TRAVEL GAZETTE – Britain’s third biggest airport, Manchester, flew more passengers in the 2015/16 financial year than in any other year in its 78 year history.
Figures published by the airport Tuesday showed 23.5 million passengers passed through what is the biggest provincial airport in Britain, and third in size after Heathrow and Gatwick.
It now bills itself as the Gateway to the North, and the key airport at the heart of the government’s new emerging Northern Powerhouse.
Passenger numbers for March, 2016 were 11 percent up on the same month last year, giving a boost to the annual figures in what was the final month of the financial year.
The inaugural flight of the Manchester to Beijing route by Hainan Airlines is just two months from its June take-off, with Britain’s only direct scheduled year-round to the Chinese capital outside of London, expected to boost the fortunes of Manchester Airport.
Manchester recently announced a direct link to San Francisco starting next year by Virgin Atlantic.
Manchester Airport’s managing director Ken O’Toole, said:”As new routes come to fruition and passenger numbers increase, in turn jobs are created and inbound tourism spending is injected into the region.
“Manchester Airport currently generates 1.7 billion pounds (2.41 billion U.S. dollars) in value for the North West, supports 21,500 jobs on site and a further 45,000 indirectly and we are confident of driving more growth in the years to come.”
“This financial year, we will see services to Beijing, with HainanAirlines, plus Los Angeles and Boston, with Thomas Cook, begin. Plus next financial year San Francisco and Boston, with Virgin Atlantic, will launch.”
As well as the new service to Beijing, Manchester will this year see flights launched to Los Angeles, Boston, Aruba, Phuket. Tobago and Mauritius.
“Such services are sure to prove popular with leisure travellers, as well as delivering a boost to businesses wanting access to these key markets and, as the year progresses, we look forward to securing yet more vital routes for passengers across the North,” added O’Toole.