Jet2 and TUI flights will operate from the flagship facility initially, with others to follow in the weeks ahead, as the Government’s policy for double-vaccinated passengers comes into play.
The extended terminal is the centrepiece of MAG’s £1bn Manchester Airport Transformation Programme, which was first announced in 2015.
It was scheduled to open in the summer of 2020, but this was put on hold after the coronavirus pandemic ground international travel to a halt.
To ensure the smoothest possible opening when flying resumes in earnest, MAG has agreed a staggered launch of the terminal with its airline partners. It will see Jet2 start flying from there from July 14, with just three flights on the first day – to Menorca, Ibiza and Palma de Mallorca.
TUI will operate flights from the terminal from July 15, with services to a range of destinations including green-listed Malta and Madeira. Singapore Airlines will move over on the 17th.
With the Government set to update its red, amber and green lists on the 15th – coupled with the amber list exemption for double vaccinated passengers from July 19 – further announcements about new flights from Terminal 2 will follow over the coming weeks.
That will see more airlines move across and more retailers and food and beverage outlets confirm their launch dates.
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. 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.
“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.
“In the meantime, we look forward to celebrating this milestone and welcoming those who are travelling through the new terminal later this week. I would also like to thank all our colleagues and partners for their hard work and dedication in getting us to this point.”
The expanded terminal has a light, bright and airy check-in hall, with designs that set the tone for what passengers can expect throughout.
Once bags are dropped-off, passengers will head into the new security area, which has 10 lanes that are 29 metres long. They introduce the latest technology, allowing passengers to flow through as quickly and easily as possible.
The new departure lounge is where the new terminal experience comes to life. New features include a honeycomb light installation with 16 million settings that proudly illuminates the space, giving a nod to the famous Manchester worker bee. A new 81 square metre digital screen will take centre stage to provide interactive content and information to passengers.
A wide range of new shops, bars, cafes and restaurants will feature in the new terminal, including many brands that have been born and bred in the North, as well as a series of popular chains – all food and beverage outlets have committed to 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. 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 and further announcements will follow.
Two airport operated lounges will also open, offering passengers additional luxury and a relaxing space pre-flight.
It is not just departing passengers that will get a new experience. Those arriving will also get to sample what the new terminal extension has to offer. This includes a new immigration facility, which is four times larger than the current space, and a spacious, bright arrivals hall. A modern new baggage reclaim will also open, with three of eight new baggage belts starting to operate.
The new terminal will also be fully Covid-19 secure and will have a range of safety measures in place that passengers have experienced throughout the airport during the pandemic, including an enhanced cleaning and sanitising regime.
The six-year terminal extension project has been spearheaded by construction firm Laing O’Rourke, alongside partners such as architects Pascall + Watson, design consultancy Arcadis, airfield works contractor Galliford Try, engineering and architectural services contractor Jacobs and baggage contractor Vanderlande Industries.