MANCHESTER Airport’s £1.3 billion transformation has reached two important milestones.

Work has started to redesign the airfield and and steelwork has installed for a new pier.

Changes to the airfield will allow the world’s biggest passenger planes to pass side by side as they taxi to and from Terminal 2.

The extra pier will almost double the number of aircraft that can operate from the new super terminal while offering passengers more space while they wait.

Both projects are being delivered innovatively to make sure the airport can operate more effectively and help it reduce the carbon footprint of development.

Knutsford Guardian: Transformation work at Manchester Airport is well under wayTransformation work at Manchester Airport is well under way (Image: Manchester Airport)

The redesigned airfield significantly increases the number of planes that can operate on it with minimal need for extra concrete.

The changes will remove a bottleneck that meant the airfield could not be used to its full capacity.

They will also allow even the world’s biggest passengers planes, Airbus A380s, to pass side by side as they move around Terminal 2.

Meanwhile 150 pre-cast piles have already been successfully installed to support the pier and a number of steel structures have been put in place to allow different sized planes to be connected to the pier via air bridges.

The new pier will significantly increase the number of planes the terminal will be able to handle and let it accommodate Airbus A380s.

The project is being delivered by construction managers Mace and contractor Martifer using an innovative process known ‘kit of parts architecture’ for parts of the structure, which means they have actually been constructed away from the airport and then installed as whole units, rather than being built on-site necessitating a larger number of traffic movements.

It means the carbon emissions from the project can be significantly cut and also speeds up the building process while minimising disruption on the airfield.

Taken together the two developments will mean Manchester Airport can expand its offering to passengers in the north.

It already offers more than 200 destinations and the extra capacity and space for more modern planes will let it increase that number.

Jill Fraser, transformation programme delivery director, said: “These are significant developments in the Manchester Airport Transformation Programme.

“The changes to the taxiway unlock the airfield’s potential while the pier will allow us to accommodate the extra aircraft.

“For a few months now most of the work on the pier has been happening underground, preparing the way for installing this complex structure.

“Now we’re seeing the first visible signs of what’s about to be built and it’s really exciting.

“We’ve worked closely with Mace and Martifer to make sure this is delivered in such a way as to cut delivery times, minimise disruption and decrease the carbon footprint of the project at the same time.

“We’re looking forward to seeing all the progress that will follow over the coming months before it is completed next year.”

The pier is the most significant new structure being built in the second and final phase of the airport’s £1.3bn Transformation Programme (MAN-TP), first announced in 2015 with a 10-year vision to revolutionise the passenger experience at the UK’s global gateway in the north.

More than 500 jobs are being created during the construction phase of the project – which is forecasted to generate up to 16,400 jobs by 2040, according to independent analysis.

The new pier will mirror Terminal 2’s Pier 1, which opened in 2021, and will provide 13 new spacious boarding gates and flexible aircraft stands for next-generation aircraft.

The first phase saw Terminal 2 more than double in size, with the new facility having received positive feedback from passengers and airlines since opening in the summer of 2021.

The second phase will see the original building upgraded with a second security hall and a new-look, extended departure lounge, along with reconfigurations of the airfield to make operations more efficient.

Upon completion in 2025, more than 70 per cent of all passengers will use the expanded Terminal 2, which will also boast 27 new shops, bars and restaurants, including a high street style shopping area, a champagne bar and a food hall.