Manchester Airports £1bn Transformation Marks Six Months of Construction

23rd Feb 2018

The first major phase of the £1bn transformation of Manchester Airport was today completed, as the project marked the six-month milestone.

Two apprentices who have been recruited to the scheme tightened the final bolt on the steel framework; connecting one of the new airport piers to the Terminal Two extension for the first time.

Stunning footage showing how the building work has progressed since the launch of the scheme by The Secretary of State for Transport, the Rt Hon Chris Grayling MP in July 2017, was also released to mark the milestone.

Manchester Airport CEO, Andrew Cowan, joined Bryan Glass, Programme Director, from Laing O’Rourke and apprentices, Elektra Politis, 22, Denton and Holleeann Walker, 19, Beswick, who both gained employment on the programme with construction partner Laing O’Rourke in Autumn 2017.

They tightened the final steel bolt in the first new pier of the transformation programme, which is set to see Terminal Two grow by more than 140% and offer the latest innovations in travel. Passengers will be able to use the new pier from next summer.

Andrew Cowan said: “Today is one of the major milestones for our £1bn transformation programme, which is gathering pace at a rapid rate.

“As you can see from Elektra and Holleeann being here today, not only are we building an airport for the future, but we are creating jobs and acting as an economic stimulus for the region and beyond.

“Through the delivery of the transformation we will have a world class airport the whole of the North can be proud of, and one that will attract new airlines and routes so that we can continue to play economic provider by linking the North to key investment and trade opportunities across the globe.”

Bryan Glass said: “We’re delighted with the progress we have made on site so far. Today marks the pier and the pier link building coming together for the first time, which is a huge milestone for the team. In a little over a year, passengers will be taking off and landing from this building and it’s from up here you get a real sense of just how large the project is.

“Having spent a few months demolishing, piling and laying foundations, we’ve recently started on the terminal extension superstructure and the new multi storey car park. Around 90% of the multi storey car park will be built using our innovative offsite construction methodology, enabling us to build faster, more safely and to a higher quality.

“I’m also delighted that the project is having such a positive effect on the local community, with 52% of our workforce coming from the local area and with apprentices like Holleeann and Elektra starting out their careers with us on this prestigious project.”

After being officially launched by the Secretary of State the transformation quickly delivered a new gate lounge which seats 650 people and has been used by airlines including Virgin Atlantic and TUI.
With the demolition works now largely complete and foundations laid, focus is now shifting to the construction of the new Terminal Two extension and multi storey car park, with four tower cranes erected to aid the process, and two more to be installed before the end of March, creating a dramatic skyline to the construction site.

The project ended 2017 by launching a pre-employment programme in partnership with Laing O’Rourke and the airport’s onsite education academy, to find and train the workforce of the future to work on one of the largest construction projects the North has seen. The first cohort in December saw three people gain placements with Laing O’Rourke, and additional cohorts will follow in their footsteps as the project continues.
As part of Laing O’Rourke’s commitment to investing in future talent, 150 apprenticeships will be created or sustained during the project. One of the apprentices recruited specifically for the project, Holleeann Walker, said: “I am absolutely delighted to be working on such a high profile, worthwhile project that will transform transport infrastructure here in the North West.

“Since coming onto the programme I have learnt so much and developed many skills that will set me in good stead for the remainder of my working life.

“I hadn’t really considered construction before applying for the apprenticeship, but I have always been quite creative with my hands and so I decided that joinery would be a good option. I’m really enjoying it and I’m learning so much. It’s a huge project and my dad actually did the landscaping around Terminal Two when it was first built, so it is a real coincidence that I am starting out my career at the airport too.”

As the scheme continues the Manchester Airport Transformation Programme will see many more milestones come to fruition including the full handover of the first pier, the construction of the second, changes to the highways and Terminal Two forecourt and the creation of a new baggage hall to service the vast new Terminal Two extension. By 2019 passengers will start to experience the new facilities first hand with the opening of the first pier.