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Manchester Airport Becomes First in U.K. to Close Terminals

A TUI Boeing 767-300 preparing to depart from Manchester Airport (Photo: AirlineGeeks | James Dinsdale)

Manchester Airport announced the decision Friday to close two terminals and transfer all commercial traffic to the remaining terminal, following the drop in passengers flying in and out of the northern U.K. airport.

On Wednesday, March 25, Terminals Two and Three will close and any flights still operating in and out of Manchester will go through Terminal One.

“Like all airports across the world, Manchester Airport has experienced a significant fall in passenger volumes as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic,” the airport said in a statement. “Given this reduction in departing and arriving flights, and the likelihood of traffic will decline further, we have taken the decision to work towards operating from a single terminal.

“This [closure] will happen on Wednesday, March 25, and all flights that were due to depart from Terminal Two and Terminal Three will now do so from Terminal One. This means passengers should check-in and pass through security in Terminal One from this date.

“Anyone due to return to Manchester Airport will arrive into Terminal One, regardless of the Terminal they originally departed from. Those due to collect passengers from the Airport should also be aware of this change,” the statement continued. 

Soon before the airport made its announcement, the U.K. government issued travel advice not to fly to European destinations for 30 days. Airlines like Virgin Atlantic easyJet and Ryanair have canceled thousands of flights both in the UK and across Europe.

“We would like to thank our customers for their understanding, and would also like to place on record our thanks to our colleagues, who have shown huge dedication and professionalism during this challenging time,” Manchester Airport said.

The airport’s decision to close two terminals will not have a direct impact on its employees, as staffing plans are already in place. Airlines choosing whether or not to operate to Manchester are managing their own staff independently.

The European Council recently waived slot rules that normally require airlines to operate 80 percent of its flights to keep its slots. Airlines have more freedom to cancel services to destinations like Manchester without being punished by the airport. The waiver is currently set to expire on Oct. 24, but it could be extended beyond then. Should this outbreak continue, reduced capacity at airports, especially at smaller airports that rely on select carriers, could put airport revenue in jeopardy, putting jobs in question.

John McDermott


  • John McDermott

    John McDermott is a student at Northwestern University. He is also a student pilot with hopes of flying for the airlines. A self-proclaimed "avgeek," John will rave about aviation at length to whoever will listen, and he is keen to call out any airplane he sees, whether or not anyone around him cares about flying at all. John previously worked as a Journalist and Editor-In-Chief at Aeronautics Online Aviation News and Media. In his spare time, John enjoys running, photography, and watching planes approach Chicago O'Hare from over Lake Michigan.

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