Manchester Airport Guide
BMI Manchester Flights
FlyBE Manchester Flights
Lufthansa Manchester Flights
Etihad Airways Manchester Flights
British Airways Manchester Flights
Air France Manchester Flights

Your Complete Guide to Manchester Airport

Manchester Airport (MAN) is located in the country of Lancashire, Northern England, and lies approximately 14 km (8.6 miles) southwest of central Manchester.  Part of the airport extends into Cheshire East, and it is also nearby the suburbs of Ashley, Morley Green, Styal and Wilmslow.  With close to nineteen million passengers in 2009, Manchester Airport is ranked as the fourth busiest in terms of passenger traffic in the United Kingdom, and the third busiest in terms of total aircraft movements.  In terms of international passengers, it is currently ranked as the world’s twenty-second busiest airport.  The airport consists of three large terminal buildings, with all terminals handling domestic and international flights.

Manchester Airport was officially opened for business on the 25 June, 1938 - back then known as the Ringway Airport due to its location at Ringway in Manchester City. Its title of Manchester International only came into place from 1972.  Construction began in 1935 by the Lord Mayor.  In 1938, a public air display was held to celebrate the opening and it received its first scheduled flight from Amsterdam, which was a Douglas DC-2 operated by KLM.  Until war was declared, a couple thousand of people continued to use the flights offered by KLM.  During the war, Ringway Airport was used for both operational flying and training.  The Parachute Training School RAF mainly used the airport for the training of paratroopers until March 1946, and the airport was also used as a testing ground for over 4,000 aircraft by Fairey Aviation.  With heavier aircraft now in use, the airport’s original grass runways were seriously damaged, and therefore, two asphalt runways were hastily built.  After this, a third runway was built, but by the 1950’s, only one was still in operation.  The war ended, and the first trans-Atlantic schedule began on 28 October 1953, with flights offered by Sabena Belgian World Airlines to New York’s Idlewild, which is today known as the JFK. 

During the years following the war its passenger numbers grew rapidly. 500,000 passengers were already using the airport by 1958.  The airport was in operation 24 hours a day from 1 April 1952, the main runway was extended to 7,000 ft and was in use again by 23 April 1958, and the passenger Terminal 1 was opened in late 1962.  By the 1980’s Manchester was considered to be an ‘international gateway’.  The main runway was extended once more to its current length of 10,000 ft, or 3,000 meters, and now attracts long-haul flights from worldwide destinations.  Terminal 2 and the airport’s railway station were opened in 1993.  Manchester’s ‘Runway Two’, 23L/05R started its construction in 1997, and was now the fourth runway to be built on the site, and the first full-length commercial runway to open in the United Kingdom. 2004 was an important year as it’s passenger numbers recorded the milestone of over 20 million, and ‘The Station’ was constructed - a new sixty million pound integrated public transport interchange. 

The world-class facilities will continue to be upgraded, expanded and improved for the next 20 years in order to handle the projected figures of 32 million passengers per year which may be reached by 2015.  Older buildings are scheduled to be removed to make way for a new apron and taxiway toward runway 06L/24R, and a full length parallel taxiway may be added to the second runway.  Terminal 3 is planned to be equipped with an additional fifteen covered stands, and Terminal 1’s gating piers will be realigned to allow for larger seating areas at the gates.  The gate which is able to handle Airbus 380 flights, Gate 12, Pier B, will receive express retail outlets and a dedicated lounge area.  Terminal 2 will also undergo major expansion, and may even receive a satellite terminal.  In 2009, the retail and airport security areas completed their refurbishment program.  Terminal 1’s security area was increased from 6 to 14 lanes, and Terminal 2’s security zone is now located on a newly constructed upper level.  All terminals have new X-ray machines and passenger authenticity control systems within their security control areas.

The three terminals are all linked.  Terminal 1 is connected to Terminal 2 by the skylink, and also has travelators to aid senior citizens and reduced mobility passengers with the 10 to 15 minute walk.  These two terminals are also connected by the skylink to the airport’s railway station and the Radisson BLU Hotel.  Terminal 1 and Terminal 3 are connected by a short external and uncovered pedestrian crossing.  However, construction is in the process to provide a covered walkway.  There is also a free bus service to provide transport between these two terminals and the railway station.  Terminal 1 is capable of handling eleven million passengers per year, and consists of 24 stands, of which 14 have air-bridges.  It is also the base for, Thomas Cook Airlines and Monarch Airlines.  Terminal 2 has 16 gates, of which 15 have air-bridges, and its current capacity is 8 million passengers per year.  It is mainly used by SkyTeam airline members, long-haul and charter airlines.  Terminal 3 is mainly served by Flybe, Bmibaby and EasyJet, along with Air Southwest, American Airlines, Brussels Airlines and Adria Airways.  Manchester is generally served by over 100 airline companies offering direct flights to more than 210 worldwide destinations.

Facilities include VIP lounges in all the terminals.  In Terminal 1, passengers can use the Escape Lounge T1, the Bollin Lounge and the Emirates Lounge, which is specifically for First and Business class passengers, as well as for Skywards Gold Awards cardholders.  Terminal 2 offers the Escape Lounge T2, the Air France Executive Lounge, and the Style Lounge, while at Terminal 3, the bmi Executive, British Airways and Flybe Lounges are available.  There is also a conference center capable of accommodating 400 people.  Free WiFi services are available in all the terminals, as well as currency exchange facilities.  For little ones, there are baby changing facilities in all the terminals, and an entertainment area with plenty to keep them occupied.  Other amenities include multi-faith prayer rooms, hairdressers, drycleaners, valet parking and many top-class shopping and dining opportunities.    

One of it unique features is their Runway Visitor Park.  It is one of the North West’s most popular outdoor attractions, and offers the best views of the airport’s aircraft activities.  The Visitor Park features the Aviation Shop and Ringways Restaurant, and has four aircraft on display.  Various Concorde Tours are offered as well, where visitors can spend some quality time in the cabin and cockpit of the Concorde G-BOAC, which was at one time one of the world’s favorite aircrafts. 

It is managed by the Manchester Airports Group, or MAG, who are currently the country’s largest UK-owned airport operators.  MAN forms part of a group of four major airports, including East Midlands, Bournemouth and Humberside.  Together they handle over 20 million passengers per year.  The group is publicly owned by the ten local authorities, including The Council of the City of Manchester, The Borough Council of Bury, The Oldham Borough Council, the Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council, The Trafford Borough Council and The Wigan Borough Council.  The Council of the City of Manchester hold shares of 55%, while the other Councils hold 5% each.

Excellent facilities are in place to assist disabled passengers, including accessible toilets and telephones, disabled parking spaces and TDD payphones.  Further assistance is also available from trained airport staff members.  More information about the services are available from any one of their information desks, which can be found in the Arrivals area of all three terminal buildings.  

You can see below selection of flight time’s destinations and which Airline fly.

Destination Weekly Flights Distance
London Heathrow (LHR) 93 243 Km (151 Miles)
Paris Charles De Gaulle (CDG) 60 587 Km (365 Miles)
Edinburgh (EDI) 52 297 Km (185 Miles)
Frankfurt International (FRA) 48 831 Km (516 Miles)
Dusseldorf International (DUS) 44 655 Km (407 Miles)
Amsterdam Schiphol (AMS) 41 486 Km (302 Miles)
Palma Mallorca (PMI) 41 1,581 Km (982 Miles)
Dalaman (DLM) 40 3,022 Km (1,878 Miles)
Dublin (DUB) 40 264 Km (164 Miles)
Brussels (BRU) 38 535 Km (332 Miles)

Here you can see the busiest Airlines that fly are BMI, FlyBE and British Airways amongst others. They cover 53 flight routes out the total of 160. The busiest being BMI which covers a total of 324 flights a week form a total of 3403 BMI covers 10 % of all outbound flights out of Manchester. BMI offers flights from Manchester to the most popular destinations including London Heathrow, Edinburgh, Frankfurt International (rhein-main), Düsseldorf International (rhein-ruhr) and Brussels.

You can see below a selection of nonstop flights covered with approximate times

Airliner Destination Flight Time (Est)
BMI London Heathrow (LHR) 43 Minutes
BMI Edinburgh (EDI) 53 Minutes
BMI Frankfurt International (FRA) 1 Hour 47 Minutes
BMI Dusseldorf International (DUS) 1 Hour 35 Minutes
BMI Brussels (BRU) 1 Hour 26 Minutes

When arriving in Manchester you may wish to hire a car, most of the reputable companies are situates in the Arrivals hall or close by. You will need to present a valid driving licence and credit card if you intend to hire a vehicle. The benefit of getting a FREE Manchester car hire quote is that you can compare prices of most of the major car companies before you travel.