Record-breaking run continues at the airport

Date published: 10 April 2024

Manchester Airport has broken passenger records for the sixth consecutive month.

It served 2.1m passengers in March - up 12% on March 2023 and above the 2019 pre-pandemic level of 2m passengers.

Driven a busy early Easter, that made it the busiest March the airport has ever seen.

At the same time - for the second consecutive month - every single passenger waited for less then 15 minutes to get to security.

The most popular destinations during the month were traditional long weekend favourites Dublin and Amsterdam followed by Middle Eastern hub Dubai, which is popular as a destination in its own right but also as a connecting airport for far-flung countries in Asia and beyond.

The top five also includes holiday hotspots Tenerife and Alicante - indicating the return of the summer season.

The UK’s global gateway in the North chalked-up its sixth consecutive record month as it hit another milestone on its £1.3bn Transformation Programme.

From 2025, Terminal 2 will serve around 70% of the airport’s passengers.

To make sure it can continue to offer a seamless service a new, state of the art baggage system has been installed.

The one-of-a-kind and has been built by specialists Vanderlande specifically for the airport.

The multi-million pound machine features more than two miles of conveyor belts and can process 3,000 bags per hour - it has already processed over 100,000 bags since it went live at the end of March.

The maximum distance a bag could travel from check in to being taken onto an aircraft is 582 metres - equivalent to almost six football pitches.

On average a bag will take around 10 minutes to get through the system before being picked up by ground handling agents and put onto an aircraft.

The airport returned to pre-pandemic passenger levels last year and since October it has consistently set monthly records for passenger numbers.

April is already looking to be a record-breaking month with around 320k passengers travelling over the Easter bank holiday weekend, up 8% on the equivalent weekend in 2023.

Manchester Airport Managing Director Chris Woodroofe said: “We are proud to serve the people of the North.

"On the surface that means offering an unrivalled range of more than 200 destinations, great service so that passengers never wait more than a few minutes to get to security and world class facilities in our terminals.

“But beneath the surface there is a huge amount of work that goes into making that happen.

"We’re in the middle of a £1.3bn programme that is completely transforming the airport.

"A key component of that is this new baggage system that will help make sure things continue to run smoothly behind the scenes.

“So while passengers will see the difference as they pass through Terminal 2 - which has already won the prestigious Prix Versailles award for its architecture and design - equally important changes have been made in the parts of the airport that most people will never see meaning that as demand for travel continues to increase, the service we offer our passengers continues to improve.”

The most popular destinations for March were:

Dublin – 95,254 passengers

Amsterdam – 93,838 passengers

Dubai – 92,554 passengers

Tenerife – 88,330 passengers

Alicante – 65,824 passengers

As the peak holiday season approaches, Manchester Airport is seeing a steady increase in the popularity of routes to traditional holiday hotspots like Tenerife and Alicante.

And at the same time passengers are being reminded too make sure they prepare for travel in order to make sure their trip through the airport is stress free.

Manchester Airport’s top tips for travellers are:

Plan your journey to the airport – Manchester Airport is one of the best connected in the world with rail, tram and bus connections direct to the airport as well as being easy to access from the motorway.

Check your journey beforehand so you’re aware of any delays

Make sure your bags meet the requirements of your airline – both in terms of weight and size

Arrive at the airport at the time specified by your airline – usually two hours before your flight or three hours for some long-haul destinations.

Try to avoid arriving earlier as it’s likely you won’t be able to check-in and can cause overcrowding

Prepare for security. Make sure you don’t have liquids of more than 100ml – or liquids in containers where the quantity isn’t clearly labelled.

Any liquids below that should be put in a clear plastic bag of no larger than 20cm x 20cm.

Wear shoes that are easy to take off and put back on, remember to remove your belt and any jackets and don’t wear any top layers that are tricky to remove.

Keep your pockets free of non-essential items

When packing your hand baggage, make sure electrical items like laptops are easily accessible as they will have to be placed outside your bag in a tray at security

In January the airport marked a year since work started on the final phase of its £1.3bn transformation programme.

The airport’s brand-new Terminal 2 is already open but work continues and will see it double in size, meaning the modern facility will serve over 70% of the airport’s passengers when it is fully open in 2025.

Last month also saw significant changes to the airfield that will allow the airport to increase its capacity for aircraft and ultimately offer even more destinations to passengers.

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