Bumper bank holiday weekend predicted at Manchester Airport

Manchester Airport is gearing up for its busiest weekend of the year, with more than 450,000 people set to pass through the UK’s third largest gateway.

Tomorrow (Friday August 24) will see the Northern hub welcome most passengers, with 110,000 due to depart from or arrive at Manchester’s three terminals.

The most popular destinations this weekend include Palma, Dubai and Alicante.

Ahead of the weekend, the airport is advising customers how to make their journey through Manchester as smooth as possible, advising passengers of potential ground transport disruption and reminding those jetting away about the consequences of disruptive behaviour.

Fiona Wright, Customer Services and Security Director at Manchester Airport, said:

“As we enter our busiest weekend of the summer we want to ensure each and every one of our passengers has the best experience and start to their trip, while ensuring their safety and security.

“By working together with our passengers and other organisations operating at the airport, we have been able to reduce security waiting times as much as possible, especially over the past six weeks when nearly 70% of all those passing through have not had to queue at all.

“Our colleagues are committed to ensuring that trend continues this weekend, which is why we are issuing this advice today to make as many passengers’ journeys as seamless as possible whether they are jetting off to Benidorm, Beijing or Barbados.”

It has been a milestone year for Manchester Airport in 2018. Not only has it celebrated eight decades of operation, it has also marked one year of building work on its £1bn transformation. The Manchester Airport Transformation Programme is set to see Terminal Two grow by 150% over the next few years, revolutionising the customer experience with innovative technology, improved security facilities plus a host of new food and beverage outlets to enjoy. One year in the build is on track and the first new pier is set to open in April 2019.

This year has also seen a wealth of new routes come to Manchester. Seattle launched in May with Thomas Cook Airlines and the winter sees Mumbai (Jet Airways) and Addis Ababa (Ethiopian Airlines) start.

As the airport is at its peak, it issues the following advice to passengers in order to have the best experience.

Be prepared

Manchester Airport’s number one priority is safety and security and, as a result, has to comply with a number of security regulations, regardless of how many passengers it handles on any given day.

Throughout the summer, it has introduced a number of measures to process passengers through security as quickly as possible, including the creation of more than 200 extra security officer jobs.

This meant in July, which included several days in which it handled more than 100,000 passengers, more than 94% of all people passed through security in 15 minutes or less. Also in July almost 70% of passengers didn’t queue at all, with the average queue time being 4 minutes 29 seconds.

So far in August, around 97% of passengers have passed through security in 15 minutes are less. 67% of passengers haven’t queued for security and those that have, on average, have waited for 3 minutes 56 seconds. The airport wants to work with passengers to ensure these standards are maintained this weekend, which is why it is issuing this advice.

Passengers can play their part by:

  • having all their liquids, gels and pastes (no bigger than 100ml each) in a clear plastic bag
  • In addition, coats and belts should be removed and large electricals out of their hand luggage ready for the security tray

If a tray requires further inspection one of our security team will then search it. During the summer months on average around 12,000 bags a day get rejected and sent for additional searches. We often find this is because passengers have failed to comply and left liquids in their bags. On average it can add another five minutes onto people’s journey time through security.

Passengers with reduced mobility and hidden disabilities

Any passengers with reduced mobility needing assistance are advised to book this in advance with their airline to avoid any delays to their journey through the airport. This can be for all levels of reduced mobility and for passengers with a range of issues. All the information and contacts can be found here:


Manchester Airport also offers help for passengers with hidden disabilities to ensure they have a smooth transition through the airport. Passengers can pick up a sunflower lanyard from the OCS desk in each terminal. Once worn staff are specially trained to give the right care and service to these passengers.

Disruptive behaviour:

Manchester Airport has a zero tolerance attitude towards disruptive behaviour on its campus, whether that is fuelled by alcohol or otherwise.

It is working with Greater Manchester Police and its airline, ground handling and retail partners to ensure the experience of the vast majority of passengers is not spoiled by a minority.

During the Bank Holiday weekend, police and airport officers are increasing patrols of the terminals to look out for passengers with the potential to behave disruptively, with GMP issuing “yellow card” warnings to those in danger of crossing the line.

Information will be shared between all organisations to prevent anyone behaving in an anti-social way from boarding their flight, with the consequences for crossing the line ranging from airline bans to prosecution.

All those buying alcohol in duty free are being reminded they are not allowed to consume it before their end destination, while the airport is also part of a high-profile industry-wide campaign to remind people to know their limits.

The One Too Many Campaign was launched in July to remind passengers to be careful about alcohol consumption prior to their flight. Launched by the aviation minister, Baroness Sugg it highlights to passengers the costs of drinking to excess when travelling by air. These include the risks of being denied boarding, having a plane diverted and the associated costs which include heavy fines, up to two years’ prison, an airline ban and a diversion fee up to £80,000 for the most serious in-flight incidents.

Plan your journey:

In recent weeks, there have been a higher than usual number of delays and cancellations to rail services connecting to Manchester Airport and we have been informed that is likely to be the same again this weekend.

We are working hard to secure details from the train operating companies of exactly which services will be affected and will provide updates throughout the weekend. In the meantime, please keep a close eye on timetables and plan your journey accordingly.

For those travelling by car, please also check with Highways England for any road delays.

The airport also introduced a new forecourt management system in July. There is now a dedicated area for passengers being dropped off for free at Manchester Airport, from where complimentary shuttles are provided to each of its terminals. Details can be found here:


The new measures have reduced congestion on the terminal forecourts and surrounding road network significantly and for those still wanting the convenience of an express drop off in these areas, a fee is now payable, set at £3 for five minutes and £4 for 10. Due to the reduced congestion, the overwhelming majority of drop-offs take fewer than five minutes. Blue badge holders can drop off on the forecourts free of charge.

There has been no change to arrangements for those picking passengers up, with visitors asked to park in terminal car parks, where where 30 minutes costs £4, giving people the ability to park-up and meet their passenger in the terminal.

Those picking up in this way are urged to use bays, rather than stopping in running lanes, which leads to congestion inside the car parks building up quickly. Tokens should be validated at pay stations, as opposed to payment being taken at exit barriers.