MANCHESTER Airport is moving forward with plans for a complete transformation worth £1bn. Having recently chosen a Dutch firm to do the project, UK’s third biggest airport is ready to welcome a super-sized terminal, faster security, more passengers and new routes.

Arcadis, a Netherlands-based design and consultancy firm, was announced to be executing the plans earlier this week. Starting in 2016 is a 10-year investment programme that that will transform the airport, ensuring that it continues to be one of the top airports in the country.

The £1bn project is promising to extend terminal 2 to more than double its size and link it to an upgraded terminal 3. With introducing the latest technology and opening a new security hall with bigger capacity, the programme aims to cut waits up to 5 minutes per passenger. The airport will also be introducing a range of new customer friendly enhancements, such as new self-service check-in facilities and 50 new food and drink and retail outlets. There will also be an upgrade on the roads around the airport, making it easier for customers to get in and out. Despite the big plans for the airport, the project will not affect passengers in its10 years as it is set to be on a step-by-step basis.

The Rt. Hon George Osborne, MP, Chancellor of the Exchequer said: “The investment, which will completely transform Manchester Airport and double its capacity, will help ensure that it continues to compete with global airports across the world.”

Yana Velikova, an international student in Manchester, said: “I think it will definitely be for the best. As good as the airport is, it could use quicker security checks. There have been times I’ve had to queue for nearly an hour which is just unnecessary and annoying when you have a 6-hour flight ahead of you as well.”

The Dutch firm behind the project, appointed by Manchester Airports Group, has a strong track record working with international airports, including the ones in Sao Paolo, Abu Dhabi, Hong Kong and Singapore. Said to be the biggest single construction project in the area, the programme is set to boost passenger numbers and open more job opportunities. Manchester Airport now serves over 210 destinations with 70 airlines, including new and direct flights to LA, Boston and Beijing. After having its most successful year, with over 23 million passengers for the first time in its history, the airport is set to boost numbers up to 30 million people per year.

Currently the airport provides jobs for over 40,000 people, on site and indirectly. Ten years from now, when the programme is expected to be compete, there will be 1.5k new job openings for people in the area.

Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council, said: “Greater Manchester and the rest of the North West are increasingly competing on an international stage and an airport that is better suited to serving these global aspirations will significantly improve the impact the region can have in attracting inward and outward investment, helping it to realise its full economic potential and create further jobs and opportunities.”

Osborne added: “The project will play a key role in this one nation government’s plan to rebalance the UK economy and boost productivity‎ and is fantastic news for working people across the North.”

By Anna Georgieva

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