August bank holiday breaks Manchester Airport passenger records

VIVA Team | 1st September 2019

The growth of Manchester’s airport shows no sign of slowing down, in spite of widespread pessimism around the looming Brexit deadline. The facility welcomed record numbers of passengers throughout the summer.


This activity reached a zenith on Bank Holiday Friday, with the busiest day ever recorded in the airport’s eighty-one years, with in excess of 115,000 passengers arriving and departing over 24 hours, and an eye-popping 430,000 over the entire Bank Holiday Weekend.


July 26th had already set a record this year, with 56,653 passengers departing, mostly for sunny destinations. Bank Holiday Friday set a record for arrivals, with around 57,825 passengers coming back from their holidays. The majority were carried by larger commercial airliners while a small proportion of these passengers opt for private jet hire.


With the school year now in full swing again, these records are unlikely to be challenged until next year – when passenger numbers are expected to be even more impressive.


Putting things in perspective


So how does Manchester compare to other airports around the world when it comes to passenger traffic? While it’s growing at an explosive rate, the airport is still some way short of the really global players when it comes to traffic.


While it’s difficult to make direct comparisons on a daily basis, the annual figures are made available by Airports Council International, a global trade organisation which represents the world’s airports.  According to the latest figures, Manchester processed just over twenty-eight million passengers in 2018, just beating London Stansted into 4th place. Heathrow and Gatwick are way out ahead, on eighty and forty-six million, respectively. As such, Manchester has a long way to go before it can be discussed as a major international airport in the UK.


With that said, Heathrow’s runways are still running at 99% capacity, and so the scope for further expansion will be limited until the long-discussed plans for expansion are finally put into motion. Manchester, by contrast, has a significant amount of headroom available; it can take in far more passengers before the existing facilities begin to strain. The operators estimate that up to 40 million passengers could be brought in without significant upgrades.


The world’s busiest airport is to be found in Atlanta, Georgia. Jackson Atlanta International Airport brought in 107 million passengers in 2018. Beijing Capital was the second busiest, at 100 million, while Dubai, LA-X, Tokyo Haneda and O’Hare International in Chicago made up the top six. Heathrow sits in seventh.


For much of the north of England, Manchester remains the sole major player. And so long as the economic expansion of Liverpool, Manchester and Leeds continues, Manchester is likely to remain the airport of choice for many passengers for many summers to come.