Manchester Airport

18 March 2024

Political and business leaders have urged the next government to place Manchester Airport at the heart of a modern, integrated transport network in the North and maximise its role in rebalancing the UK economy.

The calls were made after a new report revealed what the full economic potential of the Airport would be if the right conditions were in place to unlock “transformational growth” across the North.

Produced by Arup, it states that between now and 2050, the Northern gateway could secure direct flights to 50 new world-leading cities including Sydney, Tokyo, Montreal, Mumbai, Riyadh, San Francisco and Cape Town, driving passenger volumes to as high as 60m a year.

Those links would drive significant increases in exports, inward investment, tourism and cultural exchange for the North, growing Manchester Airport’s annual economic impact on the North to £16.3bn and leading to support for more than 80,000 more jobs.

The report spells out the opportunity for Ministers to create a “supportive policy environment” that enables both the Airport, and the Northern economy as a whole, to flourish.

The centrepiece of that would be the delivery of a high-speed rail network that transforms journey times between the likes of Leeds, Sheffield, Liverpool and Bradford and the airport.

That would build on MAG’s own £1.3bn investment in the transformation of its facilities, which is helping unlock the potential of its existing two runways.

[Read more: Political and business leaders back report showing how Manchester Airport can drive Northern growth and a rebalancing of the economy]