Manchester Airport boss Ken O’Toole has responded to new claims by a Heathrow official that London airport expansion is vital if a Northern Powerhouse economy is to succeed. On 25th June the Manchester Evening News reported on Heathrow executive John Holland Kaye claiming that without another Heathrow runway, Northern businesses could loss up to £710m as other ‘unrestrained’ international hubs would attract trade away from the UK. O’ Toole responded by saying that Manchester Airport is a major transport hub in its own right and able to cope with more international traffic.


More Manchester Airport Expansion?

O’Toole has cited recent Manchester Airport expansion as proof that the north can cope with more international traffic without having to rely on flights coming via London.

“The strength of Manchester Airport’s catchment area was demonstrated as recently as last week when Hainan Airlines’ direct service to Beijing was launched, giving the North its first ever non-stop flight to mainland China.”

“With 22m people living within 2 hours drive of Manchester Airport and spare capacity on our two existing runways, there is ample scope to grow our route network further and drive a re-energised Northern economy by attracting yet more long-haul services to key global markets.”


What This Means for the Manchester Airport Passenger

As well as being a boost to the economy, these Manchester Airport proposals could translate into more choice, and consequently better prices, for the Northern traveller. In addition to an increase in flights, further Manchester Airport expansion could also translate into more Manchester Airport parking provision, potentially cutting down another cost associated with travel. With Manchester Airport parking already on the increase thanks to more provider and more competitive prices, any further moves in this direction can only be good news for Manchester Airport passengers.


Can a Northern Powerhouse Rely on Manchester Airport?

With O’Toole’s affirmations comes a certain amount of reassurance. Whatever decision is made about future London runways, an expanding Manchester Airport, along with potential development of parking at Manchester Airport, could only help a future Northern Powerhouse economy. With increased access to international markets as well as an increase in passenger numbers, Manchester Airport could provide a firm footing for the northern economy with or with London airport expansion.