London Hotels Articles

July 5, 2010

Manchester Airport; Always Striving To Improve And Develop

Manchester airport is a major airport within the UK, its size and passenger numbers are large and considered to be the largest outside the London area. Naturally as with every major airport today Manchester is filled with accompanying services such as car hire desks, shops, cafes and restaurants. Like Heathrow Manchester has two operational runways, an advantage over airports like Gatwick and Stansted. The site also has its own railway station and extensive road links meaning that it is a major air transport hub in the north of England. In the previous twelve months Manchester saw twenty two million passengers fly in and out; the site is not owned by BAA but is instead owned by the Manchester Airport Group, a group doing well enough to consider buying Gatwick airport in the coming year.

Like many of the airports in the UK Manchester started operating during the thirties as part of a growth in air travel more generally. Originally the site’s location in the parish of Ringway gave the airfield its name. The inaugural flight went to Amsterdam in 1938. The outbreak of war however meant that the site was soon requisitioned for military purposes. During these years the airfield was used for flying operational sorties but was predominantly used as a testing and training centre. The British manufacturer Avro, makers of the Lancaster, used the site to test their bombers. In terms of training it is believed that the site was the major training ground for the newly formed parachute regiments that were so instrumental in the new form of warfare.

As with most airfields in the UK the ending of war meant a return to civilian use. By the late fifties Manchester was ferrying half a million passengers annually. Such high usage meant expansion and growth to accommodate large passenger numbers. Additionally, the jet age required extensions to the runways as well as larger more efficient terminal buildings. At this early stage airport bosses started to fill these terminals with shops, cafes and car hire desks as a means of earning extra profits through tenancy agreements. It was not until the seventies that the site was renamed as Manchester International Airport.

As the major airport outside of London executives soon realised the opportunity to begin long haul flights from the site. Long haul planes however meant yet another runway extension to accommodate large jets like the Boeing 747. This expansion yielded great results. By the early nineties around ten million passengers were using the airport on an annual basis; clearly having a major airport outside of the London conurbation was a good idea. It was during these years that another terminal was built with all of the auxiliary services like car hire desks, shops and restaurants. Additionally it this period also saw the addition of a rail link to the national network and a second runway. The second runway increased passenger numbers two fold in the next decade or so and is large enough today to accommodate the gargantuan Airbus A380, the largest passenger jet ever built.

Manchester airport today is the largest and most commonly used outside of the three major London airports. It has developed from a small airfield named after a local parish to a bona fide international gateway. With the facilities to accommodate the largest and most modern aircraft it will continue to be a leader in the world of air travel. As a fundamental link in the transportation network its future is somewhat assured.

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