History of MAN

A brief history of Manchester Airport

Manchester Airport is currently the UK’s third largest, and on Saturday June 25th 1938, it was officially opened by an air display from the Royal Air Force by the command of Sir Kingsley Wood, his Majesty’s Secretary of State for Air. Operations began two days later and in the first 12 months, the airport handled 7,600 passengers, which is the equivalent of a summer morning's work today.

Manchester was the first city in Great Britain to establish a municipal aerodrome when an Air Ministry licence was granted to the Corporation on April 22nd 1929. In January 1934, an airline senior pilot claimed that the existing Barton site for Manchester was unsuitable and by July 1934 the City Council had chosen Ringway, as Manchester Airport used to be known, as a new home.

The original 1938 route network included exotic destinations like Weston-Super-Mare, Croydon and Doncaster, whereas Manchester now serves over 210 international destinations worldwide.

During World War Two, the airport became a hub of wartime engineering activity as an aircraft manufacturing centre for Fairey Aviation and Avro. Runway and airport facilities were enhanced with three new runways and ten new hangars being added during this period. The airport also acted as a training centre for over 60,000 parachutists.

In 1954, the airport served a million passengers and by 1995, that had risen to 15 million.

Since opening 80 years ago, the airport recently passed the 28m passenger mark. The airport now has three terminals and two full length runways. It has a wealth of long haul routes that in the UK can only also be found in London. These include: Boston, San Francisco, Houston, Muscat, Singapore, Seattle and Los Angeles.

Building work commenced on the airport’s £1bn transformation programme in July 2017, and in April 2019 the first phase of the programme opened to passengers with the launch of the first passenger pier and a new multi-storey car park. 

The new-look Terminal Two opened in July 2021, becoming the airport’s largest terminal and increasing its footprint by 150% to provide a world class experience for passengers. 

Manchester Airport is part of MAG and serves over 60 million passengers through its ownership and operation of Manchester, London Stansted and East Midlands airports.