A look at progress on Manchester Airport’s £1bn super terminal

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The vast building site seen here is to become the new ‘Super Terminal’ of Manchester Airport at a cost of £1 billion. The site can also boast of being the region’s largest ever construction project.

A huge tower crane on the 900,000 sq ft site and the numerous diggers on display show that foundation works are now well underway.

Approximately 300 workers are currently in action on the site, working on demolition, piling and foundations of the terminal. This number is expected to rise to 1500 workers onsite when the project reaches its peak with 150 of these being apprentices learning their trade.

Due to be completed in 2020, the expansion of Terminal Two is such a fast-moving scheme that on busy days it will cost its investors an estimated £1m a day. From 2019, major changes to the existing site will be evident but the overall project which will include the destruction of Terminal One, brand new car parks and access roads will be completed by 2023.

These grand plans, led by the Dutch company Arcadis, is expected to bring quicker check-in and security checks, faster journey times through immigration and baggage claims.

The extension is to be constructed with plenty of glass, light and open spaces with double height ceilings throughout. A remarkable new ramp for direct access from the M56 Spur to a new area for departures will be created on the roof of the current car park structure. Building of a new aircraft pier, one of three, is also underway.

A large proportion of the people working on the project will be recent graduates from the onsite academy of the airport and local to the Manchester area. In partnership with Laing O’Rourke, all graduates finished a tailor-made course.

One of the first students, Jack Stott from Woodhouse Park, said: “This is what I wanted to do – work for a big company like Laing O’Rourke. I’ve lived nearby all my life so this is great. I’m really looking forward to starting work.”
Evan O’Driscoll, 23, from Baguley, added: “I’ve always wanted to work in construction, this is perfect.”

Manchester Airport’s CEO, Andrew Cowan, said the upgrade will provide the north of the country with the ‘world class international gateway’ it deserves, adding: “It will do a huge amount to boost the regional economy by creating jobs, tackling unemployment and driving up skill levels, ensuring the transformation leaves a lasting legacy.”

Cowan did add in relation to recent issues with passenger experience that “We are focused on giving passengers the best possible experience. Clearly the main reason we are doing this project is because we know we need to upgrade. In the meantime, we’re doing everything we can do make their journey as good as it can possibly be.”

The MP for Wythenshawe, Mike Kane said: “Many people in my constituency grow up aspiring to work at the airport and it is hugely positive to see schemes like this making that a reality.”


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