It’s been a long time coming – but after several delays, Manchester Airport is finally ready to officially unveil its new Terminal 2.
The first passengers are set to travel through the major ‘Super Terminal’ extension this week.
The extended terminal is the centrepiece of Manchester Airport Group’s (MAG) £1 billion Manchester Airport Transformation Programme, which was first announced in 2015 and was scheduled to open in the summer of 2020, until the COVID-19 pandemic ground international travel to a halt.
To ensure the smoothest possible opening when flying resumes, MAG has agreed a staggered launch of the new terminal with its airline partners.
It will see Jet2 start flying from there from 14 July – with just three flights on the first day to Menorca, Ibiza and Palma de Mallorca – as well as TUI flights from 15 July, with services to a range of destinations including green-listed Malta and Madeira, and Singapore Airlines will move over on the 17th.
So, what can travellers expect from the new terminal then?
According to MAG, the expanded terminal has a light, bright and airy check-in hall, with designs that set the tone for what passengers can expect throughout, as well as 10 new security areas that make use of the latest technology to allow people to flow through as quickly and easily as possible.
The new departure lounge features include a honeycomb light installation with 16 million settings that proudly illuminates the space and gives a nod to the famous Manchester worker bee.
Centre stage is an 81 square metre digital screen showing flight information.
The shops, cafes, bars and restaurants on offer – many hailing from the north, as well as a series of popular chains – have committed to serving customers at high street prices.
Initially, Pret-a-Manger, Costa Coffee, KFC, The Amber Alehouse and The Bridgewater Exchange by Joseph Holt will be open to customers, and Manchester institution Archie’s will open its new Terminal Two location on Thursday, as will juice bar VIT, while other venues will open once more passengers start using the terminal.
Two airport-operated lounges, with a combined capacity of 400, are based on the upper level with floor to ceiling windows giving passengers panoramic views over the airfield.
Passengers arriving into the hub will be met by a new immigration facility that’s four times larger than before, as well as a modern new baggage reclaim.
The new terminal will also be fully COVID-19 secure and will have a range of safety measures in place that have throughout the airport during the pandemic – including an enhanced cleaning and sanitising regime.
Speaking ahead of the terminal’s opening, Karen Smart – Managing Director of Manchester Airport – said: “After a long wait, we are delighted to confirm the first passengers will be able to enjoy our new Terminal Two this week [which] 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.
“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 [but] 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.
“In the meantime, we look forward to celebrating this milestone and welcoming those who are travelling through the new terminal later this week.”
Featured Image – Manchester Airport Group (MAG)
New cycle lanes and beer gardens closed as Northern Quarter building deemed ‘unsafe’
A section of the new cycleway through the Northern Quarter has been temporarily closed just weeks after opening, after a historic building was deemed to be ‘unsafe’.
Metal fences have now been erected on Thomas Street, blocking part of the cycle lanes and taking over valuable outdoor space for the bars and restaurants along the street.
The building in question stands on the corner of Thomas Street and John Street, once home to the Al Faisal takeaway.
It’s part of a block of 19th century properties in the area that back in 2018 were deemed to be in ”imminent danger of collapse’.
Councillors now say that the Northern Quarter building is unsafe, and will need to be propped up with scaffolding.
The owners of the building want to protect its historic facade but are unable to begin work immediately due to the high construction costs.
But until the scaffolding can be built, temporary fencing has been erected to protect members of the public.
It’s understood that the work will take up to 10 working days to complete.
Several images of the fencing have been circulation on social media, with the NQHQ account tweeting: “If you thought the cycleway through the Northern Quarter was sh*t…..well it just got sh*tter.”
Piccadilly Labour have said: “Building on the corner unfortunately deemed unsafe. Cllr @JonConnorLyons met with the owners who are putting up scaffolding and want to preserve the facade of the building – current construction costs are incredibly high for them to proceed with the development plans this year.”
Councillor Jon-Connor Lyons then added: “Winter weather has made the building vulnerable & cracks have formed which has resulted in the building having to be supported by scaffolding, whilst this happens, these fences have been put up to protect the public. Some reveal in this sort – that is a shame.”
Although the fencing is there in the public’s interest, several local hospitality businesses are concerned about the impact this will have on trade – especially as the fencing has appeared during the heatwave, when punters will be wanting to be outdoors to make the most of the sunny weather.
The Smithfield Social, which is part-owned by the Courteeners’ Liam Fray, has lost a chunk of its outdoor seating – though it does still have space for tables on Edge Street.
A spokesperson for the bar said: “The building works which commenced yesterday have impacted our outside trade significantly.
“We usually have eight tables out the front but after lengthy talks with councils and licensing we have come up with a solution which means we now have a severely reduced area with only four tables.
“The area seems to be an after thought as we are the only business affected by it. Fierce have moved their area but they do not lose any space.
“I have no doubt that we have lost significant patronage because of this, as who wants to sit outside with heavy machinery next to you and dust being blown in your face? Quite unfortunate timing with the great weather we are forecast to have over the coming days.”
The Manc has approached Manchester City Council for comment.
Featured image: The Manc Group
New stations appear across Manchester for city’s rentable ‘Burnham bike’ scheme
The roll-out of Greater Manchester’s Bee Bike cycle hire scheme has stepped up a gear, with new docking stations appearing across the city centre.
The scheme, nicknamed the ‘Burnham bikes’ as a nod to London’s ‘Boris bikes’, initially launched in Salford and along the Oxford Road corridor.
Several new yellow stations have appeared around Manchester now, with plenty more on the way.
The next phase of the roll-out of the Bee Bikes has seen stations installed around St Peter’s Square and Manchester Central.
By the time the scheme is complete, bike numbers will increase to 1,500, which will include 300 e-bikes.
It’s all part of the vision for a Bee Network – a joined-up, integrated public transport network across the region.
And it’s certainly off to a more successful start than Mobike, which famously withdrew from Manchester due to high levels of vandalism and theft.
The Bee Bikes are funded by TgGM and operated by Beryl, which runs similar schemes in London, Watford and Bournemouth.
Richard Nickson, programme director, Cycling and Walking at Transport for Greater Manchester, said: “The cycle hire scheme has really taken off in Greater Manchester since it was first introduced, and we are seeing significant numbers of riders and distances travelled by on the bikes- which is fantastic, particularly as we are still in the early days of the scheme’s roll out.
“The next phase of the roll-out has now started in Manchester city centre, with new stations installed at key locations including Manchester Central Library, Manchester Central Convention Centre and St Peter’s Square.