Ryanair return to base at Manchester Airport

By Patrick McLaughlin

Manchester holiday-makers will have an abundance of choice following budget airline Ryanair’s announcement it will set up a base – again – at Manchester Airport in October.

The Irish airline based itself at Manchester in 2009, but pulled out following a public spat surrounding the airport’s fees.

Yet the fractious relationship has been set aside in order to increase the choice of destination and, subsequently, passenger numbers.

Andrew Harrison, Managing Director of Manchester Airport, said: “We remain committed to boosting passenger numbers and giving our passengers a variety of destinations that they require for their business and leisure purposes.”

The announcement means Ryanair will operate 17 routes from Manchester, growing to 26 by summer 2012.

Ryanair claims the expansion will help sustain up to 2000 jobs in the airport and surrounding regions, with destinations including Italy, Spain and Germany.

As tour operators struggle in the current financial climate, the airport hopes to beat off competition for passengers from nearby airports like Liverpool and Leeds Bradford.

“The announcement is a continuing sign of the strength of the offer we have here at Manchester, over our rival airports,” added Mr Harrison.

And with a claim to invest £175m in the airport, Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary said: “Now Manchester consumers/visitors can beat the recession.”

Passengers at the airport saw the move as one which will help the airport and local economy thrive, highlighting Manchester’s appeal to those further afield.

Steve Andersen, 32, from Liverpool, said: “I usually use Manchester Airport rather than Liverpool [John Lennon] Airport as there is a lot more choice.

“This means I’ll be even more unlikely to use Liverpool Airport as I don’t mind travelling for the extra value and choice.”

Another passenger added: “I think it’s exciting for Manchester – it’s an international airport and companies like Ryanair help to reinforce that fact.”

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