Manchester Airport Marks 85th Birthday with 85-Prize Giveaway

Manchester Airport has kicked-off a series of celebrations to mark its 85th birthday.

The northern hub announced a special programme of activity to ring in the milestone, including a prize draw with free flights to destinations all over the world, the reincarnation of one of its iconic chandeliers and an exhibition celebrating the history of Wythenshawe – and much more.

The first-ever flight from what was then known as Ringway Airport took off on 27th June 1938, two days after it officially opened its doors on the 25th, and Manchester Airport has since grown to become the UK’s global gateway in the North, employing tens of thousands of people and connecting the region to nearly 200 different destinations.

At the time the airport opened, King George VI was on the throne and Neville Chamberlain was Prime Minister. Preston North End narrowly missed out on winning the Football League while Manchester City were relegated – a stark contrast to their treble-winning exploits this year.

A lot has changed since then, but Manchester Airport has remained a constant, flying passengers from the city and wider region to an ever-expanding list of destinations.

Chris Woodroofe, Managing Director of Manchester Airport, said:

“We are proud to celebrate 85 years of connecting this region to the world, and it is fantastic to be joined in marking this occasion by many of the airline partners who have helped Manchester Airport grow into the UK’s global gateway in the North.

“Manchester Airport is already the UK’s largest airport outside London but we are intent on improving the passenger experience. Our £1.3bn Transformation Programme is due to be completed in 2025 and will give us the platform to compete with other major European airports for routes to new destinations, which will, in turn, attract inward investment to the wider region.”

Activity planned to mark the airport’s 85th birthday includes:

  • The reincarnation of one of its iconic chandeliers, previously on display in Terminal 1, with the remodelled glassware set to take pride of place in the airport’s new-look Terminal 2 being developed as part of its £1.3bn transformation.
  • A prize draw with free flight tickets, Concorde champagne tours, Duy Free vouchers and complimentary lounge passes worth a combined £20,000.
  • A special celebration as part of the airport’s sponsorship of Manchester Day, which will take place in the city centre on Saturday 29th July and will include a pop-up holiday-themed interactive zone on Deansgate, with funfair-style games and entertainment.
  • The donation of thousands of reusable water bottles to airport staff and passengers, to promote the reduction of plastic waste and the airport’s free water refill scheme.
  • The staging of a pop-up Wythenshawe history exhibition in the Airport’s station this summer. Who Built Wythenshawe: The Forgotten Story of Ernest & Shena Simon and the Creation of Manchester’s Garden City traces the story of Wythenshawe, including a look at the airport’s history from RAF Ringway onwards, and how the airport and Wythenshawe have shaped one another.

One key announcement was the return of one of the airport’s iconic Venetian chandeliers, which formed the centrepiece of Terminal 1’s departure hall for over four decades until their removal in 2003.

The airport has teamed-up with Manchester Metropolitan University for a project that will see one of the original pieces of glassware brought back to life. A series of designs will be created, with passengers being given the chance to vote on their favourite, which will then feature in Terminal 2’s redesigned departure hall, due to open in 2025.

Passengers and airport followers can also enter a huge competition for the chance to win free tickets to exotic destinations like Las Vegas, Dubai, Beijing, Paris and Toronto as part of a £20,000 prize draw giveaway.

Eight airlines, including KLM, Emirates, Hainan Airlines and AirTransat have offered up prizes for the competition.

The prize draw launches today (Monday, 26th June) and one lucky winner will scoop a flights-plus-hotel package for two people to visit Las Vegas, when direct flights to the world’s entertainment capital resume next summer.

The Las Vegas package, worth more than £3,000, includes a three-night stay in a hotel on the world-famous Las Vegas Strip and two complementary tickets to a Cirque du Soleil show.

Manchester Airport’s very first commercial flight operated to Amsterdam with KLM, two days after it opened, on 27th June 1938. The Dutch airline still serves the same route to this day, and is offering a pair of tickets from Manchester ‘to the world’, with a transfer in Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, giving the winner a choice of more than 170 destinations for their free flight.

Turkish Airlines will also provide two free tickets to Istanbul. The airline’s direct Manchester – Istanbul service celebrates its own 30-year milestone this summer. Visitors to the city that hosted this year’s Champions League final will find historic landmarks like the Hagia Sofia, a vibrant night life and fantastic food and drink.

Other airlines offering tickets as part of the prize draw include;

  • Air France, offering a pair of return tickets to Paris.
  • Hainan Airlines, who will lay on a free flight for two lucky guests to Beijing.
  • Emirates, offering two free return economy flights to Dubai.
  • Canadian airline AirTransat, with two pairs of Eco Standard return tickets to Toronto.
  • Singapore Airlines, providing a pair of return economy tickets on their route to Houston, Texas.
  • Ethiopian Airlines, providing two return tickets from Manchester to Zanzibar, Mombasa or the Seychelles via a connection in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa.

Other prizes include free executive lounge access, free meals at selected airport eateries, Duty Free vouchers, Champagne tours of the iconic Concorde at the Runway Visitor Park, and airport goody bags.

Richard Jewsbury, Divisional Vice President UK at Emirates said:

“At Emirates we are proud of the long-standing relationship we have with Manchester Airport, a key UK gateway for the airline. We are delighted to join in with the celebrations of this impressive 85th anniversary milestone, and will be gifting two Economy tickets to the thriving, cosmopolitan city of Dubai. We look forward to welcoming the lucky passengers onboard, and continuing our support for Manchester by connecting people, businesses and communities in the North West region to our global network of over 140 destinations.”

Entries close on Wednesday 26th July and winners will be contacted shortly thereafter.

As part of its 85th birthday celebrations, the airport is also looking to the future by producing thousands of reusable water bottles branded with its 85th birthday logo, to be given away to passengers and staff. The scheme will promote the reduction of plastic waste and the airport’s free water refill scheme, with refill points available throughout its three terminals.

The airport is also reaffirming its commitment to neighbouring communities by relaunching its volunteering scheme, where colleagues can claim up to two days of company time per year to volunteer for a good cause of their choice. The scheme could see more than 45,000 hours of voluntary work carried out by MAG colleagues.

The airport’s operator MAG has also announced its official charity partners for Manchester Airport’s 85th year;

  • Magic Breakfast, which provides healthy breakfasts to children and young people in the UK who arrive at school too hungry to learn.
  • The Children’s Society, which supports the most vulnerable children and young people facing serious life challenges.
  • Medcare, which provides health and social care to thousands of children in Uganda suffering the effects of extreme poverty.

Manchester Airport will also be sponsoring Manchester Day on Saturday 29th July, as the city centre carnival marks its return.

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