MANCHESTER Airports Group and HS2 see a high speed link to the north as key for a connected, global Britain.

Charlie Cornish, CEO of Manchester Airports Group (MAG), met on Friday with HS2 Ltd CEO, Mark Thurston, at Manchester Airport to discuss progress on the development of the line to Manchester and the proposed station at Manchester Airport.

During the discussion they talked about the potential for a new station at Manchester Airport to bring together HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR) services to help spread the benefits of high-speed rail connectivity across the north.

They also discussed how to maximise the potential for economic growth from HS2, with MAG wishing to see work on the northern leg of HS2 accelerated to allow the benefits of better connectivity in the North to be felt much sooner.

Charlie Cornish said: “The positive discussions we’ve had today demonstrate the benefits we all see of having improved rail links to the North.

“A hub station at Manchester Airport will be vital, helping us expand further our network of international routes, which connect people and businesses to destinations all over the world, attracting inward investment to the Northern and UK economy.

“What we need to talk about now is how we’re going to ensure this HS2 line will link up with Northern Powerhouse Rail to ensure the whole of the North can benefit, of which the Manchester to Leeds line announced by the Prime Minister a couple of weeks ago is just the start.

“It is imperative that both of these lines are delivered, connected by a hub station at Manchester Airport, to ensure the benefits of both lines are available to the widest section of the North’s population and business community. The HS2 line to Manchester will be an important milestone in the journey to creating better transport links, and vital to rebalancing the UK economy.”

Mark Thurston said: “HS2 is a once in a generation opportunity to better connect the North to the Midlands and bring Britain together.

“By building HS2, we move intercity trains on to our new railway enabling more local commuter trains to run across the region.

“Our trains, which will stop at the new Manchester Airport station will be quicker, more reliable and allow more passengers across the country to use the Airport.

“HS2 also has a crucial role in delivering Northern Powerhouse Rail’s plans and will act as the backbone for the integrated rail network the North deserves. We will build the infrastructure needed to enable faster and more frequent services between Liverpool, Manchester Airport and Manchester.”

Phase one of HS2, between the West Midlands and London, is scheduled to be completed by 2026, with plans to extend to Crewe by 2027 and to Leeds and Manchester by 2033.