Manchester Airport's £1bn transformation marks 6 months of construction

  • Significant developments made since the building work was launched by the Secretary of State in July:
    • Steel works for one of the airport’s new piers complete, with work progressing on the terminal extension and new multi storey car park
    • 650-seat temporary gate lounge completed in August
    • New bespoke pre-employment scheme created with onsite Airport Academy and Laing O’Rourke
    • 150 apprenticeships to be created or sustained throughout the project
  • Final steel bolt in the first new pier fitted today (Friday)
  • Stunning images and footage of development released to mark the milestone

The first major phase of the £1bn transformation of Manchester Airport was today completed, as the project marked the six-month milestone.

Two apprentices who have been recruited to the scheme tightened the final bolt on the steel framework; connecting one of the new airport piers to the Terminal Two extension for the first time.

Stunning footage showing how the building work has progressed since the launch of the scheme by The Secretary of State for Transport, the Rt Hon Chris Grayling MP in July 2017, was also released to mark the milestone.

Manchester Airport CEO, Andrew Cowan, joined Bryan Glass, Programme Director, from Laing O’Rourke and apprentices, Elektra Politis, 22, Denton and Holleeann Walker, 19, Beswick, who both gained employment on the programme with construction partner Laing O’Rourke in Autumn 2017.

They tightened the final steel bolt in the first new pier of the transformation programme, which is set to see Terminal Two grow by more than 140% and offer the latest innovations in travel. Passengers will be able to use the new pier from next summer.

Andrew Cowan said: “Today is one of the major milestones for our £1bn transformation programme, which is gathering pace at a rapid rate.

“As you can see from Elektra and Holleeann being here today, not only are we building an airport for the future, but we are creating jobs and acting as an economic stimulus for the region and beyond.

“Through the delivery of the transformation we will have a world class airport the whole of the North can be proud of, and one that will attract new airlines and routes so that we can continue to play economic provider by linking the North to key investment and trade opportunities across the globe.”

Bryan Glass said: “We’re delighted with the progress we have made on site so far. Today marks the pier and the pier link building coming together for the first time, which is a huge milestone for the team. In a little over a year, passengers will be taking off and landing from this building and it’s from up here you get a real sense of just how large the project is.

“Having spent a few months demolishing, piling and laying foundations, we’ve recently started on the terminal extension superstructure and the new multi storey car park. Around 90% of the multi storey car park will be built using our innovative offsite construction methodology, enabling us to build faster, more safely and to a higher quality.

“I’m also delighted that the project is having such a positive effect on the local community, with 52% of our workforce coming from the local area and with apprentices like Holleeann and Elektra starting out their careers with us on this prestigious project.”

After being officially launched by the Secretary of State the transformation quickly delivered a new gate lounge which seats 650 people and has been used by airlines including Virgin Atlantic and TUI.

With the demolition works now largely complete and foundations laid, focus is now shifting to the construction of the new Terminal Two extension and multi storey car park, with four tower cranes erected to aid the process, and two more to be installed before the end of March, creating a dramatic skyline to the construction site.

The project ended 2017 by launching a pre-employment programme in partnership with Laing O’Rourke and the airport’s onsite education academy, to find and train the workforce of the future to work on one of the largest construction projects the North has seen. The first cohort in December saw three people gain placements with Laing O’Rourke, and additional cohorts will follow in their footsteps as the project continues.

As part of Laing O’Rourke’s commitment to investing in future talent, 150 apprenticeships will be created or sustained during the project. One of the apprentices recruited specifically for the project, Holleeann Walker, said: “I am absolutely delighted to be working on such a high profile, worthwhile project that will transform transport infrastructure here in the North West.

“Since coming onto the programme I have learnt so much and developed many skills that will set me in good stead for the remainder of my working life.

“I hadn’t really considered construction before applying for the apprenticeship, but I have always been quite creative with my hands and so I decided that joinery would be a good option. I’m really enjoying it and I’m learning so much. It’s a huge project and my dad actually did the landscaping around Terminal Two when it was first built, so it is a real coincidence that I am starting out my career at the airport too."

As the scheme continues the Manchester Airport Transformation Programme will see many more milestones come to fruition including the full handover of the first pier, the construction of the second, changes to the highways and Terminal Two forecourt and the creation of a new baggage hall to service the vast new Terminal Two extension. By 2019 passengers will start to experience the new facilities first hand with the opening of the first pier.

To download the time lapse/images log onto:



Manchester Airport Transformation Fast Facts: -

  • Announced in June 2015 the £1bn programme will more than double Terminal Two
  • It will introduce the latest in technology with two new security halls, self-service check-in facilities and state of the art services.
  • Up to 50 new retail and food & beverage outlets will be available
  • 13,819m metres (2061 tonnes) of steel have been used to create the first pier with 46,956 nuts and bolts used
  • The new Terminal 2 extension will be 19,754 metres squared – the equivalent of 34 airbuses parked next to each other
  • The entire construction site is a massive 115,860m2So far 12 people have successfully enrolled on the pre-employment programme ran in partnership by Laing O’Rourke and the Airport Academy, with three securing placements on the project so far.


For more information contact:

0161 489 2700 / press.office@manairport.co.uk

Apprentice information:

Elektra Politis, 22, Denton

Elektra was the first apprentice to join the Laing O’Rourke team on the project, joining in early August 2017. She is studying for an NVQ Level 2 in Business Administration and is visited by an assessor every 2-3 weeks. She is set workplace assessments she needs to complete in set times, and logs all the experience she is gaining in order to evidence her learning on the project.

“I’m really enjoying it! It’s so different to what I used to do and I love how close to the action we are. Where I sit, I get a great view of the site and we have a lot of interaction with the construction team. It’s a really good atmosphere and it’s a huge project. Being from the area, I’m very proud to be a part of it.”

“I’d never considered construction as a career path but I think I’ve really found my feet. I’m getting so much experience in so many different areas from logistics to health and safety to site inductions. I also helped to organise the move into our new site offices, which I enjoyed.”

Holleeann Walker, 19, Beswick

Holleeann is an apprentice joiner and formworker, and has been heavily involved in the construction of the new airport pier. After finishing her A-Levels at Connell Sixth Form College, Holleeann was unsure about going to university and instead decided to look into apprenticeships. Holleeann spends the majority of the time on site, but travels to a specialist CITB (Construction Industry Training Board) facility in Norfolk for three-week-long training courses where she learns a variety of skills in steelwork, woodwork and other trades.

“I hadn’t really considered construction before applying for the apprenticeship, but I have always been quite creative with my hands and so I decided that joinery would be a good option. I’m really enjoying it and I’m learning so much. It’s a huge project and my dad actually did the landscaping around terminal 2 when it was first built, so it is a real coincidence that I am starting out my career at the airport too."