Manchester Airport begins next phase of £1.3bn transformation program

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Manchester Airport has started work on the next phase of its £1.3bn (US$1.65bn) Transformation Programme – the construction of a new pier, which will connect to Terminal 2.

According to the airport, the pier is the most significant new structure being built in the second and final phase of the airport’s £1.3bn (US$1.65bn) Transformation Programme (MAN-TP). The new pier will mirror Terminal 2’s Pier 1, which opened in 2019, and will provide 12 new boarding gates and flexible aircraft stands for next-generation aircraft. It will also be equipped to handle the giant Airbus A380, the largest passenger aircraft currently in operation. The new pier will be a short walk from the departure lounge and will incorporate flexible stands, accommodating either wide- or narrow-bodied aircraft in the same footprint. It will offer 12 additional ‘contact gates’, which means passengers can directly walk onto the aircraft.

Construction of the new pier will use techniques to reduce the amount of embodied carbon emissions by up to 40%, including pre-casting the concrete used and minimizing the amount of excavation work required, through the use of a piling solution. Lead contractor Mace will use a ‘kit of parts’ approach to building the pier, manufacturing nodes and links off-site, enabling the on-site construction elements to be completed more quickly and with minimal disruption on the airfield.

The first phase saw Terminal 2 more than double in size. The second phase will see the original building upgraded with a second security hall and a new-look, extended departure lounge, along with reconfigurations of the airfield to make operations more efficient. Upon completion in 2025, the airport estimates that around 80% of all passengers will use the expanded Terminal 2, which will also boast 27 new shops, bars and restaurants, including a high-street style shopping area, a champagne bar and a food hall.

More than 500 construction jobs will be created in the second phase of the MAN-TP program, while independent analysis shows around 16,400 extra jobs will be generated by 2040 as a result of the economic activity stimulated by the expansion of the airport and its route network.

The same analysis – by York Aviation – predicts that Manchester Airport’s current contribution to the Northern economy of £3.5bn (US$4.45bn) is expected to increase by nearly 80%, to £6.3bn (US$8bn) by 2040 as a result of the full delivery of the transformation program. A further £2.9bn (US$3.6bn) boost will reportedly be triggered through the increased productivity of businesses traveling and trading globally through Manchester over the same period.

Mace will also engage 1,500 young people across Greater Manchester, and aims to raise £70,000 (US$89,000) for local charities and donate 500 hours of employee volunteering time. Mace and its supply chain partners are also targeting that at least 5% of the workforce should be apprentices for the duration of the project.

The company also reports that the Manchester Airport Transformation Programme is the largest ever investment made in the Northern Gateway by MAG, which also owns London Stansted and East Midlands Airports.

Ken O’Toole, deputy CEO at MAG, commented, “We are pleased to be beginning work on what is a major milestone in our transformation of Manchester Airport. Our £1.3bn [US$1.65bn] transformation program is the largest investment ever made in Manchester Airport and will create thousands of jobs, revolutionize the customer experience and ensure we connect the North to even more global destinations in the years ahead.

“We are already seeing the benefits of the first phase of our investment, with passengers and airlines providing excellent feedback on our extended Terminal 2. Through this second phase, we will deliver yet more improvements to the passenger experience and cater for the growing network of airlines operating from Manchester. As we break ground on this pier, I look forward to seeing the project progress to its conclusion in 2025, cementing Manchester’s role as the UK’s global gateway in the North.”

Jill Fraser, transformation program delivery director at Manchester Airport, said, “The new pier will futureproof Terminal 2 by offering extra capacity and ensuring we are equipped to flexibly deal with all types of aircraft. This work forms part of a much wider program, which will ensure passengers traveling through Manchester Airport will have an experience befitting a major global hub and allow us to operate in a sustainable way into the future.”

Carl Dainter, head of global aviation for Mace Consult, said, “This exciting next phase of Manchester Airport’s transformation is giving us the opportunity to implement ideas, methodologies and solutions that will allow us to speed up delivery, reduce carbon and, crucially, minimize impact to the live airfield operations. This is only possible due to the collaborative and integrated relationship with have with the client and supply chain. By working as one team with shared values and objectives, we’re making excellent progress toward our 2025 open-to-passengers target.”

Manchester Airports Group (MAG) also recently appointed Ken O’Toole as its next group CEO. Click here to read the full story.

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