Photo caption: Manchester Airport managing director Chris Woodroofe. Image: MAG

New data shows Manchester Airport welcomed 1.7m passengers during February – which is 93% of the numbers handled in 2019.

Low-cost carriers had a particularly strong month with 865,000 passengers in February 2023, which is 99% of pre-pandemic levels.

Meanwhile long-haul markets are also recovering strongly with 320,000 passengers during February, which is 92% of pre-pandemic levels.

The most popular destination in February was Dubai, with more than 88,000 passengers travelling to the Middle East hub, either to enjoy a mini break there, or to connect onto other far-flung locations like Thailand, Australia and India.

Dublin, Amsterdam, Tenerife and Paris made up the rest of the top five.

Other popular destinations for February half-term breaks included Alicante, Lanzarote and Barcelona in Europe, while in long-haul markets Doha, Abu Dhabi, Orlando and New York also performed strongly.

A number of destinations have seen more passengers so far this year than pre-pandemic including Istanbul, Barbados, Tenerife, Lanzarote, Sharm-El-Sheikh, Doha, Dubai and Geneva – illustrating the pent-up demand for travel.

Summer season

The statistics come as the airport prepares for the start of its summer season in April. New systems have been put in place this year to ensure queuing times are kept below 15 minutes where possible. In February 96.4% of passengers got through security in 15 minutes or less.

Manchester Airport managing director Chris Woodroofe said: “It’s fantastic to see so many travellers choosing to fly through Manchester Airport and passenger numbers returning to normal shows how far we’ve come.

“It’s also interesting to see how the landscape has changed with more people looking to travel long-haul than previously. It confirms Manchester Airport’s role as the UK’s global gateway in the North – whether you’re flying to Europe or going further afield.”

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