Manchester Airport Celebrates 80 Years By Releasing Iconic Tony "Longfella" Walsh Poem & Striking Video

Treasured tales of travel spanning eight decades have inspired a special short film created by Manchester Airport and world-renowned poet Tony Walsh.

Called “Time Flies,” it was today released to celebrate the airport’s 80th birthday.

The film tells the story of Manchester’s evolution from a single wooden hut in 1938 to the UK’s third largest airport and a key driver of global trade and tourism for the whole of the North.

It features poignant memories from passengers, businesses and airport workers past and present, with the words used to narrate the footage penned by famous Mancunian wordsmith Tony.

The collaboration comes as the airport continues with its £1bn Transformation Programme, with the film featuring stunning aerial footage of the construction site, showcasing the scale and significance of the project.

Andrew Cowan, CEO of Manchester Airport, said: “Looking back over the past 80 years has made us appreciate more than ever the important role Manchester Airport has played in the lives of so many people across the North.

“We have unearthed so many stories, from people’s first time on board an aircraft, special holidays and family reunions, to husbands meeting their wives and rock stars passing through our terminals.

“There really was no better person to work with on this special project than Tony, whose words capture the sense of pride we all feel about Manchester, and the wider North, and celebrate the things we are famous for around the world.

“And there is no better time to be celebrating how the airport has developed over the years, as we look forward to creating the world-class gateway the North deserves through the largest investment in our history.”

Among those featuring in Time Flies is Phillip Mallinder, of Clifton, Salford, who was born exactly one month before Manchester Airport opened in 1938. He is one of the millions of people for whom air travel wasn’t possible for more than 40 years and is seen flicking through the holiday photos from his first trip abroad in the early 1980s.

Also featuring is Brenda Chadwick, from Didsbury, who called into a BBC Radio Manchester phone in to tell her story of when her and her family used to get dressed up for flights years ago and one time were greeted by a photographer in the Isle of Man who took their picture as they left the aircraft.

The future generation also makes the cut, as pupils from nearby Ringway Primary School feature. The class shown in the video are seen drawing and designing a bespoke 80th birthday card for the airport to use. The pupils shown from Ringway Primary school make up part of 15,000 students the airport’s Community Relations team work with every year on a host of aviation themed projects.

From the business world, the film includes Angela Davies, managing director of Radcliffe-based Microbiological Solutions Limited (MSL), which tests leading consumer products from across the globe and clears them for sale in the UK and Europe. It is one of the many firms that benefits from easy access to Manchester Airport’s 220 global destinations.

And Alderley Edge-based tailor Carl Emery is also featured. His business has benefited hugely from direct access to places like Houston, Texas, where Carl has set up a new office. He also proposed to his now wife on board a flight from Houston to Manchester.

From the airport itself, Special Projects Director Tony Lavan is seen clutching one of his old passport photographs. He joined the airport more than 40 years ago as an engineering apprentice and has carried out a host of roles over the years across MAG including MD of Humberside Airport and Asset Management director.

And husband and wife Gary and Janet Brown also feature. They met while working at the airport and are both now terminal duty managers.

Tony Walsh said: “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's been a fascinating project 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.”

The collaboration with Tony Walsh is the latest activity to be announced as part of Manchester Airport’s 80th celebrations. 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.

Throughout the birthday week the airport will be giving away prizes on its social media channels as well as sharing fun and engaging content.

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.

The video was produced by Macclesfield based mediafour.

Music Credit: Music by NMBC for Rose Marley Management