Air Transport World

A prime location for hubbing: Manchester Airport points to its site 'at the western end of Europe' as part of a highly successful expansion drive.

Manchester Airport points to its site 'at the western end of Europe' as part of a highly successful expansion drive. By Arthur Reed.

Manchester, England-The international airport here in the heart of the English industrial northwest has experienced spectacular recent growth. In 1985, it was used by 45 airlines serving 1 1 0 destinations and handled 6 million passengers. Today, the comparable figures are 90, 160 and around 11 million.

An aggressive marketing policy enacted by a 20-strong marketing department headed by Paul Connellan has been a significant factor behind this expansion. The drive now is to develop the airport as a major European hub, ready for the full liberalization that arrives among the 12 Common Market nations in 1993. A start toward hubbing already has been made but there are no illusions as to the demanding nature of the task. "You do not build another Schiphol overnight," one airport executive told ATW.

Manchester is handling its 11 million passengers a year-and 150,000 aircraft movements-with one 3,000-m runway and one terminal, split between domestic and international, with two piers-one new, the other antiquated in aviation terms.

To cope with the anticipated future expansion that both hubbing and the attraction of additional airlines will bring-forecasts indicate 16 million passengers by 1995, 20 million-plus by the turn of the century-the operator has embarked on an ambitious development program, main features of which are a new terminal big enough to double the current passenger capacity and a rail spur linked to the national network.

Steelwork for the second terminal is rising at this writing and opening of the first phase is due in spring, 1993. The whole development cost, including a link into the motorway system, will be 2564 million ($998.3 million). Funding was generated internally with help from the Public Works Loans Board, a government body that lends at commercial rates. …

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