Manchester wants to persuade more in its catchment area not to fly via London airports

Manchester airport, the only UK airport apart from Heathrow to have two runways, had around 22 million passengers per year in 2005 and 2006, but then slumped down to a low point of 17.7 million by 2010.  Passenger numbers have now grown, to return to the high point of 2006, and Manchester airport is feeling confident.  It chief commercial officer says that their customers – leisure travellers and businesses – say they often prefer flying from Manchester, rather than having to travel to a London airport. However, around 4 million passengers from the airport’s catchment area still make the unnecessary journey to London airports every year.  Manchester hopes to encourage more routes and better frequency services, to win these passengers and deter them from using London.   He hopes this would help ease congestion at the London airport.   Manchester is hoping to win increasing numbers of passengers, and it has its “Airport City” project close to the airport and hopes to “bolster our city’s growing presence as an international business and leisure destination.” The Greater Manchester built up area is the 2nd largest in the UK, after London, with a population of about 2.6 million, compared to about 9.8 million in London. There is logic in using Manchester’s capacity rather than building another south east runway.


Opinion: Why choosing Manchester to fly from is the best option

9 February 2015

(Manchester Evening News)

Ken O’Toole, chief commercial officer at Manchester Airports Group (MAG), looks forward to the year ahead and celebrates what has already been achieved

People and businesses in our extended catchment continue to tell us that when given the option, they prefer to fly from Manchester Airport.

We see that when we analyse where our customers originate from and in passenger numbers, which grew much faster than the UK average in 2014.

Despite this, around four million passengers from our catchment are still making the unnecessary journey to London airports every year.

Plugging this north-south migration is part of our focus and we are in regular discussions with our existing 65 and dozens of prospective airline customers, to add additional routes and frequency that would help meet this demand.

We don’t believe that this would be to the detriment of airports in the south east – in fact, if anything, it will help ease congestion there.

As our national role evolves, we must also continue to be forward thinking and ensure that we have robust plans in place for the future, including further investment in infrastructure.

In recent months, Manchester has collected a number of accolades including for best airport in the UK, as voted for by airlines and travel agents.

However we are not resting on our laurels and as we enter what is effectively uncharted territories, now we have exceeded the 22 million passenger barrier, [Manchester had over 22 million passengers in 2005 and in 2006, and fell back to a low point of 17.7 million passengers in 2010] we need to ensure our terminals and facilities can handle the extra people and planes.

On a similar front, we expect that further developments at our exciting Airport City project will come to fruition, following on from the example set by DHL which has opened its new facility on the site.

This project brings something unique in the UK directly to our door here in Manchester and as well as the benefits of the investment in the local area and the creation of new jobs, it will continue to strengthen the airport’s offer to airlines.

Looking beyond the airport and into the city itself, the arrival of the Rugby World Cup, the return of Manchester International Festival, and the huge number of businesses and people based here, continue to bolster our city’s growing presence as an international business and leisure destination.

The continued development of the city and its key role in the ‘northern powerhouse’ has a symbiotic relationship with the airport, whose success is intertwined with the development of our catchment.

We are therefore delighted to contribute to increased visitor numbers which are helping fill the city’s bars, hotels, pubs, clubs and restaurants, and support economic growth.

We want to do more to encourage people to use our airport and will do everything we can to achieve this.


CAA figures:       CAA airport statistics

Terminal Passengers:  

UK Airport Statistics – annual- each year  (Table 10.3)
2014     21,950,323  (Up +6.1% on 2013)
2013     20,682,907  (Up + 5.2% on 2012)
2012     19,654,100  (up + 4.5% on 2011)
2011     18,807,000  (up + 6% on 2010)
2010    17,663,000 (down – 5% on 2009)
2009    18,631,242  (down – 11.5% from 2008)
2008    21,063.000  (down  – 4% from 2007)
2007    21,892,000  (down – 1% from 2006)

2006    22,124 2005

2005    22,083,000

2000   18,349,000

1997   15,726,000

1996    14,467,000

1995    14,514,000

Air Transport Movements

Number of ATMs
UK Airport Statistics – annual each year (Table 4.2)  ATMs
2014    162,921 (Up + 1.2% on 2013)
2013    161,063 (Up + 0.4% on 2012)
2012    160,473 (up  1.55 on 211)
2011    158,000 (up + 6%  on 2010)
2010    149,000  (down -8% on 2009)    link to 2010 data
2009   162,182  (down  – 15.2% from 2008)
2008    191,000  (down   – 7% from 2007)
2007    207,000   (down – 3%  from 2006)

2006    213 2005




The largest urban areas in the UK

1. Greater London Built-up area   9,787,426 people (2011 census)
London Boroughs, Hemel Hempstead, Watford, Woking, Harlow, St Albans, Bracknell2. Greater Manchester Built-up area   2,553,379 people
Manchester, Salford, Bolton, Stockport, Oldham, Rochdale, Bury, Trafford, Tameside3. West Midlands Built-up area  2,440,986 people

Birmingham, Wolverhampton, West Bromwich, Dudley, Walsall, Solihull

4. West Yorkshire Built-up area  1,777,934 people

Leeds, Bradford, Wakefield, Huddersfield, Dewsbury, Keighley, Halifax.