September sun-seekers give a boost to Manchester Airport

  • 2.8million passengers passed through Manchester Airport in September – up from 2.5million in September 2022 
  • 99% passed through security in under 15 minutes 
  • Turkey was the most popular destination for the month with more than 175,000 passengers heading to the country’s two biggest airports 
  • Sunny destinations dominate the top 10, with travellers taking advantage of post-school summer holiday bargains 

Late-summer sun-seekers fuelled a successful September for Manchester Airport with millions of passengers heading for breaks in warmer climes.  

More than 2.8million passengers flew in or out of the UK’s global gateway in the North last month – up from 2.5million in September 2022 and 96% of 2019’s pre-pandemic level. 

The most popular single destination was Palma de Mallorca – which has consistently led the way over the summer – with 110,000 passengers heading to the Balearic island.  

But the most popular country was Turkey, with more than 175,000 heading to Dalaman and Antalya Airports combined. In fact, the airports – which are both in the country’s southern region, on the Mediterranean coast – took up the second and third spots in the top 10.  

Lots of passengers also enjoyed short hops to destinations like Dublin and Amsterdam while perennial favourites like Alicante and Malaga kept their places in the top 10. Dubai was the most popular long-haul destination with 82,000 passengers heading to the Middle Eastern hub.  

The popularity of September breaks comes as no surprise – it is considered a ‘shoulder month’ in the travel industry meaning it comes directly after the peak season when prices begin to drop following the school summer holidays but generally temperatures in most popular destinations are still high. 

Those coming through the airport in September were able to enjoy a good level of service – with 99% of passengers getting through security in under 15 minutes and able to go and enjoy the full range of bars, restaurants shops and more in the airport’s terminals.  

Chris Woodroofe, Managing Director of Manchester Airport, said: "We’re here to serve the people of the North – getting them to the places they want to go with a route network unrivalled by any airport outside London.  

“And in September we saw our passengers taking advantage of that by seeking out sunshine outside the peak holiday season.   

“At Manchester Airport, we want people to feel their holidays start as soon as they set foot inside the terminal. That’s why it’s good to see 99% of September passengers getting through security in under 15 minutes – because then they’re able to relax and enjoy the restaurants, bars and shops in our terminals. 

“Now we’re looking to the future – getting ready for people coming through to take holidays in the October half term and then to the ski season and Christmas while also continuing with our £1.3bn transformation that will see our service and passengers’ experiences continue to improve.” 

Manchester Airport’s most popular destinations for September were:  

1. Palma de Mallorca (Spain) – 110,188 passengers 

2. Dalaman (Turkey) – 89,466 

3. Antalya (Turkey) – 88,497 

4. Amsterdam (Netherlands) – 85,667 

5. Alicante (Spain) – 82,848 

6. Dubai (UAE) – 82,114 

7. Tenerife (Spain) – 80,642 

8. Dublin (Ireland) – 72,484 

9. Faro (Portugal) – 63,034 

10. Malaga (Spain) – 59,966    


September also saw the return of European football. Manchester Airport’s route network means fans of teams including Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Newcastle and Aston Villa have all come through the airport in recent weeks. You can read more about how to follow your team in Europe via Manchester Airport here.   

People looking for some sun during October half term can travel to a range of destinations from Manchester Airport and many are not as far away as people may think. We have profiled a few of the destinations you could fly to for hot weather in the autumn here

Work continues to further improve the airport through the £1.3bn Manchester Airport Transformation Programme. The brand-new Terminal 2 is already open with the second phase of work on the terminal scheduled for completion in 2025.