared values and objectives, we’re making excellent progress towards our 2025 open-to-passengers target.”

Further information regarding the transformation programme’s second phase will be released in the coming months.

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