Travel with Katie Butler: Manchester Airport transformation

After an extraordinary year in 2022 with a backlog of holidaymakers wanting to get overseas, we did not expect January 2023 could be any better than the previous year. However, we are delighted that January 2023 was a record breaking month for Total Travel and we had our best month ever for new holiday bookings in almost 10 years of trading. We were not alone as agencies around the region also reported a fantastic start to the year.
Manchester Airport Group announces £440m investment in final phase of £1.3bn transformation. Photo: AdobeStockManchester Airport Group announces £440m investment in final phase of £1.3bn transformation. Photo: AdobeStock
Manchester Airport Group announces £440m investment in final phase of £1.3bn transformation. Photo: AdobeStock

Katie Butler writes: It absolutely would appear that industry- wide it has been an excellent start to the year as last week we also heard that Jet2 had upgraded its profit forecast. Jet2 plc says that customer confidence has boosted performance, with the company now forecasting it will achieve profits of up to £385 million, previous market forecast for Jet2's year ending March 2023 had been around £317 million. Easyjet holidays also announced positive news reporting an increase of 161 per cent year on year in customers and over 60 per cent of its summer programme sold, outstripping previous projections.

In addition to extremely positive data coming from the airlines and tour operators, Manchester Airport has revealed details of further investment that will “transform the passenger experience”. The investment is the final phase of the airports £1.3 billion transformation programme which has seen Terminal 2 more than double in size. In addition to allowing for more shops, bars and restaurants, the investment will include upgrades to the airfield as well as check-in and baggage reclaim. The work is expected to be completed by 2025 and once completed will see the closure of T erminal 1, 63 years after it was opened by the Duke of Edinburgh.

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Of course it wouldn't be a travel update without something happening across the airports and indeed Border Force staff have announced dates of another strike. The Public and Commercial Service (PCS) union has announced Civil Service industrial action planned for the first day of February and is expected to continue until 7am on February 2 . The proposed strike action will impact international arrivals at all UK air and maritime ports as well as those travelling to the UK from UK border controls in Calais. At time of writing this is proposed and we hope incoming travel will not be too severely disrupted if it does go ahead.

What is booking?

As we are now in February it brings us to the start of late deal holidays for April and May and certainly the idea of getting away early summer is appealing to many, with the month of May the favou rite month for our customers last week with many bookings for Spain, Greece and Turkey, the latter being our most popular destination. Last minute holidays also remained popular with the preferred choice of Tenerife and Gran Canaria. Holidays are bookable right up to October 2024 and plenty of you are pre-planning already and ensuring you bag that much loved ‘free child place’. A real mixed bag last week.

After an exhausting but brilliant January we are looking forward to February. 2023 was predicted to bring travel demand back to pre-covid levels and it certainly looks like the predictions could well be on target.