The Secretary of State for Transport, the Rt Hon Chris Grayling MP, visited Manchester Airport today to see work begin on its 10 year, £1 billion transformation programme, which will deliver a major boost to the UK’s growth prospects and international competitiveness.
This project, the largest private investment in the region, will reinforce Manchester Airport’s standing as the UK’s global hub in the North of England, enabling better and more international connections and supporting economic growth across the North.
The visit comes on the day that the Government begins consulting on its Aviation Strategy which will seek to set out a vision for UK aviation over the next three decades and include proposals for how best use can be made of existing runway capacity at airports like Manchester, London Stansted and East Midlands.
The Manchester Airport Transformation Programme (MAN-TP) will provide millions of passengers and airlines with facilities that combine state of the art services with excellent customer service. With the new development complete, the airport will be able to grow alongside a thriving northern economy to handle 45 million passengers a year, an increase of almost 20 million compared to today.
Manchester Airport is already amongst the world’s top 15 best connected airports by destinations served and this investment will facilitate ever greater levels of trade and investment into the UK that will drive a rebalancing of economic growth across the country.
In recent years, the airport has become the only airport outside London to offer many direct routes to long haul destinations like Beijing, San Francisco, Houston and Muscat.
MANTP will enable the airport to further improvement the North’s international connectivity and the airport is currently targeting expanding its route network into North America, the Gulf, Asia, Africa and Latin America.
Manchester Airports Group (MAG), owner of Manchester Airport, estimates that MAN-TP will create more than 1500 jobs in the construction phase alone, nearly 200 of which will be apprentices. Manchester Airport already plays a key role in the Northern Powerhouse, generating £5 billion every year in economic activity in the local and regional economy, employing 20,000 people on site and supporting a further 25,000 jobs indirectly.
Charlie Cornish, CEO of MAG, said: “Today marks a significant moment in the history of Manchester Airport and demonstrates the confidence that we have in the long term future of both the North and the UK economy.
“This is the largest private investment that has been made in the region for some time and the increased connectivity that it will deliver will enable it to become one of the most accessible and productive regions in Europe.
“It has never been more important that people and businesses across the whole country have easy access to global markets and our investment in transforming the airport will do this for the 25 million people who live within two hours of Manchester Airport.
“Equally, better global connectivity into the region will plug international investors directly into the potential that is available across the Northern Powerhouse – stretching from Liverpool to Leeds and Scotland to Stoke.
“I am delighted that the Secretary of State has chosen to launch the Government’s Aviation Strategy at Manchester Airport today and welcome his commitment to maximising the growth opportunities of Manchester and Stansted, which will be vital to the UK’s future connectivity and prosperity.”
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said: “Aviation is central to our future prosperity as we leave the European Union. As a global, trading nation we want to build on the great industry we have today and create opportunities for people up and down the country.
“Our new aviation strategy will look beyond the new runway at Heathrow and sets out a comprehensive long-term plan for UK aviation. It will support jobs and economic growth across the whole of the UK.
“I welcome Manchester Airport Group’s £1 billion programme to double the size of Manchester Airport’s Terminal 2 which will create 1,500 jobs.
“This is great news for the local economy and for passengers who will be able to fly to more destinations, more often.”
Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI Director-General, said: “This is a red letter day for Manchester Airport – a £1 billion investment that will help ensure this great airport continues to go from strength to strength.
“It’s vital that business and the Government now explore how all the UK’s airports can be supported to grow and flourish over the next decade and beyond.
“Developing a successful aviation strategy for all parts of the country has never been more important, connecting people and businesses to more regions and cities across the UK and around the world – the practical face of global Britain.”
Dr Adam Marshall, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce, said: “Aviation makes a huge contribution to business growth in every region and nation of the UK, so it is fantastic to see one of our leading airport operators make such a transformative investment at a time of change and uncertainty.
“It is crucial that the government’s new Aviation Strategy supports the continued growth and development of our airports, and frees them to make the best use of their capacity to link British businesses to markets all across the world.
“Stronger airports help our cities and counties attract more investment and visitors, and connect our firms to trading opportunities overseas – so we must enable them to grow and change to meet the demands of the future. This includes getting clarity as soon as possible on post-Brexit arrangements for the aviation sector, to keep our businesses and their products flying.”