Manchester Airport is today celebrating the completion of the first major phase of its £1bn transformation programme with the opening of the first pier and new multi storey car park this morning.
Passengers flying out of the UK's third largest airport were this morning welcomed onto a 216m new pier, which connects to Terminal 2, for the first time.
Longer than Manchester's Beetham Tower is tall, the new pier provides panoramic views of the airfield and will be used by all airlines currently operating out of T2. Hundreds of passengers are set to sample the new pier today, with five flights set to take off from their today.
Andrew Cowan, CEO of Manchester Airport, said: "Today is a significant milestone for Manchester Airport as we deliver the first phase of the biggest investment we have made in our 80 year history.
"We are delighted to wave off the first handful of flights from the new pier, as we build up to bringing it into full operation in the days ahead.
"What that means is our customers can start to enjoy the new facilities, at the same time as getting a taste of what to expect from the next stages of our £1bn transformation programme.
"Today is just the start. Over the coming years we will transform the airport for all of our customers, giving the North the world class airport it deserves. The investment we are making and the range of destinations we connect to, in all corners of the world, underlines the vital role Manchester Airport plays in creating jobs and driving growth across the North of England.
"Having first put a spade in the ground in July 2017, a huge amount of work has gone into getting our new pier and multi-storey car park ready to open today and I would like to thank all of our colleagues and delivery partners for their efforts."
The new pier was opened at around 4.30am today, with passengers treated to entertainment by the NoTTwins, who featured on Britain's Got Talent, the Loose Change Buskers who are raising money for Cancer Research, guitarist Jack O'Malley and Christian Marshall a caricaturist to mark the occasion.
The pier has been built with more than 300 individual panes of glass and is equipped with 11 gates and airbridges plus more than 1,400 seats.
The opening marks the next phase of the airport's transformation programme that will see Terminal 2 become the focal point of its operations. More than 1,750 people are currently working on the project which recently welcomed its 100th apprentice as work gathers pace. Over the coming weeks more and more flights will gradually move over to the new pier as it becomes fully operational.
The next phase of the £1bn transformation is the extension to the existing Terminal 2, which will it more than double in size. Work is well underway and the extension will open in summer 2020 with 40 plus new food and beverage outlets and shops, followed by a further 40 when the existing building is fully refurbished.