Manchester Airport set for £440m upgrade

An additional security hall, new gates, and an expanded departure lounge are in store for Terminal 2 as part of the final phase of the £1.3bn Manchester Airport Transformation Programme.

Manchester Airport Group’s 10-year Manchester Airport Transformation Programme was first announced in 2015 and is dedicated towards delivering an improved Terminal 2. The first phase of the scheme completed in April 2019 with the introduction of a passenger pier at the terminal and a new multi-storey carpark.

In July 2021, the next phase finished, doubling the size of the terminal and giving it a new look.

This final, £440m phase is expected to take two years to complete. When it wraps, there will be more shops and food and drink outlets for travellers to enjoy. The departure lounge will double in size and there will be a new pier with large gates for passengers.

Manchester Airport Terminal CGI Manchester Airport Group p Manchester Airport

This CGI gives a taste of what the new retail experience would look like at Terminal 2. Credit: via Manchester Airport

An additional security hall will be built with next generation security scanners, according to MAG.

Those checking in bags will find that process speed up with the doubling of the terminal’s hold baggage capacity to more than 5,000 bags per hour. MAG also announced that two new teardrop check-in islands will be part of the plans.

Over on the airfield, improvements will be made to help improve efficiency. These include the introduction of a dual taxiway system and addition of flexible aircraft stands.

Manchester Airport Terminal CGI Manchester Airport Group p Manchester Airport

The improvements include a new security hall with the latest equipment. Credit: via Manchester Airport

When work on Terminal 2 completes in the summer of 2025, MAG estimates that 80% of airport passengers will use that terminal. Accordingly, Terminal 1 will close after 63 years of service.

More than 500 jobs will be created during the two-year construction of this final phase, according to MAG.

The completion of the wider £1.3bn project will increase the airport’s contribution to the Northern economy by 80%, according to research by York Aviation. That would see the contribution grow from £3.5bn to £6.3bn by 2040, the Macclesfield-based aviation consultancy said.

Manchester Airport Terminal CGI Manchester Airport Group p Manchester Airport

Manchester Airport Group’s plans for Terminal 2 include new check-in areas. Credit: via Manchester Airport

Charlie Cornish, chief executive of MAG, described the airport as “a key economic asset for the North”.

Cornish added: “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, echoed Cornish’s sentiment.

“It is hugely exciting to be announcing this significant investment in Manchester Airport,” Woodroofe said. “It represents a major milestone in the history of both our airport, and the region as a whole.”

MAG’s investment in the airport also drew praise from across the North West.

Manchester City Council Leader Cllr Bev Craig described the investment accordingly: “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,” Craig continued.

“Having this global connectivity is a major competitive advantage for Manchester…This scale of investment, underpinned by a long-term vision to transform the airport and its facilities, is a real statement of confidence.”

Manchester Airport Terminal CGI Manchester Airport Group p Manchester Airport

The upgraded Terminal 2 would also benefit Liverpool, according to Marketing Liverpool. Credit: via Manchester Airport

Chris Brown, director of Marketing Liverpool, said he was “delighted” by the news.

“Not only will it benefit passengers travelling through the airport with brand new routes and world class facilities, but it will open up Liverpool City Region as a destination to attract long haul global audiences,” he said.

Terry Hayward, chief executive of North Cheshire Chamber, chimed in: “Manchester Airport’s announcement of a £440m investment in the next phase of their Transformation Programme could not have come at a better time.

“This major infrastructure project will provide a much-needed boost to the local economy both in the construction phase and afterwards, as the capacity of the airport continues to increase,” Hayward continued.

“Manchester Airport is critical to so many north Cheshire businesses both for business travel and for freight and as it continues to attract new airlines and open up new routes it will bring more businesses to the area and more visitors.”

Manchester Airport Terminal CGI Manchester Airport Group p Manchester Airport

More food and beverage outlets would be added to the airport. Credit: via Manchester Airport

Henri Murison, chief executive of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, looked at the investment from a Northern perspective.

Murison 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,” he continued.

“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.”

In addition to Manchester Airport, MAG owns and operates London Stansted and East Midlands Airport. The company is owned by a variety of public and private shareholders. Manchester City Council and IFM Global Infrastructure each have 35.5% of the shares. The nine other Greater Manchester councils have 29% of the shares.

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I used T2 a couple of months ago, worst airport I’ve ever been to, complete disaster

By Shane

Last resort choice to fly from these days. Woeful place, couldnt care about shopping just get me through security and take off on time.

By Clap

Hopefully there will be more seating and charge points that’s what matters, and modern security gates which are efficient.

By Anonymous

The input of billions of pounds worth of public money, via HS2 ,will further boost the accessibility of the airport and greatly assist it`s growth, this is a massive win for the GM authorities, who own 64.5% of the airport group shares and the GM area can benefit greatly from this, it`s a form of levelling up via the side door.

By Anonymous

Great to see this investment made, let’s hope the next phase is demolishing terminals 1 and 3 and building a single, much larger terminal instead.


Will it be brexit delay proof?

By Levelling Up Manager

Splendid news, especially the bit about more staff. They need more.

By Anonymous

Due to this the airport has decided to keep the skywalk travelators switched off and unmaintained until the works are complete in 3-4 years time. Meaning an embarrassing welcome to Manchester until then.

By Travelators

I hope any new plans keep the existing smoking cage on the roof of terminal 2!
This is really good news. Manchester Airport is honestly the most unpleasant I have been to in Europe, East Asia and North America. Also, last time I arrived here, we were led up a back stairway that was full of pigeon feathers.

By anon

I went to Greece from there last time and it was fine. With new investment there will inevitably be teething problems. When HS2 arrives, it will allow people from the Midlands and the South East easy access, as an alternative to their local airports.

By Elephant

Expect car parking charges and shop / bar / eatery prices to rocket to pay for these upgrades……….

By FromtheBoro

It’s taken a long time to recover from the dreaded lockdowns so the more investment and staff the better. I was prepared to give the woeful performance the benefit of the doubt with all that going on while basically trying to rebuild an airport but will want to see significant improvement in the coming years. Fantastic asset to the North though.

By Chumley

A terrible airport. Sure investment will help . But staff also need to change unfriendly and unhelpful. Think it’s just to big and badly planned… don’t think the facelift will make a massive difference. Much prefer Liverpool and Leeds

By George

Shame they spent all this money on the new T2 and couldn’t be bothered (or didn’t have the brainpower) to put signs by each drop-off entrance door indicating which airline’s check-in counters are positioned beyond each specific door thereby allowing passengers to easily locate their check-in desks rather than getting dropped off at a door pot-luck on the other side of the check-in hall. So much for making travel seamless.

By Anonymous

The airport appears to have a policy of managed decline for its family of travelators. Here’s hoping we find a few bob to bring these important bits of infrastructure back into operation.

By Travelator manager

I often prefer the little airports like Leeds Bradford and Liverpool but Manchester is huge and the building programme is too. it’s going to take some time to get everything working as it should especially given the circumstances.

By Anonymous

Without a shadow of a doubt, the worse airport in the UK. No amount of investment will compensate when it’s operated to such shocking standards.

By Anonymous

I never knew Manchester AG owned Stansted and East Midlands. Just goes to show what a powerhouse to the local economy it is.

By Jim

Presumably there will be an additional charge for walking through each newly constructed area, commensurate with the parking fees?


I know it’s a regional airport but can’t they have some showstopper design like the Jewel in Singapore. It’s a once in a generation upgrade to the airport.

By Anonymous

Great to see effectively £1.3 billion beIng invested by MAG, but it will count for nothing unless they transform the rotten culture that pervades the place, ranging form scruffy dirty clapped out toilets, to a lousy F & B offering and worse still, rude unprofessional staff on baggage security, some of whom are constantly effing and jeffing in run of the mill conversations with passengers as they decant their belongings into the trays. All very unseemly and unpleasant.
To say I intensely dislike the place is an understatement and it’s high time Charlie Cornish and his acolytes stopped believing the BS they espouse almost daily and focussed on the customer care side of their business, rather than taking us for a cash cow at every opportunity.

By Grumpy Old Git

Excellent. Now please drop T3 and build a new one. It’s ‘orrible.

By Sceptical

Get the infrastructure right but concentrate on the customer service at the same time and be transparent with the issues.

By Anonymous

I’m ashamed to say the airport is a shambles and the management meeds to be replaced root and branch. There is barely any level of customer care and private hire pick up is outrageously poor. You can guarantee that swift change would have come about on Bernstein’s watch

By Manchesterlover

Manchester Airport Holding Limited Liability is managed to make a profit (Tory and New Labour dogma). It is doing fine thanks and generated 328 million pounds profit last year. The drop-off charge is a brilliant idea. World-class corporate managers.

By James Yates

It’s good to see some improvement but the design of the place is very outdated and gives a very dark enclosed feel to the airport. Extensions of the roof need to be made to let in more light. Look to Charles De Gaulle Airport as an example.

By Bradley

Was in and out of Manchester Airport six times last year, never had any issues and found the staff to be polite and helpful. Maybe I was just lucky!

By Monty

Monty, you were very lucky


As per Monty’s comment I’ve never had an issue at Manc Airport except for just after COVID when it was incredibly busy and understaffed, but the only issue was it took ages to get a pint, security etc was fine. I can’t think of one busy international airport that hasn’t been affected by the pandemic though. It’s hardly a bucket and space airport!
However, looking forward to improvements as it is dated.

By Anonymous

I use Manchester Airport a lot and the changes made over the past few years have been disastrous. Car parking is woeful and too expensive. Staff attitudes, especially through security, are not good and the amount of seating is massively lacking. The last time I went through arrivals I waited over an hour for my bags which usually is quite quick but we arrived at the same time as a big flight from India and this resulted in hundreds of people trying to get their bags at the carousel and then when we get to the car park the place was chaotic due to the asian people blocking exits waiting to be collected by relatives who were blocking up all the exits. All the roads around the airport were at a standstill because of the repercussions – it was horrendous and all boils down to bad planning. Give us a break you Managers and sort this sort of thing out from happening again.


Hey folks! Let’s keep the conversation on topic, discussing the airport’s plans for Terminal 2 rather than our complaints about services at the airport. Thanks – J

By Julia Hatmaker

Mcr airport should drop the fee for being dropped off at T2 until they fix the so called moving walkways.If you arrive by public transport you are faced with what seems like a mile hike.It is easier to get to Benidorm than it is to get to T2 from the public transport interchange.

By Stan

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