Manchester Airport to cross 25m passenger mark in three years

Manchester Airport is expecting to handle more passengers than ever before within three years under the next phase of expansion plans.

Andrew Cowan, the new chief operating officer of the airport, praised Manchester’s efforts in achieving its target of handling 20 million passengers earlier than expected in April. That was the first time the airport has achieved that milestone for five years.

On the airport’s expansion plans, Cowan told the Manchester Evening News, ‘Our strategy is to continue to utilise our assets as best we can and that means continuing to grow passenger numbers. Last year, we did 19.6m and this year we will do about 750,000 more than that, meaning we will stand at about 20.6m.’

‘The year after that, we should do similar again, which will bring us to about 21.5 million and that will continue to grow in the years after that. We have got through the 20 million barrier already and the next big milestone for us is surpassing what we were doing back in 2008/09. I think in the next two to three years, we will probably break through the 25 million passenger mark again,’ he added.

If Manchester’s growth progresses as planned, as many as 5,000 jobs could be created in the process, Cowan said. The former Robertson Group chief executive has joined Manchester Airports Group (MAG) as chief operating officer earlier this year, with his role covering the management of Manchester, East Midlands and Bournemouth Airports.

Under the guidance of chief executive Charlie Cornish, MAG is also looking to secure a direct flight to China, a plan which has been supported by Chancellor George Osborne.

Cowan said: ‘It is difficult to say exactly when it will happen but we’re putting the right things in place and we are going out there and talking to the right people. I think if we don’t have it in place within nine to 12 months, we will be disappointed.’