The centrepiece project of Manchester Airport’s £1bn transformation programme has welcomed its first passengers.
The 870,000 sq ft terminal was originally scheduled to open in summer 2020, a target pushed back as the Covid-19 pandemic devastated international travel. Operator Manchester Airports Group last week reported an annual loss of £374m as passenger numbers fell by 89%.
A staggered launch is being held, with just three flights scheduled on 14 July, its first day of operation. Jet2 and TUI flights will operate from the facility initially, with other airlines to move across as various restrictions and guidelines are lifted. More retailers and food & drink outlets are also expected to confirm launch dates.
The Manchester Airport Transformation Programme was launched in 2015 and fleshed out in 2017. Its key elements have been the demolition of Terminal 1 and the Terminal 2 project, alongside the construction of multi-storey car parks and new landing piers.
Karen Smart, managing director of Manchester Airport, said: “This is a hugely significant milestone for our airport, our city, the North as a whole and the wider recovery of the travel industry. After a hugely challenging 16 months, we are delighted to be delivering some positive news and welcoming the first passengers into our new terminal extension.
“When we first announced our £1bn transformation programme in 2015, we set out a vision to create facilities that provided a first-class customer experience and cemented our role as the UK’s global gateway in the North.
“It is clear to see that vision has been realised and I would like to thank all our colleagues and partners who have worked on the project since the start.”
A Jet2.com flight to Menorca was the first flight to depart from the terminal. Gary Thompson, whose family were the first passengers to enter, described the facilities as “better than anything we’ve seen before” at the airport.
Laing O’Rourke is the main contractor for MATP, with partners including architect Pascall + Watson, design consultancy Arcadis, airfield works contractor Galliford Try, engineering and architectural services contractor Jacobs and baggage contractor Vanderlande Industries.
The facility includes an airy entrance hall, a security area featuring 10 29m-long lanes, and a departure lounge with an 870 sq ft digital screen.
MAG said that all food and beverage outlets have committed to high street prices. Initially, Pret-a-Manger, Costa Coffee, KFC, Se7en Brothers’ Amber Alehouse and The Bridgewater Exchange by Joseph Holt will be open to customers. Archie’s will open its new T2 location on Thursday, as will juice bar VIT.
Two airport-operated lounges will also open. The immigration hall has been quadrupled in size for passengers arriving in the city.