Manchester Airport

Terminal 1 at Manchester Airport

Manchester Airport (IATA: MAN) is one of the busiest and largest airports in Europe. The airport is located in the south of Manchester, in the North West of England and is an excellent gateway to the north of the United Kingdom.


The city of Manchester often lays claim to the title of 'second city' in the United Kingdom and, in the airport stakes at least, this claim is well and truly justified - this is the largest airport in the UK outside of London and is amongst the 50 largest airports in the world. Nearly 100 operators fly to and from hundreds of locations worldwide, including most major cities in Europe, along with services to the Americas, Africa, and Asia.

With a history dating back to before the Second World War, Manchester (previously [and still occasionally!] known as 'Ringway') bears testament to many architectural 'styles'. In some places, the combination of moulded grey plastics and psychedelic carpet patterns makes for a heady 80s experience, but much of the airport has also seen renovation and redevelopment in recent years.

Unlike the UK's largest airport, Heathrow, Manchester is municipally owned by the 10 Greater Manchester Councils with Manchester City council having the largest share (55%) and the other councils 5% each; for every M&M dispenser and multi-pack of cigarettes (as well as anything else) you buy, you're probably saving someone, somewhere, some money on their council tax!

Manchester Airport has three terminals: Terminals 1 and 2 are linked by a 'Skylink' (neon Tron-style bridge), with 'travellators' to whisk you along and shorten the otherwise 10–15 minute walk. Terminal 3 is linked to Terminal 1 and the Skylink by an (admittedly more mundane) covered walkway. Terminal 1 is the largest at the airport, and handles the majority of European and International flights, along with Terminal 2. The third terminal is used primarily for domestic and Western European flights. The Skylink also connects all terminals to the airport railway station complex, somewhat unimaginatively known simply as 'The Station' (see below).


Manchester Airport serves the greatest number of destinations of any airport in the United Kingdom and as such, its departure boards offer a wide selection of exotic (and less exotic) places to visit. Indeed, for an airport that does not serve a nation's capital, MAN's intercontinental connections are impressive. The airport is also home to a large number of British charter flight operators, including Thomson, Thomas Cook and Jet2, as well as more prestigious carriers like British Airways (domestic flights only), Emirates, Etihad and Lufthansa.

Manchester Airport also features the shortest scheduled flight in Europe with a full service First Class compartment: Singapore Airlines' flight to Munich (a leg of a longer flight to Singapore itself).


Departures at Manchester Airport Terminal 1

Terminal 1 - Chartered and scheduled flights across Europe and the rest of the world operated by airlines including: EasyJet, Jet2, Small Planet Airlines, Thomas Cook, Emirates, Etihad Airways, Lufthansa, Swiss, and Turkish Airlines.

Terminal 2 - Chartered and scheduled flights to mainly international destinations, but also some European ones. Airlines include: Monarch, Thomson Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Air Malta, Qatar Airways, Tunisair, and United Airlines.

Terminal 3 - Scheduled domestic, European and some intercontinental flights. Operators include: Flybe, Ryanair, Air France, American Airlines, British Airways, BMI Regional, Brussels Airlines, KLM and Virgin Atlantic Little Red.


Departing from Manchester Airport is a simple business with relatively little hassle in comparison to other large airports. Both Terminals 1 and 2 have recently seen renovations to their security areas, allowing for less hassle when being checked. Manchester initially pioneered the (somewhat controversial) use of full-body scanners in the United Kingdom, but they were removed in September 2012.

Ground Transportation

Manchester Airport Railway Station

Located fairly centrally within the United Kingdom, Manchester Airport is well situated for transportation to the rest of the country.

By train

Wikivoyage has a guide to Rail travel in the United Kingdom.

Direct trains run from the airport station (reached by the 'Skyway' between terminals 1 and 2) to Manchester Piccadilly and Oxford Road stations; the fare to the city is £4, and the trip takes about 20 minutes. Some of the trains continue to destinations north of Manchester, but most onward destinations require a change at Piccadilly. Trains tail off at about midnight, though the number 43 bus continues throughout the night.

By tram

A Metrolink line to the airport has recently opened, on the 3rd of November 2014, that allows travel between the city centre and the airport on the Manchester tram system. It's particularly useful for travel to the south and west of Greater Manchester, but a journey to the city centre will take about an hour, involving around 22 stops and a change of trams at Cornbrook, and an adult single ticket to the Central Zone costs £4.20.

By bus

You can also catch a coach/bus to Manchester Central Coach station.

Bus and coach services calling at Manchester Airport (Places in bold are where services terminate)
No. Operator Destination Stand
Bus services
18 Arriva North West The Trafford Centre via Wythenshawe, Sale and Stretford D
Altrincham via Hale K
19 Arriva North West Altrincham via Wythenshawe, Sale and Ashton-upon-Mersey G
43 Stagecoach Manchester Manchester Piccadilly via Wythenshawe, Northenden, West Didsbury, Withington and Fallowfield E
44 Hayton's Coaches Manchester Piccadilly via Gatley, Cheadle, East Didsbury, Withington and Fallowfield D
Manchester Airport Cargo Centre K
105 Stagecoach Manchester Manchester Piccadilly via Wythenshawe, Northenden, Southern Cemetery and Moss Side F
199 Trent Barton Buxton via Stockport, Hazel Grove and Chapel-en-le-Frith J
200 Swan's Travel Wilmslow via Styal H
Manchester Airport Viewing Park J
369 Stagecoach Manchester Stockport via Wythenshawe, Heald Green, Cheadle Hulme and Adswood H
X69 Stagecoach Manchester Stockport via Heald Green, Cheadle Hulme and Adswood (one late night journey only) H
Coach services
060 National Express Liverpool via M62 motorway B
Leeds via Manchester and Bradford (some) C
325 National Express Birmingham via Stoke-on-Trent and Wolverhampton A
Manchester Chorlton Street Coach Station C
328 National Express Plymouth via Wolverhampton, Birmingham and Bristol A
Rochdale via Manchester and Oldham C
333 National Express Bournemouth via Stoke-on-Trent and Bristol A
Blackpool via Manchester, Bolton and Preston B
336 National Express Penzance via Stoke-on-Trent and Bristol A
Edinburgh via Preston, Lancaster and Glasgow B
341 National Express Birmingham via Wolverhampton A
Burnley via Manchester, Bolton and Blackburn B
350 National Express Liverpool B
Clacton via Sheffield, Nottingham, Leicester and Ipswich C
380 National Express Bangor via Liverpool B
Newcastle upon Tyne via Manchester, Oldham (some), Bradford (some), Leeds, York and Middlesbrough C
381 National Express Chester B
Newcastle upon Tyne via Manchester, Oldham, Bradford and Leeds C
383 National Express Edinburgh via Manchester, Oldham, Bradford, Leeds and Newcastle upon Tyne C
422 National Express London Victoria Coach Station via Birmingham A
Burnley via Manchester, Bolton and Blackburn B
538 National Express Coventry via Stoke-on-Trent, Wolverhampton and Birmingham A
Inverness via Manchester, Preston, Glasgow and Aberdeen B
540 National Express London Victoria Coach Station via M6 motorway A
Colne via Bolton, Blackburn and Burnley B
880 Eurolines Dublin via Liverpool and Holyhead B

By car

The airport is a 20-minute drive from Manchester city centre and is reached by the M56 motorway, with a dedicated approach road from the motorway at junction 5. The M56 is the main route used by traffic to reach the airport. There are also minor local roads serving the airport from the north (Wythenshawe) and the east (Heald Green). Taxis are available from outside each terminal, costing about £15 and taking about 30-45 minutes to reach the city centre.

Car parks serving Manchester Airport
Address On/Off Airport Distance / Transfer Time Security Additional Information
Long Stay Parking (T1-3) Manchester Airport,
M90 3NS
On 0.5 miles/ 800 metres/ 5 minutes Security lighting and fencing, entry/exit barriers and 24-hour security patrols. Maximum vehicle height of 2.2 metres. Trailers are not permitted.
Long Stay Parking (T2) Manchester Airport,
M90 5PR
On 0.5 miles / 800 metres/ 5 minutes Security lighting, perimeter fencing, entry/exit barriers and 24-hour security patrols. Maximum vehicle height of 2.2 metres. Trailers are not permitted.
Short Stay Parking (All terminals) Manchester Airport,
M90 1QX
On .2 miles / 300 metres/ Walking distance CCTV, entry/exit barriers and regular security patrols. Maximum vehicle height is 2 metres. Trailers are not permitted.
Multi-Storey Parking (All terminals) Manchester Airport Terminals 1-3,
M90 1QX
On .2 miles / 300 metres/ Walking distance CCTV, entry/exit barriers and regular security patrols. Maximum vehicle height of 2 metres. Trailers are not permitted.
Meteor Meet & Greet Parking Car park does not disclose address for security reasons. On Customer is met at terminal. No transfer required. CCTV, security lighting, 1.8 m security fencing and regular security patrols. Meteor drivers are comprehensively insured to drive customers' cars.
Airparks Handforth Dean Parking Car park does not disclose address for security reasons. Off 4 miles / 6 km / 15 min transfer CCTV, security lighting, security fencing and regular security patrols. No trailers are allowed.
Airparks Manchester Ringway Isherwood Road,Carrington, Wilmslow, Manchester, M31 4RA Off 4 miles / 6km / 15mins transfer CCTV, security fencing and regular security patrols. No trailers are allowed. Maximum vehicle height of 2.10m
Manchester Shuttle Park Styal Road, Manchester, M90 1QX Off 3 miles / 5 km/ 10mins transfer CCTV, security fencing and regular security patrols. No trailers are allowed.
APH Manchester Bradnor Road, Sharston Industrial Area, Manchester, M22 4TE Off 5mins transfer CCTV, Barrier controlled entrance and exit system, Breaker Beams, 24 hour security patrols, Park Mark® Safer Parking Award. 2.4 metre height restriction. No trailers are allowed.
Looking4Parking Car park does not disclose address for security reasons. Off Customer is met at terminal. No transfer required. CCTV, security fencing and 24-hour on-site security. No

Get around

'Skylink' to Terminal 2

This is a large airport, but by no means on the same scale as Heathrow Airport in London. The distance from check-in to gate is comparatively short and all but the most inconvenient of flights will require less than 15 minutes of walking to reach the appropriate gate. This is especially true in Terminals 1 and 2, which are less convoluted in layout than the smaller but more complicated Terminal 3. All terminals are connected by 'skylinks', and 'travellators' are used across much of the airport to expedite your journey. Buses connect the airport's car parks with the terminal buildings.


Connections at the airport are conducted through separate channels to conventional arrivals and, as such, you do not need to reclaim your baggage before boarding your next flight.


Following recent renovations, the vast majority of shops and eateries are beyond the security check in all of the terminals at Manchester Airport so, in comparison with other airports, there is little point loitering in the check-in hall.


Manchester has passenger lounges in all terminals, each available for a fee:

Airline lounges include the following:

Terminal 1

Terminal 2

Terminal 3

Eat and drink

All the terminals at Manchester Airport are well-equipped to suit all tastes and provide a range of culinary 'experiences'.

Terminal 1

Terminal 1 is home to a variety of eateries, including fast food vendors such as Burger King, table-service restaurants like Giraffe, and coffee shops like Starbucks.

Terminal 2

Terminal 2 provides a great number of different places to seek refreshment and sate even the largest of appetites: from fast food at yet another Burger King to Italian-American fare at Frankie and Benny's via the caffeine dispensary Caffè Nero for those of you taking early morning flights.

Terminal 3

Terminal 3 also caters to a great variety of tastes. Costa Coffee provides a variety of hot beverages and snacks, whilst The Food Village offers quick food for those in a hurry. If you have a little more time on your hands Terminal 3 is also home to Trattoria Milano - an Italian restaurant.


Shops and restaurants in Terminal 2's departure lounge.

Manchester Airport has a wide variety of shopping options for the retail-conscious including the obligatory 'duty-free' shop (only tax-free for flights outside of the European Union!).

Each terminal has a branch of the ubiquitous (at least in airports) Dixons (a consumer electronics retailer), where you can pick up travel adapters and, should you so desire, a 52 inch plasma screen television to take on your flight with you. There is also a branch of the British high-street chemist Boots in each terminal, for last-minute aspirin, travel-adapters and rather nice (and fairly priced) pre-packaged sandwiches. The high-street newsagent WHSmith also maintains a presence in each of Manchester's terminals (to the extent at which one can barely move for branches). Smith's (as it's also known) is the place to grab a newspaper (outrageous British tabloid or more respectable broadsheet), magazine, book or drink, as well as yet more all-important travel adapters.

British clothing retailers also operate from Manchester Airport. Monsoon (Terminals 1 & 2) and Next (Terminal 1) both offer popular high-street fashions if you've neglected to bring any clothes, whilst Tie Rack (all terminals) fulfils its brief to the letter, offering neckwear for men and women alike, as well as other accessories.



Signal on UK mobile networks is normally good within the airport area and payphones are available in each of the airport's terminals.


Wi-Fi is free throughout the airport for up to 30 minutes. A 'premium' service is also available which offers service beyond half-an-hour, as well as faster download speeds, and allows for heavier usage - perfect for watching industrial quantities of YouTube videos before your flight. Prices are £5.00 for an hour, £10.00 per day and £30.00 per month.


Shower facilities are located within Terminal 2, and cost £6.50 per person. Two multi-faith prayer rooms are situated in Terminals 2 and 3. Terminals 1 and 2 both offer outdoor air-side smoking areas in order to comply with the United Kingdom's smoking ban.

Facilities for withdrawing and exchanging money are readily available in each of the terminals however, travellers should be aware that the Raphaels´ Bank cash machine at the airport offers such an appalling conversion rate that, far from being "free of charge" as claimed, you pay exorbitant charges to use it.


There are four hotels located within the airport complex and a number of others located nearby and in neighbouring Wilmslow and Altrincham.


Manchester Airport is a gateway not just to the city of Manchester, a post-industrial gem, but the entire British Isles. The airport is centrally located for the Greater Manchester area, as well as the entirety of Northern England. There are good rail connections from Scotland as well as a gruesome coach service.

The Manchester Airport Visitor Park is located on the south-western side of the airport and is well worth a visit for any aviation enthusiast. It's home to the flagship of the British Airways Concorde fleet, as well as offering excellent views over the airport apron, taxiways and runways.

The Airport Hotel is a pub on Ringway Road about 0.5 mi (800 m) from the airport. Its beer garden overlooks the east end of Taxiway J and the eastern threshold of runway 23R which are only 50 ft (15 m) away and provides good views of east-west landing approaches and some take-off rolls.

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Sunday, December 13, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.