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Old 11th Nov 2014, 08:23
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The "White" Elephant In The Room !

So it's not just Santa Claus that's coming to town !

Rejoice, put up the bunting The Davies Commission is on its way bloody last !

Will they show Davies a rather large shiny airport, The Airport City proposal AND the considerable investment in a transport network that supposedly based on the airports own mantra could support 22m people

........or some pamphlets for what may emerge at STN in 30 years !

It's one thing keeping the dream of Aussie investors on side, quite another if you are so hamstrung by the weight of that expectation it causes you to miss a golden opportunity in your own back yard !

Since Davies started gathering evidence and indeed since STN was purchased a dilemma has emerged.

This synopsis is taken from another well respected forum !

-Saudi Airlines increases Jeddah to 4 weekly from 9th November.
-Pakistan Airlines increases Islamabad from 4 to 5 weekly from March*.
-Virgin Atlantic introduces daily Atlanta on A330-300 from March
-Delta introduces daily New York JFK on B757 from June.
-Thomas Cook introduces 3 weekly New York JFK on A330-300 from May*.
-Thomas Cook also introduces 2 weekly Miami on A330-200 from May.
-Air Canada increases season of Toronto.
-Thomson to increase Montego Bay from 2 to 4 weekly on B787 from May
-Jet2 to introduce Air Asia A330-300 on Manchester routes
-Cathay Pacific introduce 4 weekly Hong Kong from December on B77W.
-Turkish Airlines use much larger A330 on selected flights over the winter.

Boston and LA with Thomas Cook also appear nailed on !
IcelandAir Increasing

China beckons......

It's an impressive list

Here is the one for Stansted over the same timeframe !

.....oh dear !

Fabulous loco airport for London but sadly little interest in long haul.

Despite the performance of Manchester, to say the management are somewhat sheepish about proclaiming this success would be an understatement, why ?

Where is the tub thumping, setting the agenda, the strategy ?

Where are OUR presentations to Chambers of Commerce in the North Midlands, Humberside , South Yorkshire, and dare I say it Lancashire !
Where is our media representation to regional editors, radio. etc

I'm sure we are all heartily sick of the Heathrow Adverts proclaiming it "could" connect all points of the UK, with a new runway, very true it possibly could but MY GOD Manchester does that NOW but the silence is deafening .......Inverness, Aberdeen, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Belfast IOM, Norwich, Southampton, Exeter, Newquay, Channel Islands.

What on earth is the rationale behind this reticence ? PR to the MEN is cosy but its hardly setting the national agenda. Any other organisation would be hammering home these messages across there perceived demographic catchment area, .......yes still its 22m people and 90 minutes...... "lest of course we forget". IF they believe it themselves they need to start shouting not sqeaking !

And yes access for 22m people is a "national not a regional issue", it should be communicated as such in a professional coherent manner !

Oh if only Gil Thompson was here, can you imagine ripping into Davies and his Civil Service sidekick (remember him), and would the good members of the Lancashire Chamber of Commerce have got off so lightly in their support of Heathrow, I really doubt it.

Maybe MAG is embarrassed at all this expansion "up North" instead of "darn South" ? Lets be honest maybe its made things a bit awkward.

There should be a real opportunity with Davies to suggest that if LHR RW3 does not go through, its not all bad news, airlines by choice OR constraint are looking outside the M25 , BUT instead of the focus being on Manchester which is where the expansion is clearly happening I suspect there will of course be mandatory lip service to STN, we would not want to upset Crocodile Dundee and his mates would we..... therein lies the problem, dilution and distraction !

"whisper it ...don't say anything, we've got the expansion, its just at the wrong bloody airport...."

AND lo and behold why has Davies "suddenly" come North, has he been prodded by Osbourne maybe ?

With the sudden emergence of Devo Manc etc on the national agenda, and what has to be said some great publicity, maybe the airport will also get on-board, but somehow I doubt it.

The airport is bursting at the seems but investment in infrastructure is sadly in as much short supply as it's national profile.

"......Strewth Cobber, you want how much , sorry mate its not bloody Stansted ....."

Meanwhile contrast this with the City of Manchester which is boom town, another circa 30 storey scrapper announced yesterday, I think that's about 8 now, the largest housing investment in Europe taking place in East Manchester, Middle Eastern and Chinese investment pouring in.

hmmmmm.... a taste of what might have been had our backers been focused purely on "Our Airport" without the continuing distraction of others !

Last edited by Bagso; 11th Nov 2014 at 11:52.
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Old 11th Nov 2014, 08:37
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unfortunately got to second @bermudatriangle's comments

fly rarely through MAN, and hadn't done so for a number of years, last week Tuesday arrival in MAN T1 was reasonable, needing to wait for stand however despite punctual arrival, and facing a 25mins border queue (queue stretching beyond the queuing system and e-gates out of order).

Then Thursday late evening departure, lights in T1 appeared dimmed (or is it always rather dark in there), and same experience at security, a long queue, which hardly moved. Took 20mins to get through. Followed by running a completely unneeded loop through duty free, trying to get to some sort of window. Departed from a gate in basement of Gates 1-15 building, reached via a staircase leading out onto the tarmac, and some sort of walled/covered walkway brings you into a very provisional looking, but clearly in use for some time, additional (and chilly) departure gate area.

Not sure what to make of these my impressions of MAN, but not blown off my feet.
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Old 11th Nov 2014, 08:54
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A read back through the last few hundred pages would probably answer the questions however:

Border control is the Home Office's area (whatever they are calling themselves these days) - length of queue is usually directly related to how many staff they choose to put out. I imagine the airport would be delighted if they upped the numbers, but especially in these times of austerity (unless we are talking Heathrow when the Olympics are on) can't see it happening.

Not a big fan if the shopping walk in T1 myself, but it's hardly a MAN exclusive - increasing numbers of airports do it. They need to find revenue from somewhere since the locos screwed them into the ground on passenger fees.

Sounds like you departed from the bussing gates - went from there myself a couple of months back. Not particularly salubrious I agree, but not much different to most airports who use bussing.

To misquote Basil Fawlty: "What were you expecting from a Manchester Airport terminal window? Sydney Opera House? The Hanging Gardens of Babylon? Herds of wildebeest surging majestically across the plain?"
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Old 11th Nov 2014, 09:11
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@curious pax

no questions, just observations
Does the Home Office also require the waiting space to be too small for the crowds, and require the ceiling to be rather low, making the waiting experience truly welcoming (with the odd crisps bag and paper tissue lying around)?

the basement thing was a single gate, and we walked to aircraft through a door opening onto the tarmac.

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Old 11th Nov 2014, 09:38
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insuindi's comments help to highlight a problem for MAN. You've only to read some of the reviews on Skytrax to realise that not everyone is delighted with their experience of MAN. And while I accept that passengers with a complaint are more likely to post reviews than those with a decent , or at least acceptable, airport experience, the poor ratings - too many 0/10 - must be a cause for concern. It could also be argued that some folk can't be bothered to complain but will simply vote with their next flight ticket and use another airport.

That said, it would be wrong to write off MAN as not fit for purpose in my view. It may not be 5* but is probably ok for a good part of the time. However, it struggles at peak times of the day and at school holiday periods or late at night in arrivals when staff numbers are reduced. The structure within T1 and T3 is far from ideal, and likewise the lay-out of taxiways.

We hear there are plans afoot to build a new terminal to replace T1 and T3 which many would say was much needed and overdue. However, it would seem to me that MAG has a pretty big headache when it comes to planning for growth at MAN. There is the logistical nightmare of retaining existing operations let alone allowing for short term growth until new facilities are fully operational. Then build in the uncertainty regarding expansion of LHR and what it would mean for MAN. If a third runway is built in 8, 9, or 10 years time, would MAN still grow but at a slower rate than it would otherwise? Would a surge in connecting flights from other regional airports to LHR significantly affect MAN, and would some of our long haul services be replaced by more shuttles to LHR to fill up all those extra seats from the additional slots that would be available at London? And what would happen at MAN if the new runway was at LGW, or isn't built at all? Frankly, I haven't the faintest idea but I would suggest that this, together with the infrastructure issue, make planning for expected growth at MAN an extremely tricky exercise.

Is it just possible, and being devil's advocate here, that MAN may prefer to go for very modest or selective growth in the short term, even at the risk of perhaps losing some opportunities, until things become a little clearer? STN and LTN have been growing at over 10% recently. Could MAN really cope with that level of increase unless by some miracle it all happened at a time of the day when departures and arrivals were less busy? What short term, and not too expensive measures given the longer term investment required, could be taken to improve the present situation and handle extra activity in the terminals?

There are opportunities but certainly challenges for MAN and I'm sure we hope management will show sound judgement and come up with appropriate solutions.

Last edited by MANFOD; 11th Nov 2014 at 10:57.
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Old 11th Nov 2014, 15:32
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Summer 2015 Outlook

We need to be cautious about getting ahead of ourselves here. I will be watching the next few weeks very carefully with a view to determining MAN's prospects for 2015. As always, we need to assess future traffic trends objectively and with balance. Maintain that distinction between what we would like to see and what we actually expect to see.

Over the next three months, airlines can be expected to provide many more clues about the final shape of their Summer 2015 programmes. We know of some positive changes (as highlighted by Bagso), but there remains a need for big picture perspective. There are negatives in the mix too. Including one thumper.

Known positives at this point include: Cathay Pacific MAN-HKG; EasyJet ninth based frame; Virgin / Delta offering one net additional daily transatlantic; Thomas Cook increases on US and charter routes; some growth from Ryanair [around 10%?]. Jet2 is looking good for modest growth with the A333 replacing some B752 rotations and absorption of the former BLK programme. Indications suggest positive capacity tweaks from SVA, PIA, FIN, ICE, ROU. My understanding of the THY A330 rotations is that these are a short term adjustment relating to Hajj passengers returning home.

But we must set all this against this certain known negatives. Substantial consolidation by Monarch Airlines is the elephant in the room. The final version of their S15 programme is the one I'm most anxious to see. I note a suggestion that MAN is set to lose four based frames (I sincerely hope this is not so). Definitely leaving is the based A332 (capacity equivalent to 2 x A320). The larger B752 is also gone. Charters are gone. Long-haul is gone. What will the MAN fleet look like in S15? Eight or nine A320/A321? If the consolidation comes in at the more severe end of projections, the Monarch deficit could alone offset all the gains listed by Bagso. Of course, MON is switching some former charter routes to scheduled. The TCX and EXS short-haul enhancements are likely linked to MON's retrenchment also. Has TCX's Caribbean programme been scaled back as the US offering grows? I also await with interest TOM's final draft for S2015.

Elsewhere, the AWE service to CLT is not returning. Libyan is gone (but was absent for much of S14 as well). EgyptAir is gone … could it return? Aer Lingus Regional has withdrawn from MAN-SNN in response to the new daily RYR service.

FlyBe looks like a process of 'give and take'. AMS is added; a couple of domestic routes increase. But other services quietly fade away. I suspect that their S15 programme will be only marginally different from S14 in terms of overall seat capacity.

Press releases concerning S15 developments at MAN will make fascinating reading over the coming weeks. Will Hainan Airlines feature in there?

Early indications suggest that growth aspirations for S15 will be very challenging to meet. As EasyJet has already shown its hand, barring a major surprise announcement by Ryanair it is very difficult to presume 2015 a boom year. Whilst 22 million pax per annum is a very healthy base number to grow from, significant increases above this level will be a tough proposition to achieve in 2015. We can't presume party-time. Looking at the economy, there remain considerable challenges ahead although lower fuel prices will be a welcome positive for our beleaguered air carriers.

I take note of MANFOD's suggestion that MAN may be content to constrain near-term growth in passenger throughput. I presume the thinking here is perhaps to discourage rapid growth by RYR and EZY, the two entities driving the cited growth at STN and LTN? The problem I see for MAN in this respect is that RYR growth feeds the bottleneck T3 whilst the Monarch cutbacks in particular come out of under-utilised T2. For a short-term remedy, see our earlier discussion relating to T3 stands 56/57/58 which could service a further three Ryanair frames subject to suitable infrastructure upgrade. Inside T3, queues remain a pressing concern. Budget Ryanair pax will generally tolerate this … it comes with the territory. But perhaps the likes of KLM, AFR, AAL could be prevailed upon to switch terminals again at some stage? The extra capacity proposed by EZY / EXS / TCX at T1 do not appear to be of a scale to over-stress that terminal at this point. Queues will always be an issue at peak times regardless.

I would actually be very concerned if MAN were to discourage near-term growth by RYR as they are amongst the few reliable growth-streams out there at this time. There will be more Monarch, FlyNas and EgyptAir-shaped roadbumps down the line, so MAG must attract new business wherever it is on offer and focus their energies on managing the terminal distribution which results. Having said that, my impression is that projected growth levels from RYR and EZY will not represent a significant new headache for MAG in the 2015 timeframe at least.

Bottom line: the outlook for 2015 is mixed. Some good, some bad. Growth must be earned, not taken for granted. Competition for any prospective new business will be cutthroat (see BHX / Vueling). MAG will need to fight it's corner, not wait for airlines to roll up with new business. Complacency will be punished in this environment, although I suspect that there is little complacency about within the business itself.

That's it. Flame away! Feedback and discussion welcomed. I'll take all the stuff about me being a miserable git / total moron for granted, so try to focus responses on the outlook for MAN's airline customer base. :-)
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Old 11th Nov 2014, 15:39
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Substantial consolidation by Monarch Airlines is the elephant in the room. The final version of their S15 programme is the one I'm most anxious to see. I note a suggestion that MAN is set to lose four based frames (I sincerely hope this is not so). Definitely leaving is the based A332 (capacity equivalent to 2 x A320). The larger B752 is also gone. Charters are gone. Long-haul is gone. What will the MAN fleet look like in S15? Eight or nine A320/A321?
Well 8 aircraft are going (well 10 but 2 new ones on the way). EMA loses both aircraft and we lose Our 757 and A330, but so does LGW, So LGW has lost 3 already and we've lost two and EMA has lost both, so I think it'll only be 1 less A320/321 as if there are route cutbacks surely BHX or LTN will lose an aircraft.
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Old 11th Nov 2014, 17:01
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Press releases concerning S15 developments at MAN will make fascinating reading over the coming weeks. Will Hainan Airlines feature in there?

What do you mean by this? Iv got a growing feeling that it will be soonly announced... (She-on-a-pole)
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Old 11th Nov 2014, 17:22
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Plenty of coverage in the M.E.N today

Manchester Airport boss slams potential cost to taxpayer of making Heathrow or Gatwick bigger - Manchester Evening News
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Old 11th Nov 2014, 18:33
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Some interesting stuff in that MEN write-up, MANFOD. Thanks for the link. When you stop to think about it … GBP 7.8 BILLION for one new runway at LGW (and a forecast that it will cost more!). The streets of London may not be paved with gold, but to cost that much the runways must be. One more LHR runway … GBP 17 BILLION and rising. These figures must include buying and demolishing Sussex and Middlesex respectively. How much did MAN's 23L/05R cost again? What an absolute bargain! At the end of the day, a runway is a relatively simple project from a construction point of view … those stellar sums must relate to land acquisition costs and lining the pockets of several hundred lawyers. With those price-tags, would either runway ever truly justify its cost? Because there are alternatives however sub-optimal they might be.

On a lighter note, does anyone know if Andrew Cowan is OK? That photographer could've warned him he was about to get squashed by a Dash 8.

sarah19981 … Don't take too much notice of SHE-on-a-Pole. I despatch her to work the clubs each night. I rely on her immoral earnings to keep me in champagne and lobsters. But she knows even less than me about planes!
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Old 11th Nov 2014, 18:38
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If anybody is thinking of writing essays instead of something interesting - forget it. Some of the stuff is getting very long winded, and boring, and its time for some brevity.
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Old 11th Nov 2014, 18:46
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Manchester Airport boss slams potential cost to taxpayer of making Heathrow or Gatwick bigger - Manchester Evening News

yes you stole my thunder MANFOD....praise be !


But please not just to the MEN !

Open letter to all Northern based MPs, George O !
All Newspapers
All Radio....5 Live etc...Still 20 minutes by car ! "On The Money"
Institute Of Directors
NEW Statesman
The Spectator
et al

BUT hey it's a start....

Definitely time to dig out my copy of The Halleluah Chorus !

The footer also references the "Heathrow Poster Campaign", as it's a family forum I can't repeat what I have seen spray painted over one located near the Birkenhead Tunnel BUT the utter fury which may be witnessed by some on here as misguided is there for all to see. (...and no it wasn't me Skip)
I have more pressing matters.

Apparently many have been defaced in across Yorkshire by the "Sons Of Boycott" as well, so the love for all things Heathrow is not exactly shared by the unwashed populus "Up North" who see it as more money being spent on the South !

There also appears to be a vitriolic twitter campaign.

In another MEN scoop Flybe were vocal about interlining thru Manchester, slight problem they also signed a codeshare to punt all there US passengers thru Dublin with Aer Lingus !

Una Due Tfc ...try this...last numeral was clipped

And for anybody wishing to vent comments to Mr Davies.....see you there (subject to work)

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Old 11th Nov 2014, 18:57
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Maybe it's because I'm trying to access that last link from outside the UK Bagso but It won't work for me, sounds interesting though
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Old 11th Nov 2014, 22:02
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Well I appreciated your assessment of MAN's prospects for S2015 Shed with its balanced analysis of the positive and negative aspects of what we know or can deduce. And I enjoy Bagso's contributions. It's disappointing if short, personal and sometimes rather abusive posts are tolerated on here but detailed debate is not.

In terms of my devil's advocate comment that MAN may prefer modest growth, I was thinking more of the next few years as being short term rather than just next summer in the light of significant infrastructure changes that may be planned. That doesn't mean of course that there isn't room for one or two carriers to expand faster in the mix as some airlines are likely to be flat or show low growth while almost inevitably, some - like Monarch - will contract. You are right of course; airlines and airports are highly competitive and I'm sure the last thing MAN would want is for Easyjet or Ryanair to re-establish a stronger presence at say Liverpool because they felt expansion at MAN wasn't being encouraged.

Incidentally, the latest ACL report for MAN for the start of winter shows seats available as 3% higher than at the start of last winter and 4.9% more than at the end of last winter.
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Old 11th Nov 2014, 22:19
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Not sure this will go down well with a few posters but.....

MAN management seem to spend more time blowing sh*t in the media and pushing the blame down south for just about anything to cover up in reality what are their failures and inability to attract certain long haul carriers. This nonsense if we keep LHR at capacity everybody will come to MAN is rubbish.

MAN who want to be a "hub" in the UK have major infrastructure and operational problems as an airport and management don't seem to be doing much about it except having the media on speed dial to avoid the real problem. This the very same airport who want to attract major carriers...

Passed through recently and not impressed at all, the experience I had would be expected at places such as BRS and EDI but not an airport like MAN.

BTW - Before a certain poster points out to what services have being accounted in the last few months, no need fully aware and some good ones in there!

LHR will get another runway in future, its very simple and putting it on the long finger will benefit nobody especially the UK collectively. I'm sure if STN was in the running for a new runway, MAG wouldn't give a toss about MAN and how it would affect it.
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Old 11th Nov 2014, 22:33
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1) LHR needs a third and fourth runway.
2) Good that MAN is best airport in UK, what about outside UK....not so good.
3) Forget the 4m pax travelling to LHR, they are BA's. What about the other tranfer pax to DUB, FRA, CDG etc, don't hear much moaning here.
4) Focus on MAN, make it a better P2P and transit airport.

MAN management needs to look at it's own infrastructure, as far as I can see there is zero planning for growth. MAN wants to play in the big leagues, so do something about it, give the airlines an airport they want to use.
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Old 11th Nov 2014, 22:44
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MAN is only running at 60% capacity ! Biggest moan I see is passport control, but that is run by Border Force and I am sure MAN puts pressure on them to do a better job / have more staff, but its a bit beyond their control TBH.

I'm quite a seasoned and regular traveller, always starting and ending trips at MAN and quite frankly I rarely encounter any issues and enjoy the experience...maybe my standards are not high enough...or maybe its not as bad as folk make out !
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Old 11th Nov 2014, 23:26
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there is plenty of planning for expansion and it will be announced at the right time

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Old 12th Nov 2014, 08:28
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Flybe opening Bournemouth base and restarting double daily Manchester flights:

Flybe to open new bases despite half-year losses -

Nothing yet with Hainan despite another announcement of European expansion:

Hainan Airlines Expands Europe Service from July 2015 | Airline Route
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Old 12th Nov 2014, 08:35
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"This nonsense if we keep LHR at capacity everybody will come to MAN is rubbish"

Jamie2k9: I can't say there has been any serious suggestion this would happen. However, that doesn't mean that MAN might not benefit to some degree compared to an outcome where LHR did have a third runway. Surely, MAN (and MAG) have a responsibility to their employees, their shareholders and lenders to do and shout for what they believe to be in the best interests of the airport. They can't afford to take the so called moral high ground and claim they want what others (notably LHR management and some business organisations) may consider to be best for the UK as a whole. Even then, some would contend that expansion at LHR in a wider context is not in the best interests of the UK as a whole anyway, not least because it would be yet another expensive infrastructure project in the S.E.

I do tend to agree with you though that MAN has infrastructure and operational issues that need to be addressed.

Ian, I've no doubt MAN will announce their plans for growth "at the right time" but if, as rumoured, it involves major construction of a new Terminal, it will be how they cover the transition and growth in the meantime that will be of particular interest. Airlines and passengers tend to have limited patience but I'm sure MAN will work with all its partners to try and ensure the work is completed with as little disruption as possible to ongoing operations. But it will be no easy task.

Last edited by MANFOD; 12th Nov 2014 at 15:13.
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