Manchester airport has opened a multi-storey car park and a new 216m pier at Terminal 2 as part of its £1 billion transformation programme.

The new pier is equipped with 11 gates and airbridges and more than 1,400 seats. Manchester airport says it was built using more than 300 individual panes of glass to offer panoramic views of the airfield.

The first flights to depart today were operated by Tui Airways, but the airport says all airlines flying out of Terminal 2 will eventually use the pier.

Along with the pier, a new multi-storey car park that began construction in July 2017 has now opened.

The opening comes as Manchester airport continues to see passenger numbers grow thanks to the addition of new long-haul routes to destinations such as Addis Ababa and Seattle.

The next phase of the airport’s transformation programme is an extension to the existing Terminal 2, which will more than double in size. This is set to open in summer 2020 and will add 40 new food and beverage outlets and shops, with another 40 to follow when the existing building is fully refurbished and reopened in 2022. Additional piers are set to open in 2022 and 2024.

CEO Andrew Cowan said: “Today is a significant milestone for Manchester airport as we deliver the first phase of the biggest investment we have made in our 80-year history. We are delighted to wave off the first handful of flights from the new pier as we build up to bringing it into full operation in the days ahead.”

“Today is just the start,” he continued. “Over the coming years we will transform the airport for all of our customers, giving the North the world-class airport it deserves. The investment we are making and the range of destinations we connect to, in all corners of the world, underlines the vital role Manchester airport plays in creating jobs and driving growth across the North of England.

“Having first put a spade in the ground in July 2017, a huge amount of work has gone into getting our new pier and multi-storey car park ready to open today and I would like to thank all of our colleagues and delivery partners for their efforts.”

Peter Jones, operations leader for Laing O’Rourke, the company behind the construction of the airport’s expansion, added: “It is a significant achievement to have the pier, link bridge and multi-storey car park ready for airport guests within 18 months. The project’s design, construction methods and logistics were all planned digitally before construction on the edge of the live airfield began. Our digital engineering approach meant we, and our project partners, were able to work together efficiently, putting productive solutions in place to minimise disruption to passengers and staff, while delivering new facilities for Manchester airport on time. We are now looking ahead to the completion of the Terminal 2 extension which is due to be handed over to Manchester Airports Group next year.”

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