On Tuesday we were invited to visit the brand new Terminal 2 extension at Manchester Airport.
Completed during 2020, the terminal had sat empty. Manchester Airport had been waiting for passenger numbers to pick up before opening the terminal in July.
Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines, Etihad, Brussels Airlines, Eurowings, Aegean, Air Baltic, Ethiopian, Jet2 and TUI are all operating flights from the new terminal now – quite a varied group.
The expansion of Terminal 2 is part of a £1 billion transformation program that will see the old part of Terminal 2 refurbished and Terminal 1 completely demolished. When T1 is gone Manchester Airport will consolidate completely around T2, with the new half offering a 150% capacity boost versus the old half.
The extension looks very smart, although only about 1/3 of it is currently in use by the airlines:
Here is the connection to the old terminal:
The whole building feels very open, with check-in staff located at little island desks around the baggage drop area.
10 new security lanes also make for improved boarding with the latest body scanners – although not the latest 3D luggage scanners, yet. Whilst Manchester has a reputation for slightly chaotic security it looked very orderly and fast when we visited. We were asked to use a PR picture for privacy reasons.
Of course you are sent through Duty Free first, although the walk isn’t particularly long here:
I was surprised to see different signange from the ‘yellow for departures, purple for connections’ signage you see at Heathrow as I had always assumed this was a British standard. You’ll be pleased to know that the slightly depressed public announcement voice from Heathrow Terminal 5 is being used!
Once airside you can find a whole raft of new retail outlets and restaurants, including a JD Sports:
The centrepiece of the terminal is this atrium with escalators that take you up to several restaurants and the two new lounges on the first floor:
The colour of the ceiling panels is changable. It didn’t look quite so purple in real life!
One of the restaurants upstairs is the Amber Alehouse Manchester brand Seven Bro7hers Brewing Company:
We made a quick pitstop here to try some of their craft beers, including a watermelon and cornflake beer (both very delicious):
There are two more restaurants on this floor, with one still to open, as well as the two brand new lounges which we will cover in two separate articles.
The Escape Lounge is already open and is accessible with Priority Pass. The more premium 1903 Lounge is currently open for select Virgin Atlantic flights only. It is due to open fully from September.
Virgin Atlantic will have its own dedicated Clubhouse lounge but the project has been paused until passengers numbers pick up enough to justify it.
On the ground floor there are more retail outlets with a number of local Manchester brands in addition to the usual Pret, WH Smith etc:
A range of seating areas are available for anyone without lounge access, including bar stools, benches, sofas etc. The airport has made an effort not to just put row upon row of airport seating into the terminal.
The terminal also has its own immigration area and half a dozen new luggage belts.
The new Terminal 2 extension at Manchester Airport is a big upgrade for anyone travelling through the airport. It’s great to see Manchester Airport with an excellent modern building that puts customer needs first.
The new Terminal 2 is a great alternative whilst PremiAir, the ‘pay to use’ VIP terminal which we strongly recommend remains closed until next year.
Stay tuned for two further articles where we will look at the two new lounges in greater detail.