Manchester Airport boss voices concern over government decision to expand Heathrow

manchester airport all terminals
Manchester Airport all terminals view from above the M56 North Cheshire motorway.

Ken O’Toole has said this week “Growing Manchester airport would generate six times more for the region than Heathrow’s new runway”!

The Manchester Airport boss has asked the government to develop a new aviation policy following the announcement about a third runway at Heathrow. The policy should seek to maximise the contribution all airports can make to improve our global connectivity as a nation.

Coming from this highly regarded business figure his words are sure to resonate with other business leaders. It certainly questions the governments decision.

Manchester Airport’s place on the national stage must not be forgotten say business leaders. The Airport is at the heart of the Northern Powerhouse and must provide much-needed future capacity.

ken o'toole manchester airport boss
Manchester Airport Boss – Ken O’Toole

Says Ken O’Toole:

We welcome the Government’s commitment to doing just that. Airports up and down the country, including Manchester, have a critical role in the future prosperity of both the regions they serve and the country as a whole. For example, Manchester’s two existing full-length runways have the ability to handle up to 55m passengers per year – more than double current numbers.

The Busiest Airports in the UK

  1. Heathrow – 75 million
  2. Gatwick – 40 million
  3. Manchester – 23 million
  4. Stansted – 22 million
  5. Luton – 12 million
  6. Edinburgh – 11 million

Source: CAA, based on passenger numbers from 2015.

manchester airport terminal
Manchester Airport Terminal 1

He went on to say:

While a new runway at Heathrow will be good for the UK economy, analysis shows that growing Manchester Airport to 55m passengers per year would generate £75bn worth of economic benefit to the north west, six times more than a new runway at Heathrow would. Realising Manchester Airport’s full potential will be the thing that delivers most benefit to the Northern economy in years to come, through the employment, trade and investment that it will generate.

Where do Manchester Airport’s passengers come from?

  1. 6,859,105 – Greater Manchester
  2. 4,240,407 – Yorkshire
  3. 2,264,928 – Cheshire
  4. 2,081,365 – Lancashire
  5. 1,885,005 – Merseyside
  6. 861,934 – North Wales
  7. 531,480 – Cumbria
  8. 124,659 – Tyne and Wear

Ken O’Toole continued:

So, an immediate priority for Government must be to work with airports to make the best possible use of existing capacity in the 10-15 years before a new runway can be delivered. That includes pressing ahead with initiatives that encourage the development of new routes from Manchester, such as the integration of road, rail and aviation policies and ensuring we have a tax regime that stimulates, rather than inhibits global connectivity. We must learn the lessons from the slow Airports Commission process, which has been incredibly protracted, and ensure the new aviation policy looks at what is best for the UK as a whole and enables all airports to compete successfully on the global stage.

Manchester airport is already the UK’s third busiest. It already has two runways, giving it significant capacity for growth unlike Gatwick which only has one.

In 2015 Manchester Airports Group announced a 10-year £1bn expansion programme to improve and expand the existing terminals. This includes a new security hall and pre-flight customs clearance for travellers to the US.

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