Transatlantic trade and tourism will be kickstarted by the return of flights between the North and the US from one week today, Monday 8th November.

Manchester Airport is set to welcome the return of services to a number of US destinations after the American government confirmed it will be opening its borders to British visitors again.

Before the pandemic, the UK’s third largest gateway was among the best-connected to the States in Europe, with more than three million passengers a year crossing the pond from its catchment area.

The first stateside bound flights from Manchester will be Virgin Atlantic services to Orlando and New York, with Orlando being the first departure. The Orlando service will depart at 10:10am, whilst the New York flight will leave at 13:10pm. Following this, routes to Atlanta and Houston will also return over the coming weeks and months.

This includes the launch of routes by Aer Lingus, with the Irish carrier opening a new base in the North for the first time, creating 153 jobs.

News of the return of transatlantic services has been hailed by business and tourism chiefs, who say the direct routes will unlock wide-ranging economic, trade and tourism opportunities.

In 2019, more than 307,000 Americans visited the North of England, spending more than £156m across the region. As well as the trade benefits of being linked to economic powerhouses like New York City, the direct connectivity also unlocks vast journey time savings, meaning businesses across the North can save thousands of manhours each year.

Furthermore, 43 universities within Manchester Airport’s two-hour catchment area will also benefit from these routes returning. The US is third on the list of most common countries of origin for international students at UK universities, with 20,000 American students enrolled at British higher education institutions in 2019/20.

Karen Smart, Managing Director of Manchester Airport, said:

“After almost two years with no flights to the USA, it is great to finally look forward to re-connecting the region with some of our most popular and important destinations.

“Not only are our US routes well loved by holidaymakers, but they are also vital to the Northern economy and the prosperity of the region. Whether that is through the trade and investment opportunities the direct connectivity unlocks, to the inbound tourism the routes bring in, as Americans flock to key destinations like the Lake District, North Wales and York, plus to city breaks favourites like Liverpool and Manchester.

“I look forward to working closely with our airline partners as more services come back to Manchester, plus I would encourage businesses and other organisations with links to the US to get in touch so we can help them unlock their potential through our international reach.”

Returning Routes:

 Pre-pandemic Manchester Airport had more than a dozen direct US services. As the US opens and as the aviation industry recovers, these routes will start to return to the Northern hub.

New York:

Flights to economic and tourist hot spot New York are set to return to Manchester on the day the US opens up to British travellers. Virgin Atlantic will be operating the route six times a week using an Airbus A330 offering Upper Class, Premium Economy and Economy classes. Fares start from £532 return.*

Following its launch of flights to Barbados and setting up its first UK transatlantic base at Manchester in October, Aer Lingus will also be offering flights to New York from 1st December. Using a new A321neo long range aircraft, Aer Lingus will operate business and economy classes with fares from £179 each way including taxes and charges.


Family favourite and theme park enthusiast’s dream, Orlando in Florida is set to return from 8th November with Virgin Atlantic. It will be followed up by Aer Lingus who will also start flying there from 11th December.

Virgin Atlantic has return fares to Orlando from £587* and Aer Lingus offers return from £209 each way including taxes and charges.


Virgin Atlantic will resume flights to the major US hub from 2nd December, again with Upper Class, Premium Economy and Economy classes. As well as being a key US city in its own right, Atlanta also offers excellent onward connectivity across the States. Fares start from £836.*


Singapore Airlines’ popular route to Houston will return to Manchester Airport from 1st December. The route was launched several years ago and connects with the carrier’s longstanding Singapore service.

Houston is a great Texan city for tourism and also for accessing the rest of the Deep South. It is also home to a number of key sectors, in which the North has a particular strength, such as oil and gas, technology and healthcare.

Singapore Airlines will operate the route three times a week on an A350 aircraft with 42 Business Class, 24 Premium Economy Class and 187 Economy Class seats. Return fares start from £596 (book by 4th November to secure this price).


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