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History of Manchester Airport

The ten local authorities of Greater Manchester own Manchester Airport of today, with the Council City of Manchester owning 55% and the following councils 5% each.

Bolton : Bury : Oldham: Rochdale : Salford : Stockport : Tameside : Trafford : Wigan

These now comprise The Manchester Airports Group PLC and are the second largest airport operator in the UK after BAA. In addition to Manchester airport this group also own Nottingham East Midlands airport, Humberside airport and Bournemouth airport.

The airport of today, is a far cry from its humble beginnings that goes all the way back to 1928 when Barton, near Eccles was the chosen site for the first Manchester airport. This site was considered too small for long-term development and in 1934 land at Ringway in South Manchester was earmarked with building commencing the following year. Ringway was officially opened in 1938 and in its first year of operation 7600 passengers used the airport.

Between 1940 and 1946 parachutist regiments received training and the airport runways continued to be developed. Normal service resumed in 1946 and by the end of 1947 340,00 passengers passed through its terminals which is now equivalent to a busy summer weekend. Terminals and runways were continually developed and by 1952 passengers were up to 163,000.

In 1962 a new terminal was built at the cost of £2.7 million and was the first in Europe to have cover for passengers. By 1980 following more runway extensions to accommodate larger aircraft, flights too more than 37 destinations in UK, Europe and North America resulted in passengers for one month braking the half a million barrier. The airport was now becoming one of the largest employers in Manchester with over 5000 people either working there or supplying off site.

The World freight terminal was opened in 1986 and the following year saw passengers for one month exceed 1 million. Overseas travel was no longer the preserve of the few and the package holiday brought Spain and other popular destinations within reach of the working population and passenger numbers were climbing steeply year on year.

The new domestic terminal was opened in 1989 followed by terminal 2 in 1993 doubling the airports capacity to 20 million. After lengthy negotiations approval for the second runaway was granted in 1997. And to match the expected demand terminal 1 was upgraded and in 2003 and terminal 2 extended.

The railway station was officially opened in 2004 and the 20 million passengers passed through the airport on a rolling annual basis.

Manchester airport currently vies with Stansted Airport as the third busiest UK airport, behind Heathrow and Gatwick. Stansted currently holds third spot but since 2008 has been loosing customers and there is every chance that Manchester airport will regain the position by the end of 2011 or early next year.