Celebrating its busiest ever festive period helped the UK’s Northern gateway to report a record year for passenger numbers at Manchester Airport in 2018.
More than 28.2 million passengers passed through the UK’s third largest airport in the last 12 months.
Popular holiday hot spots included Turkey with passenger numbers to Antalya up 50% and Dalaman 30% versus 2017. Agadir also saw a significant increase of 95%. Looking further afield traffic to Hong Kong was up 39% and Muscat was up 34% against 2017, showcasing the increased demand for long-haul connectivity from the Northern hub.
It was a significant year for the airport as it celebrated its 80th birthday and progressed works on its £1bn transformation. The UK’s third largest airport also added further long-haul connectivity with new routes to Seattle with Thomas Cook Airlines, Mumbai with Jet Airways and Addis Ababa with Ethiopian Airlines. In all these cases, Manchester is the only UK airport outside of London to offer such services.
Andrew Cowan, Manchester Airport CEO, said:
“Last year was a strong one for the airport with a number of key long-haul routes launched and a range of significant milestones achieved. We also saw strong growth from airlines such as easyJet, Ryanair and Jet2.com, all of which added frequency and capacity last year.
“For 2019 we’ve already seen significant growth announcements from the likes of easyJet, Ryanair, Jet2.com, TUI and Thomas Cook Airlines, giving our passengers a greater choice of destinations to choose from.
“The year also saw us celebrate our 80th birthday and it was great to celebrate the milestone with a wide range of people and organisations over the course of the 12 months. Activities ranged from the release of the hugely poignant “Time Flies” film, created in partnership with Tony Walsh, to our involvement in Manchester Day and the planting of 80 oak trees across the whole of the region.
“Now we are into a New Year, excitement is really building about the delivery of the first phase of our £1bn transformation programme. There has been impressive progress on what is the biggest investment in our history and in April, the first brand new pier will open to passengers. I look forward to celebrating the occasion with customers, airlines and other partner organisations.
“As 2019 progresses we will continue to work hard to secure further new routes to important business and leisure destinations across the world, unlocking opportunities for all of the North.”
During 2018 there were 201,239 take offs and landings from the airport’s two full length runways – more than 550 per day on average. Furthermore 117,264 tonnes of freight were also carried onboard those flights.
Last month close to two million (1,956,784) passengers passed through the terminals making it the airport’s busiest ever December, an increase of 7% on 2017. For the Christmas getaway between the 21st and 31st of December more than 715,000 people flew in and out of the airport, up from 655,000 for the same period the previous year.
In April 2019 the first pier will open as part of the airport’s ongoing £1bn transformation programme. New road ways and a new multi-storey car park will also open at the same time. Work is also continuing at pace on the terminal extension that will open from Summer 2020.
On the aviation side, May will see El Al return to Manchester Airport with a three-weekly service to Tel Aviv. Plus Virgin Atlantic will commence services to Los Angeles, joining Thomas Cook Airlines who already operate the route.