80th Birthday for Manchester Airport

In 1938, Ringway Airport officially opened to the public with its first scheduled flight operated by KLM to Amsterdam. In its first year the airport handled 7,600 passengers, a number that many of today’s airport workers would consider a normal morning shift.

Used as an RAF base during World War II, this International hub now called Manchester Airport is celebrating its 80th Birthday. The Northern gateway to the world is now the third busiest airport in the UK handling 27.8 million passengers in 2017.

80th Birthday Manchester Airport


Now, an 80th Anniversary usually involves diamonds and pearls, so does that mean passengers travelling through the airport can look forward to these fine gifts? No? Well, it was worth a try.

To mark the 80th year of service, the airport is hosting an array of events. One of the celebratory events will entail the opening of archives where masses of interesting artefacts will be resurrected from over the decades and made into a special exhibition. Taking place at the Runway Visitor Park, amongst the items on display will be antique luggage scales and vintage airline memorabilia. Oh, and it’s free of charge. Keep your eyes peeled for the likes of Dan Air, BOAC, and maybe a Pan Am or two. Those are just a few of the classic airlines that you may recognise. I don’t know about you, but we are looking forward to seeing the old air hostess uniforms. They really did do things better in the 60s, didn’t they?

Also making an appearance at the Visitor Park is the Aviation and Transport Festival. On 30th June and 1st July, fans will be able to view classic cars, aviation exhibits, and historic military vehicles.

Manchester Airport Viewing Park


Additionally, the airport will play a major role in the Manchester Day Parade on the 17th of June with interactive floats and masses of airport staff joining in with all the fun. Plus linking with the "Bee in the City" campaign, Manchester Airport will also reveal their giant bee sculpture as part of their “80 days around the world” theme.  

Hopewiser’s director, Barbara Good, has been a frequent flyer from Manchester Airport for many years now. Ahead of its anniversary she reminisces about the good old days when flying was an event in itself. After all, people used to associate flying attire with that of a cocktail party.

“I remember when Terminal 1 opened, and in the departures hall there were these huge glass chandeliers hanging from the ceiling. It was televised on the news. It was quite special to fly from Manchester Airport.

When you arrived from abroad, everyone’s suitcases were placed on side tables in arrivals with the Customs officers behind them. You had to go and reclaim your luggage and the officers asked what you had inside the case. If they were satisfied then a chalk mark was put on it and you could take it back, but if they weren’t then they made you open it there and then”.

Whilst the days of getting dressed up to fly may be somewhat diminished (we have the commercialisation of aviation to thank/curse for that), you can wander the days of yore at your leisure at the Manchester Airport 80th Birthday celebrations. Don’t forget to download our app, Proximity, to plan your journey to the events. It’s going to be a month to remember!