A new aircraft pier opened today at Manchester airport as the first phase of a £1 billion redevelopment and expansion plan.

The first flights to depart from the 216m-long pier connected to Terminal 2 at the airport were both operated by Tui Airways and went to Funchal, Madeira, and Naples.

The pier, built in less than 18 months, is equipped with 11 gates and airbridges and more than 1,400 seats.

The next phase of the airport’s transformation will be an extension Terminal 2 which will see the building more than double in size by summer 2020 with more than 40 new food and drink outlets and shops, followed by a further 40 when the existing building is fully refurbished.

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Airport chief executive 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.

“What that means is our customers can start to enjoy the new facilities, at the same time as getting a taste of what to expect from the next stages of our £1 billion transformation.”

He added: “Today is just the start. 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.”

Tui Airways managing director Dawn Wilson added:“To operate the first flights from the new Pier One is a proud moment, and another first to add to the list of memories and history we have at Manchester.

“The transformation project is improving the overall holiday experience for thousands of our customers which is an ethos we live by; seamless service from the moment you begin your holiday journey.

“We look forward to continuing our relationship with Manchester and investing in the region through increased capacity, new routes, and basing new aircraft there, allowing more choice and flexibility for holidaymakers in the north-west.”

MoreImages and time-lapse video shows Manchester airport transformation

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