Manchester Airport announces special collaboration with poet Tony Walsh for 80th birthday celebrations

Manchester Airport today announced a special collaboration with Mancunian poet Tony Walsh as part of its 80th birthday celebrations.

The gateway is creating a striking short film to mark the milestone, with Tony – aka Longfella – penning the words the imagery will be set to.

The film will showcase how the airport has evolved over the last eight decades, as well as highlighting poignant memories from staff, passengers and members of the public.

It will be premiered on the airport’s “oak” birthday later this month (25th June), as it celebrates its deeps roots here in the North and its ever-growing branches to global destinations across the world.

Tony Walsh commented:

“The airport evokes so many special memories for people in the North West. It’s been an honour to spend time with the airport staff, getting to know the history and understanding the future. It truly is the beating heart of the region and I’m really looking forward to sharing my work and highlighting the achievements of the past 80 years and no doubt evoking a few emotions too.”

Andrew Cowan, CEO of Manchester Airport, said:

“To collaborate with someone like Tony on a project to celebrate our 80th birthday is really fitting.

“As I am sure anyone who has listened to Tony’s work will agree, his words tap into the sense of pride we all feel about Manchester, and wider North, and celebrate the things we are famous for around the world.

“Manchester Airport has come a long way since its humble beginnings in 1938, growing from a single shed offering a handful of flights, to an international gateway connecting people to more than 220 destinations around the world.

“Over the years, it has touched the lives of almost everyone living in the region in some way, whether that be as a passenger heading off on holiday, one of our tens of thousands of colleagues, or as someone who has benefited from the wide range of projects we deliver in the community.

“This project will reflect the part Manchester Airport has played in people’s lives and how its evolution has gone hand-in-hand with that of the city and North as a whole over the past 80 decades.

“I am looking forward to hearing Tony’s words set to the final film and sharing it with our 22,000 colleagues and 28m passengers alike.”

The collaboration with Manchester Airport is the latest to be announced as part of its 80th celebration, Last month, the UK’s third biggest gateway announced an overview of how it would celebrate this milestone year with a wealth of activity. This includes planting 80 oak trees (the official gift for an 80th), opening up the archives, tea parties for the local community and working with KLM, who had the first commercial flight from Manchester.

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’s 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 the exotic hotspots of Western Super-Mare, Croydon and Doncaster whereas Manchester now serves more than 220 international destinations worldwide including Beijing, Houston, Mumbai, San Francisco, Singapore and Boston.

Picture credit: Tobias Alexander/ Grey Trilby