By Connor Sadler
Manchester Airport’s New Terminal Two Will Open to Customers
Manchester Airport has announced that its new Terminal Two extension will open this week.
The new building forms the focus of Manchester Airport Group’s £1 billion Manchester Airport Transformation Program, first announced in 2015.
The first passengers will pass through the flagship facility on Wednesday, July 14. Jet2 will be the first to operate from the terminal, with other carriers, including TUI and Singapore Airlines, to follow.
Jet2 will only operate three flights out of the new terminal on its first day to ensure a smooth opening. The airport will be keen to avoid a disaster like that seen on the day Terminal 5 at Heathrow opened, which the BBC reports as a “fateful first day.”
British Airways saw dozens of flights canceled and a backlog of bags when its home terminal opened at Heathrow in 2008.
The first flights on July 14 will be to Menorca, Ibiza and Palma de Mallorca in the Spanish Balearic Islands. TUI launch services from the terminal the following day, and Singapore Airlines starts on July 17. The airport expects more airlines to move across over the summer.
Manchester Airport was the first in the U.K. to close terminals in anticipation of the pandemic. It initially closed both Terminals Two and Three and operated exclusively out of Terminal One. However, last July, the airport gradually began re-opening them with hopes of a summer ramp up.
While passengers did return to the skies last summer, it was only short-lived. Increasing COVID infection rates across the world in winter meant the U.K. government began reimplementing travel restrictions, as well as national lockdowns.
However, with the success of the vaccine rollout, both in the U.K. and internationally, there are reasons for optimism. Last week, the U.K. announced it is easing travel restrictions for fully vaccinated citizens. This was another welcome step in liberalizing travel after the Transport Secretary unveiled the traffic light system.
Construction began on the new facility in 2015. The airport had initially planned to open the extended terminal last summer. However, the pandemic took hold of international travel and delayed its opening.
Karen Smart, Managing Director of Manchester Airport, said in an airport press release, “After a long wait, we are delighted to confirm the first passengers will be able to enjoy our new Terminal Two this week. It is a proud milestone for our airport as we begin to emerge from the restrictions brought about by the Covid-19 crisis, and an important moment in our 83-year history.”
“This project was always about offering the modern airport experience that families and businesses across the North deserve as they travel through their international gateway to the world, and our new terminal certainly delivers on that goal,” Smart contined. “The impact of the pandemic on the travel industry means we are not able to immediately welcome as many customers and airlines into this fantastic new facility as we would have hoped.”
“As Government restrictions continue to be eased, and travel to more destinations is opened-up in the weeks ahead, we will be making further announcements about the carriers and retailers operating from T2,” said Smart.
Existing customers at Manchester Airport have already been enjoying new facilities as part of the airport’s transformation. The airport built a new car park, which opened in 2019, and will operate alongside the existing car park.
The new terminal has a light and bright check-in before passengers head to a ten-lane security area. The airport is also introducing innovative technology to enable passengers to flow through security as quickly as possible.
In celebration of the Worker Bee, a symbol of Manchester, a honeycomb light feature illuminates the new departure lounge with 16 million different color settings. In addition, a large digital screen takes center stage to provide information to passengers.
Two airport-operated lounges will open, as well as several new shops, bars, cafes and restaurants. While customers can find popular chains in the terminal, the terminal also features brands born and bred in the North.
The airport has added a new immigration facility to the terminal that is four times larger than the existing space in the old Terminal Two.
A modern baggage claim hall will open with eight belts, three of which will be in operation from opening day. The baggage claim hall then leads passengers out into a bright, spacious arrivals hall.