Flight options from Manchester Airport could be cut following the Coronavirus crisis according to an analysis from Aviation experts OAG.

Their analysis shows that some of the world’s biggest hubs could see route networks reduced but it is the “secondary” airports like Manchester that face the greatest loss.

In a blog post yesterday the report said:

“The third group of secondary airports are those with perhaps most to be concerned about. We’d put the likes of Manchester (MAN), Brussels (BRU), Helsinki (HEL), Berlin (TXL), Dusseldorf (DUS) and Stansted (STN) in this category. It isn’t that they will lose a large number of services but that air services they have worked hard to win may be jeopardised and the path to recover them may take years.

Take Manchester, for instance. The airport worked extremely hard to build a convincing business case for a China service and won the Beijing service operated by Hainan in 2016. With Hainan Airlines struggling at the start of the year, the Beijing operation has not been in service since February. The daily Cathay Pacific flight to Hong Kong initially reduced frequency and then stopped in April although the Singapore Airlines service which stopped operating in March has resumed flights this month.

Unfortunately for Manchester, it would be surprising if these airlines were not reviewing long haul destinations. Manchester is, after all, a secondary airport and there are already flights operated to the larger airports in the UK. Combine this pattern with airlines needing to preserve cash and to ensure all operations make a network contribution, and some airline failures, and secondary airports will inevitably see some long-haul services axed.

A spokesman for Manchester Airport described the analysis as just speculation

“To say Manchester is a secondary airport likely to lose out to ‘bigger airports in the UK’ is surprising; it’s the third biggest airport after LHR and LGW and by far the biggest outside of London. Also LGW has notably lost large chunks (proportionately much more than Manchester) of its long haul operation since March. Many of Manchester’s long haul routes cannot be found anywhere else outside of London and are very well established routes. They also serve a completely different catchment to LHR and LGW; our long haul routes draw in passengers from as far south as Birmingham and as far north as Southern Scotland.”


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