Manchester Airport has begun the next major phase of its £1.3bn Transformation Programme, with work now underway on a new pier.

Together with lead contractor, Mace, the airport has started work on the construction of a new pier, which will connect to Terminal 2. The pier is the most significant new structure being built in the second and final phase of the airport’s Transformation Programme (MAN-TP), first announced in 2015.

More than 500 jobs are being created during the construction phase of the project – which is forecast to generate up to 16,400 jobs by 2040, according to independent analysis.

The new pier will mirror Terminal 2’s Pier 1, which opened in 2019, and will provide 12 new boarding gates and flexible aircraft stands for next-generation aircraft. It will also be equipped to handle the giant Airbus A380, the largest passenger aircraft currently in operation.

The first phase saw Terminal 2 more than double in size, with the new facility having received positive feedback from passengers and airlines since opening in the summer of 2021. The second phase will see the original building upgraded with a second security hall and a new-look, extended departure lounge, along with reconfigurations of the airfield to make operations more efficient.

Upon completion in 2025, around 80% of all passengers will use the expanded Terminal 2, which will feature 27 new shops, bars and restaurants, including a high-street style shopping area, a champagne bar and a food hall.

I look forward to seeing the project progress to its conclusion in 2025, cementing Manchester’s role as the UK’s global gateway in the North

Ken O’Toole, MAG

Manchester Airport is owned by MAG (Manchester Airport Holdings), which also owns London Stansted and East Midlands Airports. Deputy CEO Ken O’Toole, who will take over as CEO in October, was on hand to put the first spade in the ground, as work started on the pier.

He said: “Our £1.3bn transformation programme is the largest investment ever made in Manchester Airport, and will create thousands of jobs, revolutionise the customer experience and ensure we connect the North to even more global destinations in the years ahead.

“We are already seeing the benefits of the first phase of our investment, with passengers and airlines providing excellent feedback on our extended Terminal 2. Through this second phase, we will deliver yet more improvements to the passenger experience and cater for the growing network of airlines operating from Manchester.

“As we break ground on this pier, I look forward to seeing the project progress to its conclusion in 2025, cementing Manchester’s role as the UK’s global gateway in the North.”

The new pier will be a short walk from the departure lounge and will incorporate flexible stands, accommodating either wide- or narrow-bodied aircraft in the same footprint. It will offer 12 additional ‘contact gates’, which means passengers can directly walk onto the aircraft.

Groundbreaking Manchester transformation phase 2

Pier 2 is the most significant new structure being built in the second phase of the Transformation Programme

The pier project

Construction of the pier will utilise cutting-edge techniques to reduce the amount of embodied carbon emissions by up to 40%, including pre-casting the concrete used and minimising the amount of excavation work required, through the use of an innovative piling solution. Mace will use a ‘kit of parts’ approach to build the pier, manufacturing nodes and links off-site, allowing the on-site construction elements to be completed more quickly and with minimal disruption on the airfield.

More than 500 construction jobs will be created in the second phase of the MAN-TP programme, while independent analysis shows around 16,400 extra jobs will be generated by 2040 as a result of the economic activity stimulated by the expansion of the airport and its route network.

The same analysis – by York Aviation – predicts that Manchester Airport’s current contribution to the Northern economy of £3.5bn is expected to soar by nearly 80% to £6.3bn by 2040 as a result of the full delivery of the transformation programme. A further £2.9bn boost will be triggered through the increased productivity of businesses travelling and trading globally through Manchester over the same period.

In its role as lead construction contractor on the project, Mace will also engage 1,500 young people across Greater Manchester, aims to raise £70,000 for local charities and donate 500 hours of employee volunteering time. Mace and its supply chain partners also plan for at least 5% of the workforce should be apprentices for the duration of the project

Further information regarding the transformation programme’s second phase will be released in the coming months.

Images: Manchester Airport Holdings