Manchester Airport, formerly Ringway Airport, is an international airport. With more than 21 million passengers per year is the Manchester Airport - next to London - the largest airport of the United Kingdom. With courtesy of the Press Office of the Manchester Airport there is available the history of the airport, once published as "First and Foremost - In Celebration Of Fifty Years Of Manchester Airport" as full text with pictures. The entire book can be downloaded as a PDF document, too.
FIRST AND FOREMOST
IN CELEBRATION OF FIFTY YEARS OF MANCHESTER AIRPORT
It is fitting in this, the fiftieth year of Manchester Airport and the year in which we look forward to the greatest developments in its history, that we have a chance to look back on our past.
In less than a lifetime, a few farmers' fields in the parish of Ringway have become the site of a major commercial and economic organisation. Today it benefits not just the people of Manchester and the North West,
but the North as a whole.
The growth and development of Manchester Airport into a major international airport, currently ranking as the 18th busiest in Europe, has taken place against a backdrop of difficulties and, at times, adversity from those who have not had the same visionary thoughts as Manchester's city fathers.
Steve McDonald has succeeded in bringing together the numerous elements of the airport's history to produce a book which is of interest to both the aviation historian and layman alike. It has been a delicate balancing act, producing enough technical information for the specialist without losing the interest of the non-specialist.
The result stands to surpass the original edition of First and Foremost which, long out of print,
is still much sought after.
Gil Thompson, OBE Chief Executive, Manchester Airport pic October, 1988
In addition to being a place of excitement and dreams for many, an airport is a complex place involving many people, both directly and indirectly For employer and employee, passenger and friend, aircraft enthusiast and layman, an airport has a certain unique attraction. As Ringway, Manchester Airport opened in 1938 with a handful of employees and few passengers. It was, and is, the first and foremost municipally-owned airport in the country. Today, the same site (albeit enlarged) is occupied by over 200 companies, with the airport
operating company alone employing some 1,500 people. An airport is about people, and attempting to compile a history taking into account all the companies, air services, aircraft types and buildings involved is near impossible. Please forgive me for those not included. While continuing the format of the first edition of First and Foremost, I have revised the text and completely replaced the pictorial content. Many pictures (old and new) appear in print for the first time. Thanks are due especially to Elaine for putting up with me burning the midnight oil so often, and Chris Walkden, who just managed to retain his sense of humour.
Acknowlegements are due, for help, advice and permission to use photographs to:
Barry Abraham ■ Airviews- Mike Armstrong -S.E. Aspinall ■ British Aerospace - British Airways Norman Cairns ■ Civil Aviation Authority ■ Daily Express ■ P.J. Davies ■ George Ditchfield Flight International ■ Gordon Goodall ■ Reg Hodges ■ Harry Holmes • Jack Houraghan Imperial War Museum ■ George Jenks- Les Jones -J.G. Lambert - Bernard Lawson - Tom Lewis London Express News & Features • Manchester Airport PLC ■ Manchester Central Library Manchester Evening News ■ Terry McDonald ■ Don Moores ■ Museum of Army Flying Hubert Parrish ■ Bill Pickles - Bill Prendegast ■ Alan Schoef ield ■ Derek Starr - Colin Schoef ield
Stan Thirwall ■ Bob Thorpe.
Finally, many thanks for the invaluable help from Brian Robinson and his team at the Airport Archive, Olive, Patsy and Viv (and their coffee machine).
Steve McDonald October 1988
The air age proper came to the City of Manchester on 28th April, 1910, when Louis Paulhan landed his Farman biplane in a field at Burnage to claim the £10,000 Daily Mail prize as the first man to fly from London to Manchester.
The following year, Henry G. Melly flew from Waterloo, Liverpool, on 7th July to make the first landing at the first purpose-built airfield in Manchester. It was situated alongside Ashburton Road, Trafford Park, and privately owned until its closure in 1918.
Meanwhile, a temporary aerodrome had been built adjacent to the National Aircraft Factory h\o. 2 (later Fairey's) in Heaton Chapel while Avro's flew a few aircraft from a temporary strip sited next to their Miles Platting works.
The end of World War One and the subsequent dramatic drop in aircraft production brought about their closures.
In July, 1918, the War Department opened a major airfield at Hough End Fields, which became known as Alexandra Park, named after the nearest railway station. Although it was built for testing locally-constructed military aircraft, the first ever air transport flight to Manchester arrived there on the evening of the 1 st May, 1919, the day civil flying was again permitted after the war.
The aircraft, a converted Handley Page 0/400 bomber operated by Handley Page Ltd., carried 11 passengers from Cricklewood, North London, in 3 hours 40 minutes. It was piloted by Lt. Colonel Sholto Douglas who was later to become Chairman of BEA.
Twenty-five days later, the first scheduled domestic air service in Britain began when Avro Transport Company operated Avro 504K's between Alexandra Park, Southport (Birkdale Sands) and Blackpool (South Shore). The service ran for just 18 weeks.
Daimler Airways started the first international service from Manchester with a regular schedule to Amsterdam via Croydon commencing on 23rd October, 1922. Although the route was extended to Berlin the
following year, the service ceased entirely in early 1924.
Following the refusal of Lord Egerton to sell his land to the City Council for continuing aviation use, so enabling them to control the first municipally-owned airport in the country, all flying ceased at Alexandra Park on 24th August. One of the hangars was transferred to Avro's new private airfield at Woodford, which opened on 25th February, 1925, and still remains in use there to this day.
By October, 1926, pressure was beginning to be applied by a small group of far-seeing individuals who argued that Manchester would suffer commercially if it had no links with the world's air routes.
A prominent member of this group was the Chairman of the Lancashire Aero Club at Woodford, John Leeming, who was fortunate to have as a friend and ally the Director of Civil Aviation, SirSefton Brancker.
Leeming constantly pressured local business interests to support his cause and finally, at his own expense, published a booklet in 1928 entitled 'Manchester and Aviation' in which he set out his arguments for an airport in Manchester.
Finally, a full quarter of a century since man had first achieved powered flight, officials of Manchester Corporation and the Chamber of Commerce held a series of meetings which eventually led to the formation of a Special Sub-Committee of the Corporation in September, 1928, to investigate the feasibility of an airport in Manchester.
Once Manchester had committed itself to the idea of an airport, events moved quickly. Several possible sites were immediately examined and on 31 st October, Barton was chosen as best fulfilling all the requirements.
On 9th November, Manchester City Council set up an Aerodrome Special Committee which was charged with 'enquiring and reporting upon the establishment and maintenance of the Aerodrome at Chat Moss and the financial aspect thereof. The committee clerk appointed was Sam Hill, who had originally joined the Town Clerk's department in February, 1902. He was later to become the first airport manager.
Having decided to enter the world of aviation, the City Council was determined to be the first municipality in the country to have its own licensed aerodrome. However, much work was needed on the ground and buildings and so a temporary airfield was hurredly prepared on land which now forms part of the City's Rackhouse housing estate at Wythenshawe.
On 2nd April, 1929, Wythenshawe aerodrome opened for business. The first landing was made by Captain A.N. Kingwill in a D.H.60X Moth of Northern Air Transport, a company in which he had a major interest.
The crowning glory came at the end of the month when, on 22nd April, Kingwill flew one of the two Northern Air Lines aircraft which carried the Lord Mayor of Manchester, Col. George Westcott, and his party from Wythenshawe to Croydon to collect Aerodrome Licence No. 1414, dated 19th April and valid for an initial six month period.
Several interesting aircraft visited Wythenshawe during the few months before closure, including Ford's European 5-AT-CTrimotor demonstrator, then considered a very large aircraft, and a Gipsy Moth of Air Taxis, Stag Lane. The latter machine was used by Amy Johnson to make the first female solo flight from the U.K. to Australia in May, 1930 and is now displayed in London's Science Museum.
Asa pointer to the future, the airport boasted customs facilities from the very start, and these were provided on request for flights to and from Dublin.
It had been realised from the start that major works were needed at Barton, particularly consolidation of the ground to carry a deadweight of one ton per superficial foot. However, the land at Chat Moss consisted of peat soil and there were always soft spots on the airfield after heavy rain.
The all-grass landing area was initially 530 yards by between 670 and 740 yards, according to the source used, and proved never to be adequate for the more advanced airliners of the day. A large hangar and control tower were constructed which still stand today.
Barton Airport opened for business on 1 st January,
1930, with Northern Air Lines again being the first to make a recorded landing at a new Manchester airport this time with a locally-built Avro Avian on 4th January, when first Kingwill and then Leeming made trips from Wythenshawe.
Northern Air Lines became the managers and major operators at Barton until early 1933, when the difficult economic conditions then prevailing forced the company into liquidation.
The first scheduled service from Barton opened on 16th June, 1930, on a thrice weekly basis. It was operated by Imperial Airways on a Croydon-Birmingham-Manchester-Liverpool route, using Armstrong Whitworth Argosy and Handley Page W8F and W10 aircraft.
The first round trip was flown by a 20 seat Argosy 1 which also had the distinction of being the first airliner to use Liverpool's Speke airport, departing on the 17th for Barton en route to Croydon. The service was on an experimental basis and closed down for the winter on the 20th September.
Loads had been satisfactory, but because of the national economic climate, the route was not re-opened the following spring.
The somewhat spartan navigational facilities at Barton were improved when a wireless and meteorological station opened on 1 st May, 1933. Although it was operated by the Air Ministry, it was supported financially by Manchester Corporation.
On the same day, Airwork took over management of the airport from Northern Air Lines for the next seven years.
The economic conditions meant that there was little activity and the Airport Special Committee continued to seek traffic for the airport. They even considered obtaining powers to operate air services either by themselves or in conjunction with other organisations.
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines had examined the possibility of a Holland-Northern England service as early as 1928 but had decided that the time was not ripe and that neither Liverpool nor Manchester had appropriate airfields.
In early 1934, the Council heard of a review of the air service possibilities by KLM and persuaded Dr. Albert Plesman, the founder of the airline, to consider using Barton. Dr. Plesman was reluctant, as although reasonable navigational and customs facilities were by then available at Barton, he believed that the landing area was inadequate.
A further opinion was sought from the airline's senior pilot, Russian-born Captain Ivan Smirnoff, and he flew in to Barton on 23rd January, 1934, in a Fokker F.XII. Without hesitation, he endorsed Plesman'sview
KLM's decision was a bad blow to Manchester Corporation. A meeting of the Airport Special Committee was held in the Town Hall the following day with KLM and Chamber of Commerce representatives present during which Plesman agreed that if the length of the grass runways were extended they would operate an Amsterdam service from April, 1935.
In the meantime, badly denting civic pride, KLM announced that Manchester's traditional rival in trade, Liverpool, would be the terminal as both airfield and accommodation at Speke were deemed satisfactory.
The Manchester City Engineer was urgently instructed to examine the extension of Barton's landing area, and to report on any other suitable airport sites within 12 miles of the City centre.
After several meetings, the Airport Special Committee decided that the cost of enlarging Barton would be too high and that there would still be other environmental drawbacks including the predominance of factory chimneys and poor subsoil.
Alternative sites were examined at Audenshaw, Bury, Mobberleyand Ringwayand on 11th July, 1934 the Committee recommended to the City Council that a new airport be built on the latter site.
The Airport Special Committee's recommendation of Ringway as the best site available was founded on five main points:
i) An area of 664 acres was immediately available for acquisition (Barton then had 79 acres) on which grass runways up to 2,000 yards long could be laid out when necessary.
ii) The clay soil could support heavier aircraft on the grass runways than could Barton's peat sub-soil.
iii) The weather at Ringway would be better than at Barton because of the higher altitude (235 feet versus 70 feet) and the absence of industrial estates and water nearby reduced the incidence of fog.
iv) The large flat area available would permit close alignment of runways to the prevailing winds, and there were no major obstructions at handoverlooking Jackson's Brick Works distinctive chimney, which was not demolished until 24th June, 1978!
v) Road communications with the City centre would be good as a result of the imminent construction of Princess
Parkway to service the nearby large new housing estate at Wythenshawe.
The Committee's report was debated in depth at the full City Council's meeting on 25th July, 1934. Some Councillors argued that to spend considerable sums of money on yet another airport was not justified as air transport prospects were dubious, and, in any case, the development of air traffic ought to be a national and not a local charge.
A total of £51,296 had been spent on Barton and now the City was being asked to approve spending in addition to the then vast sum of £179,295 for the 'initial scheme' of developing Ringway, with a possible further outlay of £45,160 should developments in air traffic warrant it.
Some interested parties proposed a joint airport mid-way between Manchester and Liverpool, a concept that was raised again post-war in respect of Burtonwood.
Supporters of the scheme used KLM's views as evidence of the need for a new airport, and were aided by a letter from Sir Joshua Stamp, Chairman of the London Midland and Scottish Railway, who stated that Barton was unsuitable as a port of call for Railway Air Services who wished to operate through Manchester.
Finally, it was reported that the Air Council thought Ringway a more suitable long term site than Barton.
After a cliff-hanging debate, the report's recommendations were accepted by a single vote55 to 54. Alderman Tom Regan, a founder member of the Airport Special Committee in 1928, Chairman from 1949 to 1951 and a member of the Committee until 1974, always stoutly maintained that it was his vote that carried the day!
The Corporation immediately initiated the necessary lengthy routine of obtaining government sanctions for loans of £180,000 and Compulsory Purchase Orders for land acquisition.
Following a public inquiry in October, 1934 at which 51 persons and local authorities objected to the scheme, the Government gave a favourable decision in February, 1935.
Aggrieved opponents, however, including the Cheshire County Council, attempted to overturn the decision in the High Court in May, but again the City Council won the day.
The Lord Mayor, Alderman Thomas Williams, was able to launch the site development scheme on 28th November, 1935, which involved soil levelling and the
laying of two miles of collecting drains and over five miles of three inch herringbone drains to ensure a firm grass landing area which was initially 250 acres.
Meanwhile at Barton, a permanent but seasonal scheduled air service through Manchester was re-established when Railway Air Services started a daily Royal Mail Croydon-Birmingham-Barton-Belfast-Glasgow route on 20th/21st August, using 16 seat D.H.86 Express airliners.
The service was suspended for the winter, re-commencing on 15th April, 1935.
Railway Air Services also introduced a local Manchester-Liverpool-Blackpool- Isle of Man service in Spring 1935 using 6 seat D.H.84 Dragons. A Hull-Manchester-Liverpool-Belfast service was opened by Hillman Airways in June, but they ceased operations the following year.
A similar pattern followed in the next three years to 1938, although there was a trend to using more feeder services to Liverpool for onward connections than was welcome for Manchester's pride.
From its opening in 1930, Barton had resident aero clubs and small charter operators who, during the latter few years of the thirties, expanded their flying training activities under Government sponsored programmes in preparation for any forthcoming national emergency.
Barton was subsequently requisitioned by the Ministry of Aircraft Production and became an important servicing centre for military aircraft, while Percival Proctor communications aircraft were built there by F. Hill and Sons Limited.
Between August, 1940 and November, 1942, the sole air service from the U.K. to Eire was operated from Barton to Dublin by Railway Air Services and Aer Lingus using D.H.86 Expresses. However, Aer Lingus quite frequently used its DC-3 when loads were heavy, even though Barton only had a 700 yard long grass runway.
Since World War Two, the airfield has continued to serve in a quiet but useful manner as a centre for club and private aviation, with an ever increasing number of home based aircraft.
The subsequent development of Ringway into one of the major international airports in Europe over the space of fifty years more than vindicated that one decisive vote cast at that fateful City Council meeting back in 1934.
Louis Paulhan landed in a field beside Burnagestation at 5.32 a.m. on 28th April, 1910 to the applause of the waiting crowds, so winning the £ 10,000 Daily Mail prize for the first airman to fly from a point within five miles of the newspaper's London headquarters and land within a similar distance of their Manchester offices. Before returning to London, the Farman biplane was dismantled and stored at the Renold Chain Works on Burnage Lane.
On 22nd April, 1929, the Lord Mayor of Clerk, EE. Warbreck Howell (left) and
Manchester, Col. George Wescott, led a civic Alderman R.A.W. Carter, the deputy
party to London to collect the temporary chairman of the Aerodrome Committee,
licence for Wythenshawe Aerodrome. They The pilot, E.A. Jones is being briefed by
flew to Croydon in a red D.H.SOanda bright Captain A. N. Kingwill, the chief pilot of
blueD.H.9c, G-EBIG, which carried the Town Northern Air Lines (Manchester) Ltd.
No. 15 (Manchester) Air Acceptance Park was established by the War Department in 1918 beside the railway line between Chorlton and Heaton Mersey (in the foreground) on what is now Hough End playing fields. Although referred to as Didsbury, the aerodrome was known as Alexandra Park, after the nearest railway station. The landing ground was beyond the hangars on the right of the photograph which was taken in 1923, the year before the aerodrome was closed and the buildings demolished.
The first scheduled service from Barton was was operated with Armstrong Whitworth
opened by Imperial Airways on 16th June, Argosy and Handley Page W8F and WW
1930 and ran on an experimental basis until aircraft. Pictured beside the Barton hangar
30th September that year. The Croydon- with engines running is H. P. W8F G-EBIX
Birmingham-Manchester-Liverpool service 'City of Washington'.
Sir Alan Cobham did much to encourage the arrived at Barton at lunch time on the 26th
airmindedness of the public with his travelling air circus of the 1930's. His show
June, 1933, departing 24 hours later. The airport log recorded Airspeed Ferries G*ABSI and 'J, Tiger Moth G-ACEZ, Gipsy Moth G-ABBX and North British Aviation Avro 504K's G-EBIS, 'HE and 'SJ, all aircraft listed in the order of landing. Surprisingly, the largest aircraft present, ex. Imperial Airways H.P30 WW G-EBMR was not recorded in the log!
The finishing touches are put to Ringway's terminal building, control tower and hangar as the official opening day draws near. This Daily Express photograph, which was captioned to describe the use of the various parts of the building to its readers, was taken on the 9th June, 1938. Large bones excavated when the footings were being dug were found to be the remains of an elephant buried by a travelling circus, and not a dinosaur as widely rumoured at the time.
MANCHESTER (RINGWAY) AIRPORT.
Regular Air Line Services 1st May to 30th June, 1939 (inclusive).
AArrival. J Commencing 22nd May. | Commencing 28th May. * Commencing 17th Jon*.
O.W. * 8.A.L. .. Great Western A Southern Air Lines.
I.0MA..8.....Isle of Man Air Services.
K.L.M.......Royal Dutch Air Lines.
R.A.8.......Railway Air Servioes.
(RnrawAY) AimroBT, OATuy Mil.
SUMMER 1939 ROUTES
(Through Services only)
-.._ Amsterdam (Doncaster) Manchester Liverpool
KLM Royal Dutch A irlines London Manchester Liverpool Glasgow* Railway Air Services (*not on all services) London Manchester Belfast Glasgow (with stops) Railway Air Services
""""""....... Liverpool- Manchester Brighton (with stops)
Great Western and Southern Airlines
......Manchester Liverpool Isle of Man
Isle of Man Air Services * Manchester Weston-super-Mare (with stops) Western Airways
Manchester (Ringway) Airport
LAT 53° 2\'20"N. LONG. 02° \6'Z0" W. ALTITUDE ABOVE MEAN SEA LEVEL 235 Feet (72 Metres)
THE AIRPORT IS SITUATED 8!/3 MILES SOUTH OF THE CENTRE OF MANCHESTER
The first unofficial report of an aircraft flying into Ringway is of a Bellanca Pacemaker owned by Airwork, which logged out from Barton at 11.20 on 16th October, 1934 and returned at 11.45 the same morning. If it landed, then it used farmers fields and not an airfield.
It has been recorded that the first flight to Ringway was that of Hornet Moth G-ADND owned by Fairey Aviation Company and flown by test pilot Duncan Menzies. Barton's log shows he made a communications run to a strip on the west side of the incomplete airport on 16th December, 1936, but it has since been established that he never actually landed due to poor visibility.
Ironically, bad weather five months later caused Menzies to divert to Ringway in the same Hornet Moth-making the first documented landing at the new airfield! His personal flying log records a departure from the Great West Aerodrome (near the present day site of Heathrow) at 17.50 on 17th May, landing at Ringway after a one hour forty minute flight. He departed for Woodford at 09.00 the following day.
The Royal Air Force expansion scheme of the mid-thirties had resulted in Fairey's acquiring the old National Aircraft Factory No. 2 in Heaton Chapel and it was announced in March 1936 that part of the western side of Ringway would be used for the assembly and test flying of Fairey-built aircraft.
While work went ahead on the new terminal and hangar, a separate development on the west side of the airfield meant that on 2nd June, 1937, the first hangar at Ringway was officially opened by the Lord Mayor, Alderman Joe Toole. To be used by Fairey Aviation Company, Hangar 1 was to remain in use by them up until 1977, finally being demolished in October, 1982.
A few Battle light bombers had flown from Barton, but transfer of quantity assembly to Ringway took place on 5th June. By May, 1939, no less than 53 aircraft a month were being produced for the Royal Air Force,
sIGWAY IS OPENED
Canada and Australiathe 1,360th and last being flown to No. 20 Maintenance Unit on 21 st November, 1940, for crating to Canada.
With the impending opening of the new Ringway Airport, the Airport Committee appointed Sam Hill as airport manager from 1 st April, 1937. Hewastoguide the airport through its early days, which included the build-up of war-time activities, until his untimely death in 1943, shortly before his retirement.
Work continued on the main part of the airfield during 1937. Construction of the terminal, control tower and hangar, which had begun the previous November, was completed by 24th June, 1938, when Captain A.D. Snitslaarflew KLM's Douglas DC-2 PH-AKP 'Perkoetoet' from Amsterdam with an official party bound for the official opening, arriving 15.30.
The following day, 25th June, Sir Kingsley Wood, then Air Minister, performed the opening ceremony and inspected the visiting military aircraft which included a Hurricane, Demon, Harrow, Anson and Gauntlets.
Civilian visitors that day included Sir Kenneth Crossley's Hornet Moth from Combermere Abbey, Whitchurch, and an Avro-built Cierva C.30a Autogyro which flew in from Gatwick, returning to Hanworth the next day.
Airline operations from Ringway commenced on Monday, 27th June, when Railway Air Services' inappropriately named D.H.89ARapide 'City of Birmingham' left for Liverpool at 09.06 to connect with the Isle of Man service. Captain Griffiths had flown the Rapide in from Barton the previous evening at the end of scheduled services from that airport.
Meanwhile, the KLM DC-2 had flown to Blackpool on the 26th and back via Speke at 10.28 before leaving again for Doncaster and Amsterdam at 10.52 on the 27th. It returned the same evening at 18.55 and flew on to Liverpool just 13 minutes later.
Other airliners that day were two Isle of Man Air Services Rapides and a Railway Air Services Express. A similar pattern of schedules operated for the remainder
of the week.
The first true 'general aviation' arrival was Sir Kenneth Crossley's Hornet Moth on 30th June, with a D.H.86A Express of the RAF claiming the title of first military visitor on 1 st July. The initial foreign visitor, other than KLM, was a Belgian Stinson on 12th July, arriving from Stoke and departing for Lympne the same day.
Navigational aids were notably absent from the aviation scene in 1938. It was therefore not surprising that a KLM aircraft was forced to return to Amsterdam on 26th October with passengers still aboard, having been unable to land at Ringway because of fog and thick clouds, while on 25th October, an Isle of Man Air Services Rapide ran into a boundary fence landing in fog, fortunately without injury.
The Corporation responded by installing the first illuminated concrete fog line outside the U.S.A. together with three floodlights, airfield boundary lights and an illuminated landing tee which indicated wind direction to aircraft without radio.
The lighting system was tested by a KLM DC-2 on 18th January, 1939, flown by Captain Parmentier on two local flights. The new facilities received favourable comment.
This was KLM's first visit for some three months, the regular DC-2/Lockheed 14 service having ceased on 12th November, 1938, for the winter.
Following the withdrawal of Railway Air Services, airline services during the 1938/39 winter became very sparse. The nadir was reached during the 12 days ending 17th January, 1939, when Isle of Man Air Services provided the sole movements recorded in the airport log, all but two being to Liverpool on the link service.
Fairey Battles also used the airfield during this period for test flights, but these were not logged; there were no other based aircraft.
Military visitors during 1939 included three Armstrong Whitworth Whitley bombers of 7 Squadron, RAF Finningley, on 3rd March, bringing a total of ten passengers, while two Vickers Wellingtons of 148
Squadron visited from Honington on 11th April. The Whitley was to become one of the commonest sights at Ring way during the war.
The lull after Munich gave time for the formation of many new RAF Squadrons, including one which was to make a major impact on the Manchester aviation scene, No. 613 Squadron.
There had been pressure for many years for an Auxiliary Air Force Squadron to be formed and based in the Manchester area. Eventually the Air Ministry responded and on 1 st February, 1939, No. 613 (City of Manchester) Squadron began to look for premises and recruits, although the official formation date was not until 1st March.
The role allotted to the Squadron was Army Co-operation within No. 22 Group, Fighter Command and Edgar Rhodes, a local man, was appointed acting Commanding Officer on 10th March, 1939. He was Gazetted Squadron Leader and Commanding Officer on 11th April.
The first of the major developments by the Air Ministry which were to transform Ringway by the end of the war were the hangars destined forthe Auxiliary and Volunteer Reserve units; temporary accommodation was used initially until they had been completed.
Recruitment and initial training continued during March and April, with No. 614 (City of Cardiff) Squadron, which had formed in June, 1937, bringing some of their aircraft for short visits to support the task.
Enough progress had been made by 21st April for the first aircraft, Hawker Hind K5473 to be delivered to Ringway, making two local flights that day. On 11th May, it enduring the smashing of a champagne bottle on its undercarriage by the Lord Mayor, Alderman Hart, to mark the City's support of the unit.
The Squadron's first public appearance was on 20th May as part of an Empire Air Day at Ringway, which brought a variety of visiting aircraft ranging from the very new Supermarine Spitfire and local Fairey Battle to an elderley Boulton Paul Overstrand and a Fairey Seal.
As trained personnel increased, further aircraft were delivered, including Tutor and Tiger Moth trainers and operational Hinds.
Within days of returning to Ringway from RAF Hawkinge, Kent, where it had spent 15 days on annual training camp from 6th August, 613 became a regular unit of the Royal Air Force. It moved to RAF Odiham, Hampshire, on 2nd October to replace Squadrons which
had moved to France on the outbreak of war on 3rd September.
Summer 1939 airline services through Ringway were an improvement over the previous year. KLM's Amsterdam schedule recommenced with a DC-2 on 17th April. The service operated daily except Sunday, line 859' leaving Schipol Airport at 16.00, arriving Ringway 18.05 and Speke 18.35. The return journey left Speke the following day at 08.00, Manchester 08.15/ 08.25 and reached Amsterdam at 11.05.
The return fare Ringway/Schipol was then £9-9-0d (£9.45p), equivalent to £227.57 in todays terms. Interestingly, the actual fare in 1988 is £230.00.
The Doncaster stop was made only on a request basis and Rotterdam was served if passengers wished to make a connection for Prague, Vienna or Budapest. KLM first used the 21 seat Douglas DC-3 from Ringway on 3rd July when a capacity load left for Rotterdam and Amsterdam, 18 passengers having boarded at Manchesterthe heaviest pre-war load on any route from Manchester.
The first to join Isle of Man Air Services and KLM in serving Ringway was Great Western and Southern Airlines when a Rapide inaugurated the four times daily Croydon-Manchester-Liverpool route, followed by a
Western Airways Rapide on 17th June operating a Manchester to Weston-Super-Ma re service (which also used D.H. Dragonfly and Percival Q.6 aircraft).
This improvement in airtransport activity was unfortunately short-lived as all services had ceased by 1 st September as war became imminent. The last airline in was the last out when a Western Airways Rapide departed at 10.00 on the 1 st with just one passenger on their Weston service.
Passengers in the fourteen months to August, 1939 had totalled 7,600a modest figure perhaps, but sufficient to show that there was a future for air transport at a more propitious time.
General aviation activity in 1939 had included a visit by three Trafford Park built Hillson Pragas of the Northern Aviation School and Club which flew in formation from Stoke on 12th March, staying overnight before returning to their base at Barton.
Percival Vega Gull G-AFAV, owned by a Mr. E. Thomas and based at Ringway from 16th February onwards, returned from a trip to Paris (Le Bourget) on 1 st September and flew to Woodford on 14th September for storage until hostilities ceased.
It was the last pre-war non-military movement.
Although the star of the show on the opening day, few pictures other than this famous shot appear to exist of KLM s DC-2 PH-AKP 'Perkoetoet' outside Ringway s hangar on Saturday 25th June, 1938. It was
the first airliner to land, arriving the previous day at 15.30 from Amsterdam piloted by Captain A.D. Snitslaar with three other crew and five passengers.
The official opening was performed by Secretary of State for Air, The Rt. Hon. Sir Kingsley Wood (centre) who also inspected the Royal Air Force contingent including the. pilots of No. 72(F) Squadron (motto 'Swift') and their nine Gloster Gladiator biplane fighters.
The first aircraft to arrive on the official opening day was Railway Air Services D.H.86B G-AEWR 'Venus'. It was to become a regular visitor and is here at Ringway on Tuesday, 19th July, 1938, having arrived from Birmingham at 17.10. It departed just seven minutes later for Speke.
Piloted by Captain Snitslaar, Lockheed 14 PH-APE of KLM also visited on the 19th July. It arrived from Doncasterat 18.00, departing half an hour later for Speke.
No. 215 Squadron at Driffield flew two Handley Page Harrow II bombers (K6982 and K7032) into Ringway for the official opening ceremony. The former is seen departing with Sir Charles Kingsley Wood overAvro Cadet G-ACPB and the Wolf Hertz glider with the famous brickworks chimney in the background.
Western Airways operated the last pre-war airline service from Ringway when Rapide G-AFSO departed for Weston-super-Mare on 1st September, 1939. The airline's D.H.90 Dragonfly G-AEDH is seen at Ringway on 18th April, 1939. Note the airfield works on the left of the picture.
Continuing disruption to scheduled services caused by fog and poor visibility led the Airport Committee to install the first illuminated concrete fog line outside the United States in January, 1939.
RINGWAY IN UNIFORM
Although Ringway was never a front line station, it played a major role in World War Two as a centre not only for aircraft production and modification but also as the main training establishment for Airborne Forces.
Even so, Ringway was never requisitioned by the State and Manchester Corporation retained control throughout the war. Initially there was a lull in flying, other than from Fairey's, but on 6th September, 1939, Handley Page Hampden light bombers of No. 83 Squadron arrived on a 10 day detachment from RAF Scampton.
Within a few days, communication flights commenced using both military aircraft and civil machines of the National Air Communications fleet.
Rollasons, a civilian firm, moved into Ringway for some months and overhauled ex-civil aircraft including Swallows, Eagles and a Moth Major while, from January, 1940, Air Taxis Ltd", operated Army Co-operation flights with a variety of aircraft.
During the War, Ringway's facilities were developed almost beyond recognition.
First to be completed were Hangars 6 and 7 in the north eastcornerwhich, although builtfor 613 Squadron and the RAFVR, were actually used by the Parachute Training School from 1940. In 1941142, three hangars were erected on the south side for the Ministry of Aircraft Production and used by Avro.
Four hangars were added to Fairey's complex on the west side during the same period and three black Bellman hangars were erected to the east of the original terminal and control tower.
The advent of intensive flying with heavier aircraft brought problems in wet weather. There were many incidents involving undercarriages collapsing in mud patches and tailwheels breaking off on frozen ridges and so in mid-1941 the Air Ministry started to build tarmac runways.
The requirements of the day were speed and economy which led to skimping on the foundations,
drainage and thickness of the runways. These deficiencies were not to show up for many years, but when they did they caused many serious problems.
Runway 06/24 wa's the main runway, 4,200 feet long and facing into the prevailing south-westerly wind while Runway 10/28 was 3,300 feet; both were completed by early 1942. Runway 02/20, also of 3,300 feet, was under construction by October that year.
To cope with the large numbers of aircraft needing standing room, hard pans were constructed on the south, south east, north and north western edges of the airfield. Finally, perimeter tracks linked runways with buildings and other facilities.
In order to prevent prying eyes observing activities, pill boxes and guard posts were placed on Yewtree Lane to the north and Altrincham Road on the south side. Thereafter the public could only pass along those roads if they had a pass to reach premises nearby.
Large numbers of RAF and Army personnel were stationed at Ringway, either for training or permanent posting. Barrack blocks were built to the north of Ringway Road and these were augmented by prefabricated buildings on Outwood Lane and elsewhere.
At the peak in 1943, over 1,500 men and women were accommodated and council houses in Crossacres had been requisitioned. Perhaps it is not surprising that the RAF Station Medical Officer reported sanitary problems and some incidence of scurvy due to diet.
Of many interesting visiting aircraft in the early war days, ex-Imperial Airways Handley Page H.P.42 'Horsa' was noteworthy and sad. En route for Stornoway from Ringway on 7th August, 1940, loaded with 3,000 lb. of ammunition, the 271 Squadron machine suffered failure of two of its four engines and made a forced landing near Whitehaven. An engine caught fire after the undercarriage collapsed, but the crew of five managed to escape before the petrol tanks exploded.
The airfield was protected by anti-aircraft gun batteries manned by a succession of Army units. During
September, 1940, the defending 487 Battery of the Royal Artillery was 'dive bombed' by Defiant 1 night fighters of 264 Squadron's A flight on detachment to Ringway.
The Luftwaffe attacked the airfield for the one and only time on the night of 28th/29th November, dropping one high explosive, one oil and two delayed action bombs. The latter exploded on 30th November and 1 st December, causing no casualties or damage other than to the airfield surface.
An exercise on 31 st May, 1942, ended in tragedy, however, when a Miles Master 1 of 6 AACU crashed in the north east corner of the airfield at 11.00 whilst 'shooting up' gun posts for a gun camera exercise. Sergeant Pilot Maslaczyk of 6 AACU and W/O Pierson from Station HQ Accounts Section were killed.
The airfield was camouflaged by means of special mowing patterns and dummy markings. On 14th February, 1944, two Women's Land Army girls were engaged for the Station farm, just in time for an inspection the next day by an Air Ministry horticultural adviser who approved the cropping plan for the coming season.
An RAF Station defence exercise was held on 21 st March that year when RAF personnel defended the north east section of the airfield against one hundred 'enemy' parachutists. The officer in charge reported that it was difficult to determine the result because of a shortage of umpires and the reluctance of those shot to remain dead!
An unfortunate strike by Manchester Corporation gas workers in April meant that all supplies for hot water, heating and cooking were cut off and field kitchens had to be utilised.
A happier event on 15th May was a rugby match between RAF Ringway's XV and the Fourth Parachute Brigade's XV. The Paras arrived over Tatton Park, jumped from their Dakota aircraft and proceeded to draw nine points all.
By 29th May, the temperature was 81°.F in the shade and a large static water tank had been adapted
for bathing. It was well patronised by based RAF and Army personnel, who were perhaps attracted by the Women's Auxiliary Air Force members sharing the same facility.
The most important RAF operation at Ringway during World War Two involved the training of Britain's parachute troops and experimental work on gliders, airborne dropping of equipment and associated activities.
In mid-1940, Winston Churchill decided that it was imperative for Britain to train 5,000 paratroopers from scratch and with great urgency. At a meeting of the Air Ministry and the War Office, a 'Central Landing School'was created.
It was to be stationed at Ringway within 22 Group, RAF, and commanded by Squadron Leader L.A. Strange, DSO, MC, DFC, with Squadron Leader J.A. Benham as Chief Instructor.
The first staff arrived on 21 st June, 1940, and by 5th July the first pilots had been familiarised with the Unit's sole converted Armstrong Whitworth Whitley bomber. Because of the urgency attached to operations, no time was allowed for development of equipment and techniques..
The first batch of 100 volunteers of 'B' and 'C Troops of No. 2 Commando under Lt. Colonel Jackson arrived on the 9th, the day after the first parachute drops of dummy troops had been made at Ringway.
After clearance with Lord Egerton, dummy drops on Tatton Park took place on 11th July, followed two days later by eight test jumps by RAF instructors. Two jumps were from a platform at the rear of the Whitley and six through a hole in the floor.
Next day, the first Army personnel dropped through the aperture; there was just one injury. However, the first tragedy occurred on 25th July on only the third drop when Driver R. Evans was killed when his parachute failed to open after jumping from a Whitley.
Within hours, a signal received from the Air Ministry stopped further drops and the following day officials arrived to investigate the incident. They ruled that further modifications were needed to parachutes and aircraft equipment and that 500 dummy drops would have to be made before the next live jump.
By 8th August, Strange and Benham were able to make the first landings in Tatton Park using the new Quilter parachute. A Bristol Bombay arrived from 271 Squadron on 6th August and this was used for test jumps from side doors, 77 taking place on 12th August.
Live drops from Whitleys recommenced on 15th
August and on 1 st September, a 'Mr. Y' made a special instructional descent over Tatton Park at 06.30; it can be presumed he was a Special Agent.
On 18th September, considerable reorganisation took place. The CLS was re-named the Central Landing Establishment to reflect expansion of responsibilities to the development of techniques for carrying troops to battle by glider.
The first ex-civilian glider had arrived on 7th August and was joined by an Avro 504 for towing duties with the Glider Section (as it was temporarily named).
During October the CLE formed three subsidiary units. On 1st October, the Parachute Training Squadron and the Glider Training Squadron were created, followed by the Development Unit by 14th October.
Squadron Leader M.A. Newnham arrived on 4th October for administration duties with the CLE; he was to remain at Ringway until 27th September, 1945, and become Commanding Officer of the Parachute Training School.
A series of VIPs began to visit Ringway and Tatton Park to see the parachuting and gliding activities, to which so much importance had been attached.
First was the Lord Mayor of Manchester, Alderman Robert Edwards, who visited on the 20th September, followed by the Du ke of Kent six days later who witnessed four live parachute drops and a demonstration by two gliders which had been aero-towed aloft.
By 13th December a larger body of trained men, plus their equipment, were available and so Field Marshal Sir John Dill and General Sir Robert Finlayson and their staffs were able to see a CLE exercise in which two Whitleys each dropped eight men over Tatton Park and five single seat gliders (each assumed to carry eight men) landed there within a radius of 200 yards. The men captured' an 'ammunition dump' concealed in the woods.
Prime Minister Winston Churchill, initiator of the Airborne Forces, came to inspect progress on 26th April, 1941, accompanied by Mrs. Churchill, U.S. Ambassador Averell Harriman, General Ismay and Air Marshal Sir Arthur Barratt.
A combined exercise was laid on by the CLE and PTS, involving a formation of six Whitleys dropping 40 paratroopers and their equipment, the towing and formation landing of five single seat gliders and a demonstration by the newly-delivered Hotspur troop-carrying glider.
An inspection of troops included a section of Free
French personnel who had arrived at Ringway on 13th February.
Over the next four years, British Army trainee parachutists trained by the PTS were augmented by Marine Commandos, RAF personnel and Special Agents. Many troops from overseas trained at Ringway during the war, including Americans, Belgians, Canadians, Czech, Dutch, Norwegians and Poles.
The first night drops by the PTS were made in moonlight between 03.00 and 06.00 on 14th January, 1941, using the airfield glim lamp for two sticks each of eight men from Whitleys.
As the airfield was unserviceable between 10th-17th February due to wet weather, flying ceased and some temporary use was made of Woodford.
By 13th March, 3,890 live drops had been made since 13th July, 1940, involving just 25 broken limbs. To increase safety and potential throughput of trainees still further, use began to be made of barrage balloons from which cages were suspended. The first jumps were made by instructors over Tatton Park on 8th April.
The PTS and the Glider Training School took part in a demonstration for King George VI at Windsor on 25th May while directors and staff of Macclesfield Silk Mills were visited by the PTS on 16th September as thanks for their care irrthe manufacture of parachute materials.
By 13th December, thefirstthree standard training courses for operational troops of the 1st Parachute Brigade had been completed with the following average results: Intake 257, Qualified 237, Injured 13, Sick 5, Refusals 2.
There had been 1,750 jumps on each course (part balloons, part aircraft) and the injury rate of 0.7% per landing was said to be acceptable and should be the same on active operations in good weather.
Newnham continued development jumps and on 21 st October made trial jumps from 500 feet into Rostherne Mere's 90 feet depths. Containers were also deposited for the benefit of Gaumont British cameras.
The first active service seen by Allied paratroopers took place on 10th February, 1941, when the Apulia aqueduct over the River Sele near Mount Vulture, Southern Italy, was attacked and damaged.
'Operation Colossus' was set in train when eight Whitley V bombers of 78 Squadron arrived at Ringway on 15th January for modification by the Central Landing Establishment. Seven officers and thirty one men were chosen from a vast number of volunteers who had heard of this first chance of operations.
Rigourous training was needed for both troops and aircraft as the drop was to be made from 400 feet in a valley with the aircraft flying below surrounding hill tops. The force left Ringway on 2nd February for Malta via Mildenhall, undertaking the raid on the 10th.
Although the raid was successful, the troops were caught making their escape to the coast, while one aircraft force landed with engine trouble. The seven surviving aircraft returned to the U.K. on the night of the 16th/17th February, so ending the only operation to actually pass through RAF Ringway.
On 15 January, 1942, A and B syndicates of No.2 Advanced Parachute Course made the first drops in sticks often men plus two containers of equipment from each Whitley. A total of 120 men landed in Tatton Park and captured the railway station at Ashley where local inhabitants provided tea for the attacking force.
A run of 20,000 live jumps from aircraft and balloons without fatality was broken on 16th February when Lance Corporal J. Duckett of 2 Parachute Battalion was killed.
Another tragedy occurred when Private Romanowski of the 1st Polish Parachute Brigade parachuted into a pond just outside the Tatton Park dropping zone on 15th July, 1943. He got stuck in the reeds and the mud under the water and was drowned; the pond was later drained. By 22nd September, there had been 30 deaths in 153,000 live jumps.
On the aircraft scene, meanwhile, the Whitley was supplemented for paratroop dropping during 1941/42 with Hudson, Wellington and Manchester aircraft, all operated by the C.L.E.
Fog and frost in December, 1943, interrupted operations badly with 20.F and 10.F ground temperatures recorded on the 14th. Strong winds were another hazard to parachuting, January, 1944 being particularly bad in this respect.
That month marked the arrival of the first Douglas Dakota at the Parachute Training School, as it had been re-named in February the previous year. The stalwart Whitleys, however, continued to provide the majority of capacity, the last not being retired until August, 1945.
In preparation for the June Normandy landings, parties of 400 men passed through the PTS during February, 1944 for refresher courses in addition to the normal intake. The increase in numbers at Ringway at this time meant that two tier beds had to be installed in all huts.
Officers and men of the School made many operational sorties over Normandy as dispatchers of the 4th Parachute Brigade, including Flight Sergeant W.A. Carter who went missing on 18th September. He reported back at Ringway on 21st September, none the worse for his experience.
Accidents at home continued. On 23rd February, 1944, a Whitley returning to Ringway hit another loaded with troops waiting to takeoff for a night drop. One aircraft burned out and the other lost a wing; luckily, only minor injuries were sustained.
In April, two instructors each made 10 drops in one day from balloons in an endurance test. 'Dope' and weekly 'Chemical Warfare Days' were still being held in June, at which all Ringway personnel except instructors on duty wore respirators between 08.30 and 09.00.
A particularly bad incident occurred on 27th December when Private Crabb jumped from a Whitley at 800 feet over Tatton Park and his parachute caught on the tail wheel. He was unable to free himself or to climb his rigging onto the wheel, and lost consciousness after 30 minutes circling. The aircraft landed on grass at Ringway, but Private Crabb died shortly afterwards.
PTA experimented dropping boxes of tinned food without parachute into Rostherne Mere on 23rd February, 1945 from a Dakota flying at 50 feet and 150 m.p.h. They achieved some success, but it is not known if this technique was ever used operationally.
At 12.00 on 8th May, Wing Commander Newnham, now Officer Commanding both RAF Ringway and the Parachute Training School, made a special Tannoy broadcast to all personnel. He announced victory in Europe.
Not unnaturally, a celebration dance was held that evening, and there were other, spontaneous, festivities. The duty officer noted with some surprise, and no doubt relief, the next day that there had been no serious incidents or breaches of discipline.
Training continued at a high level, however, until VJ Day on 15th August when a three day stand down was granted.
The first sign of a return to a semblance of normal life came on 15th September when an Open Day was held. PTS, locally-built and other aircraft were shown to the public and jumps made from balloons; a staggering total of 240 buses were needed to transport the masses home afterwards.
On 27th September, Wing Commander Newnham handed over command of the PTS to Group Captain
Eady when they made their respective last and initial parachute drops with the School. Newnham's departure was marked by a visit by the Chairman and Members of the Airport Committee.
The last drops were made in February, 1946. Dismantling the equipment began on 14th March and after reveille at 05.00, the main party paraded at 09.30 on 28th of the month before boarding buses forHeald Green station en route to the new Upper Heyford, Oxfordshire, base of 1 PTS.
A breakdown of activity shows the following trends in live parachute descents at Ringway and Tatton Park:
1940 (July/Dec.) 2,100
1946 (Jan./Feb.) 7,400
Today, a 200 square feet stained glass screen designed and assembled by Margaret Traheme stands in the terminal building as a memorial to the 60,000 paratroopers who trained at Ringway.
Another major part of the Airborne Forces activities at Ringway concerned glider development for war use. From August, 1940 onwards, a fleet of single and twin seat civilian gliders built up in the hands of the Central Landing Establishment.
The first major test was a night tow by two ancient Avro 504's with four gliders which were to cast off and land in Tatton Park. Because of clouds, only one reached its target area.
In early October experimental work was allotted to the new Development Unit of the CLE, whilst glider pilot training was handled by a Glider Training Squadron.
Increasing activity at Ringway generally caused the GTS to move out to its own airfield at Thame, Buckinghamshire, on 28th December where it became No.1 GTS.
The DU.CLE continued to develop equipment and techniques at Ringway and on 9th November a model of the 'Rotachute' was successfully launched from a Tiger Moth. The brain child of Raoul Hafner, the Rotachute had a two-bladed rotor on top of a small fuselage and was intended as an alternative to the parachute.
A large 10 foot model was dropped over Tatton Park from an Overstrand at 2,000 feet on 14th March, 1941, the device descending in a spiral at 25 feet/second,
which was deemed successful. The full scale AR III was towed behind a jeep at Ringway on 2nd June, 1942, while Rotachutes P1 and P2 were airtowed in September each overturning on landing. The Rotachute never achieved operational status.
More conventional and useful work by the DU.CLE was put into glider tests. On 14th October, 1940, a Mimimoa was towed without a pilot using the glider's controls, but without success as the machine tended to gain height and catch up with the towing aircraft!
On 21 st November, a Tiger Moth was tested with a sector light intended for use by the following glider in keeping correct formation at night. Other instrumentation was developed in Viking and Kite gliders as well as Swallow light aircraft which were towed as gliders with their propellers removed.
The first troop carrying Hotspur glider arrived on 6th February, 1941, and, after modification, was towed by an Overstrand on the 11th February. Six months later, on 8th August, another Hotspur was towed by a Hector to make a successful test landing on Tatton Mere.
The CLE became the Airborne Forces Establishment on 1st September, 1941, by which date a Glider Exercise Unit existed at Ringway with five Hectors and three Hotspur ll's. The following month, the AFE were testing an autogyro (details of which are unknown) with modified controls, and, adding to the variety of equipment, a Hudson and Halifax*were in use for supply dropping tests.
Even gliding has its dangersa Hotspur with eight men on board crashed after the tow rope broke just after take off on 23rd November and four men were injured. The following month, on the 19th December, eight men were killed when a Hotspur dived into the ground during air sickness trials; the cause was never discovered.
A further change of name came on 15th February, 1942, this time to the Airborne Forces Experimental Establishment. The AFEE tested the larger Horsa glider, one example crashing on 8th March soon after delivery when its Whitley tug's port engine caught fire.
Because of increasing activity at Ringway which conflicted with glider operations, the AFEE moved to Sherburn-in-Elmet, near Leeds on 1st July, 1942.
No. 110 (Anti-Aircraft Co-operation) Wing, RAF, was formed at Ringway on 1 st March, 1940, with a temporary HQ in Firtree Farm pending completion of the Station and Wing main offices on 31 st March. Its role was to operate flights over Army gun and searchlight
emplacements to provide practice for the crews and to allow them to calibrate their equipment.
Air Taxis Ltd. had been operating Army co-operation flights since 18th January, using their civil registered aircraft fleet.
Initial 110 Wing equipment consisted of impressed civilian aircraft such as Spartan Cruisers, Percival Vega Gulls and D.H. Dragons. Fairey Battles were delivered the following month and before the end of the year, Blenheims and Lysanders had replaced most of the civilian types.
The Wing controlled several Anti-Aircraft Co-operation Units which were formed in April, No. 6 being based at Ringway with detachments at Sealand, Carlisle, Perth, Bodorgan, Sydenham and elsewhere.
Many of the initial pilots were ex-National Air Communications men and were used in May to deliver service aircraft to France and the U.K. 'front line'.
In June, Flying Officer Hay, with Manchester Corporation, Home and War Office personnel, visited possible landing fields nearby including crop fields, with a view to having them obstructed to thwart their use in any attempted invasion.
The Unit had a black day on 14th January, 1941, when it suffered two serious accidents. Firstly, a Battle crashed on landing at its birthplace at Ringway, then a Lysander crashed with fatal results near Runcorn while 25 miles from its a Noted flight area. The pilot, Sergeant S.J. Saunders, had come low to find his position and flew into barrage balloon cables.
While 110 (AAC) Wing was disbanded on 21 st May, 1941, the individual AACU's remained unaffected. In early 1942, the Ringway HQ of 6 AACU averaged nine Lysanders, a Tiger Moth and a Blenheim, with 13 aircraft attheoutstations.
On 12th March, 6 AACU moved to Cart-in-Cartmel, near Ulverston, leaving a detachment at Ringway which converted to Miles Masters, before finally moving away on 20th December, 1942.
The nation's production of aircraft rose sharply during 1940 and this, together with the output of Maintenance Units, required the establishment of an organisation to ferry aircraft to user units. To meet this need, the Air Transport Auxiliary was formed, staffed by civilian pilots, including many women.
Several individual Ferry Pilot Pools were set up and No. 14 FPP was based at Ringway to handle production from local factories and to service overhaul facilities.
No. 14 FPP had a small fleet of Avro Anson and
Fairchild Argus aircraft to ferry pilots to where they were needed. These pilots had to handle an extremely wide variety of aircraft, which included the following small selection of types passing through Ringway: Auster 1, Beaufort, Boston, Halifax, Hampden, Hellcat, Hurricane, Mitchell, Mustang, Seamew, Tutor and Warwick.
Crashes were inevitable, and 14 FPP seemed to make a specialty of damaging Walruses at Ringway. On a tragic note, Flying Officer R. Williams was killed while circling low over a house in Timperley on 4th February, 1945, in a newly built Barracuda, the aircraft crashing after a steep turn.
No. 14 FPP was disbanded in the latter half of
Meanwhile, the first sign of war at Ringway, 613 (City of Manchester) Squadron, had moved from its birthplace to RAF Odiham in Hampshire on 2nd October, 1939, returning only once during the war, for a few days in March, 1943.
However, a history of Ringway would be incomplete without a mention of 613's wartime and post war experiences.
The squadron's role until late 1943 was Army Co-operation; the initial Hawker Hinds were replaced by the more powerful Hawker Hector biplanes in late 1939 and these were augmented byWestland Lysanders in April, 1940. Training, which included supply dropping, continued into May.
The Squadron saw its first active operations on 25th May when they were ordered to attack German gun emplacements at Peuplingues near Calais which were affecting the Dunkirk withdrawal. Six Lysanders dive bombed in line astern, dropping two 250 lb. bombs each, followed the next day by six Hectors which bombed the same area again.
After further activity, the Squadron withdrew from its temporary Kent bases back to Odiham, moving to Worksop on 28th June to operate reconnaissance patrols over the east coast from 4th July.
By 7th September, 613 were at Netherthorpe flying only Lysanders operationally. However, Tiger Moths were used from November for blind flying training. Early 1941 found the Squadron moving around from base to base in eastern England.
More modern equipment was received on 24th August when three Curtiss Tomahawk IIB's arrived at Doncaster, to be used in Army Co-operation exercises for the first time on 13th September. The Lysanders finally left by mid-November 1941, but further re-equipment
came in late May 1942 when the more potent North American Mustang 1 arrived atTwinwoods Farm, the Squadron moving on to Ouston by 26th August.
The Mustangs operated 'Rhubarb' sorties against enemy occupied territory from January 1943. These were attacks by small groups of aircraft against any ground targets that might be foundgoods trains and signal boxes being particular favourites.
That May, the Squadron escorted Bostons attacking Holland and struck against enemy shipping off the Dutch coast in August. Beforehand, 613 had returned to Ringway in March for ten days in connection with Manchester's 'Wings for Victory'week, during which time 12 Mustangs flew over the City Centre under the command of Wing Commander Burt-Andrews.
No. 613 became a light bomber unit within No. 2 Group in October, 1943, operating Mosquitos from Lasham, just a few miles from their earlier base at Odiham. Their first operational patrol with the type took place on 19th December over the coast line near Cherbourg.
The Squadron made many low level attacks, the most famous of which was that on 11 th April, 1944, by six Mosquitos led by Wing Commander Bateson against the Gestapo Records Centre in the Kleizkamp Art Galleries in The Hague.
Between November 1944 and August 1945, the Squadron was based at Cambrai/Epinoy in France. The last operational sorties were flown on 26th April, 1945, against targets in the Hamburg area, including cannon attacks on trains. Training missions, however, continued until 2nd August.
Five days later, 613 Squadron disbanded at Epinoy, having been renumbered 69 Squadron.
The Squadron returned to its birthplace when it was reformed at Ringway on 10th May, 1946 as a fighter unit within the Royal Auxiliary Air Force. Volunteers were recruited during the next few months and the first aircraft, a Harvard trainer, was received on 27th August.
Spitfire F. 14's were on strength by November and these were taken to the first post-war annual training camp which was held at Horsham St. Faith, Norwich, in July, 1947.
The skies around Ringway reverberated to Griffon engines during the weekends and one evening a week until February, 1951, unaffected by a switch to the more potent Spitfire F.22 in November, 1948.
Transfer from Reserve Command to Fighter Command took place in April, 1950 when the Squadron
code changed from 'RAT' to 'Q3'. Meanwhile, jet equipment had arrived in September the previous year in the form of two Vampire F. 1 's which were used for conversion training over a period of nine months.
Full re-equipment with the later Vampire FB.5 followed between 12th and 16th February, 1951, initial operations being out of Woodford because of the longer runway there. On 8th April, ten Vampires and two Meteor T.7 trainers flew into Ringway, remaining there for six years until the Squadron's disbandment due to Defence cuts on 10th March, 1957.
To mark the end of 18 years' operations, three Vampires flew over the Town Hall during a march past by the Squadron on 2nd March.
Another unit that used 613's hangar was 663 (AOP) Squadron, Royal Auxiliary Air Force, which formed
in Summer 1949, at Hooton Park, Wirral and maintained No. 1951 detached flight at Ringway.
The flight operated Auster AOP.5 and AOP.6 aircraft in the Air Observation Post role, spotting for local Territorial Army gun units. Auster T.7 trainers were also used, and often joined the AOP's in landing in friendly farmers' fields for exercises.
No. 663 Squadron was also stood-down on 10th March, 1957, bringing to an end to nearly 20 years of military activity at Ringway.
. _ - AHO
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Winston Churchill foresaw the need for a paratroop fighting force which led to the formation of the Central Landing School at Ringway by 21st June, 1940. He visited on 26th April, 1941 to inspect British and Free French trainees and watch a mass drop of 40 troops and equipment from five Whitleys and a formation landing of five gliders. He is pictured in discussion with Air Marshall Sir Arthur Barratt, Squadron Leader Strange (right).
Ringway's wartime roles were predominantly as a centre for aircraft production and as the birthplace and training centre for Airborne Forces. Illustrating the close link between the different elements ofAirbourne Forces, a dismantled civilian Kirby Kite glider impressed into military service with the Glider Training Squadron shares a hangar with a Whitley of the Parachute Training School and two impressed B.A. Swallows (less propellers) during October, 1940.
Trainee paratroopers parade in front of converted Whitley bomber V on 8th May 1941. The aircraft had been fitted with a modified rear end with hand rails from which the trainees were to trail their parachutes before being dragged from the platform, an unsafe practice which was soon ended.
The rapid pace of development in parachute roundal from which the troops drop
dropping is illustrated in this picture taken attached to a static line which automatically
on 22nd October, 1941. The troops wear opens the parachute. The three south side
safety training helmets (see previous picture) hangars for use byAvro's can be seen under
and the Whitleys have been fitted with a construction in the background, to the left
hole underneath the fuselage fonvard of the of the brickworks chimney.
RAF Ringway eastern dispersal in August, 1943. Moss Lane runs alongside the hedge behind the Whitley in the centre of the
photograph. The windshield for the protection of the jumping paratroops can be seen under the fuselage of the aircraft.
As airdrop techniques improved, so the dispatch capacity increased. A mixed drop of paras and containers from the Whitley was developed to a single run dispatching ten troops and six containers, the containers
being dropped after the first five troops, with runs being made from as low as 300 ft. This drop occurred on 28th February, 1942 from a more reasonable altitude.
Wartime precautions meant that airport buildings and facilities were camouflaged and defended. The airport manager's house to the north of Yewtree Lane was included while sandbagged gun emplacements were established on both sides of the road, the southern position being just out of the picture.
The military build-up at Ringway resulted in the construction of a large number of permanent buildings and the barrack square to the north of Ringway Road. This early view from the roof of Hangar 7 over Central Road (the entrance to the 1949 terminal building) clearly shows the balancing pond and, across Ringway Road, the drill hall (now the home of the airport social club) and the parade ground. The guard room to the right of the parade ground has yet to be built.
Having been manoeuvered into position between Hangars 6 and 7 by manpower, impressed General Aircraft Monospar ST-12 G-ADLL, in camouflage but yet to receive its military serial X9341, is refuelled from a bowser. In the background are four Hudson light bombers.
At the peak in 1943, over 1,500 men and officers and WAAFs of Servicing Wing, 1 PTS women were based at RAF Ringway, either pose in front of a Dakota on 17th for training or on permanent posting. Here September, 1944.
The Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress of Manchester had a busy time at Ringway in September, 1945. They attended a Royal Air Force Day reception on the 15th where they were welcomed by Group Captain Newnham in the company of airport manager George Lamb (left) and Alderman James Fitzsimons, Airport Committee chairman. On the right is Bert Esson, the Lord Mayor's attendent for many years. Twelve days later, the mayorial party and members of the Airport Committee visited the airport, including Fairey's andAvro's, and took a short flight in a York transport aircraft.
V.E. Day was followed by a near immediate rationalisation of new and existing equipment. Within a few days, the south side dispersal was packed with aircraft superfluous to the remaining war effort and awaiting disposal. Aircraft also fill the
| western dispersal pans, Fairey's apron and around Hangar 2. Surprisingly, no aircraft are parked on the prominent northern dispersal areas in this photograph taken by jVjj a 541 Sqdn. aircraft on 10th August, 1945.
;,; -• • ;<■•: immeuidieiy over ra/rey s r 1 ì ^;;-T/'_ :^ Yewtree Lane in the foregt
"V ^'^^"i witheightof613Sqdn'sS
The 1948 air display organised by 613 Sqdn. took place on 24th April and attracted large crowds, despite it being cup final day with Manchester United playing Blackpool. This view of the north western corner of the airport was taken from an aircraft flying immediately over Fairey's hangar, with Yewtree Lane in the foreground. Lined up 's Spitfire F.I4's are Harvard and Olympia glider. Amongst the aircraft in the backgound are BEA's stored Viking G-AHPB, Meteor F.4 VT125, Pioneer VL515, Mosquito N.F.30MM790 and Prentice VM195.
No. 613 Squadron members are subjected to 'square bashing' postwar on what is now a staff carpark; the barracks behind are now commercial offices. The guard room, which was later to become the airport police headquarters, no longer exists.
Many Yorks were built byAvro's in the south side hangars between 1942-1945. MW322, a Mark C.1of51 Squadron, appeared at the Battle of Britain Day on 18th September, 1948, wearing its Berlin Air Lift number '18'on the tail.
An important element of Britain's military support services, WAAFs were highly regarded in the roles they played. On 5th June, 1951, Airspeed Oxford IIW6642 visited Ringway to operate four air experience flights for WAAF members. The group are sitting on the site of today's PierB.
A common sight to motorists and pedestrians using Yewtree Lane in the early post war years was the appearance of low flying aircraft approaching to land on Runway 20. On this occasion in 1952, however, AusterA0P6 WV993 'B'of 663(AOP) Squadron is about to land on grass. In the background is a Fairey Firefly 1.7.
Believed to be the last photograph taken of 613 Squadron Meteors and Vampires and 1951 Flight AusterA0P5's and A0P6's, pictured on the flight line outside Hangar 7 ready for collection by ferry pilots on the occasion of the closing down ofRAuxAF units on 10th March, 1957.
By the start of World War Two, the Battle light bomber was in large scale production, and development of the Fulmar naval fighter was well advanced. Eventually 600 Fulmars were built at Heaton Chapel and flown from Ringway.
The first, N1854, flew on 4th January, 1940, and was used for trials at Boscombe Down and landing tests on HMS Illustrious. It is now the only survivor of the type, having become the Fairey 'hack' post war before it was donated to the Fleet Air Arm where it can be seen in their museum at Yeovilton.
The last of 250 Fulmar 1 's was delivered on 25th April, 1941, followed by 350 Mark ll's between 16th April, 1941, and 11th December, 1942. Fulmar production reached a peak of 319 in 1941.
In addition to its own production, Fairey's received several overhaul contracts between 1940 and 1942 covering Swordfish, Albacore and Battle aircraft.
In 1938, the Government had taken over the Crossley Motors Errwood Park Works adjacent to Fairey's Heaton Chapel factory and the company was appointed to manage the construction of 500 Bristol Beaufighters.
To accommodate the assembly and flight testing of these night fighters and other work, Fairey's Ringway facility on the west side was greatly expanded in 1941 /42 to the size which can basically still be seen today.
The initial 25 Beaufighters were built to Mark 1F standard, with the first delivered to A & AAE Boscombe Down on 5th December, 1940, serving 604 (County of Middlesex) Squadron from 10th May, 1941. The first of 300 Mark 1 C's left Ringway on 18th May.
A batch of 72 Ringway-built 1 C's went to the Royal Australian Air Force, and today A19-43 is displayed in the Moorabbin Aircraft Museum near Melbourne. Production switched to 175 Beaufighter VIC's, deliveries commencing on 15th April, 1942. The final Ringway 'Beau' departed in May, 1943.
Next to flow from the Errwood Park shadow factory were 662 Hand ley Page Halifax heavy bombers. The first of 246 Halifax V's was delivered on 27th
October, 1942; the last went to 427 'Lion' Squadron, Royal Canadian Air Force, in Yorkshire, on 10th January,
1944, going missing in action only 19 days later. Production continued unabated as 104 Halifax
Ill's came off the lines between 20th January and 26th April, 1944, followed by 222 B.Ill's between 28th April, 1944 and 1 st February, 1945. Finally, 90 Mark Vll's appeared, the last being delivered in October, 1945.
None of Fairey's Ha I if axes survives today.
Returning to Fairey's indigenous designs, the Barracuda carrier-borne naval dive bomber replaced the Fulmar in the Ringway assembly and flight sheds. 1,160 Marks I,II and III appeared between 18th May, 1942 and
1945, followed post war by 30 Mark V's between 22nd November, 1945, and 27th October, 1947.
The Barracuda first reached a squadronNo. 827 atRNAS Stretton, near Warringtonin January, 1943. The type took part in successful attacks on the 'Tirpitz' in 1944 and attacked shipping and shore installations in the Pacific Theatre.
No complete Barracuda remains in existence.
The final Fairey wartime design to fly from Ringway was the Spearfish torpedo/dive bomber. Only one was completed, which flew on 29th December, 1945. The first of three more prototypes was assembled, but not flown, and lingered in the hangars for a couple of years. Further orders were cancelled.
Fairey's neighbour at Ringway was Avro, whose main centre of assembly and flying was four miles away at Woodford, where many thousands of aircraft left the lines during the war.
To relieve pressure on Woodford, the assembly and initial testing of several important prototypes was carried out by an experimental department set up in the original Ringway terminal building hangar.
First to fly was the Avro 679 Manchester twin engined bomber prototype which took off at 18.20 on 24th July, 1939, flown by Captain H.A. Brown. While further tests of this promising but rather unsuccessful type took place over the next few weeks, Avro's chief
designer, Roy Chadwick, had seen the potential in the basic design and evolved the Lancaster.
The Lancaster prototype, BT308, which had a new centre section and four Rolls Royce Merlins in place of the unreliable Vulture engines, first flew from Ringway on 9th January, 1941, and the type was put into large scale production at Chadderton, Woodford, Trafford Park, Yeadon and in Canada.
The Lancaster II prototype made its first flight from the Ringway experimental department on 21st December, 1941.
A shortage of suitable British transport aircraft encouraged Chadwick to evolve a new design based on the Lancaster wing and tail, incorporating a new fuselage with double the capacity using a square section with large freight doors and passenger windows.
The prototype Avro 685 York first flew at Ringway on 5th July, 1942, with twin fins; these were replaced by the familiar triple fin on later aircraft. To keep the Woodford lines free for continuing priority Lancaster production, Yorks for the RAF were built in the Ministry of Aircraft Production hangars on the south side which were taken over in March, 1942.
The most famous York built at Ringway was undoubtedly Mark C(VIP)I, LV633 'Ascalon', Winston Churchill's personal aircraft operated by 24 Squadron. Approximately 85 Yorks were built for the RAF at Ringway together with some for BOAC before production was transferred to Yeadon in October, 1945.
The prototype Avro 694 Lincoln bomber, also developed from the Lancaster, first flew from Ringway on 9th June, 1944, although production was at Woodford. The Avro Tudor I prototype, designed with post war civil airtransport in mind, also made its maiden flight from Ringway, on 14th June, 1945.
This was the last prototype to fly from the experimental department, which was transferred back to Woodford on 28th January, 1946.
Avro's also carried out a certain amount of modification work at Ringway in both the original
hangar and south side. Many Manchesters were reported parked in the south east corner in 1941142 waiting for attention in an attempt to get them into an acceptable operating condition.
Lancasters passed through several programmes including a few modified to freighter role. Douglas Boston light bombers also received modifications, although one crashed on delivery from Burtonwood to Ringway on 6th February, 1942, in the hands of a 14 FPP pilot. The aircraft stalled at 30 feet because the air speed indicator had stuck at 110 m.p.h.
After large scale production of a variety of warplanes between 1937 and 1945, new construction by Fairey's in the immediate post war period was limited to a few Barracuda Vs.
An interesting 'one-off' venture was the construction of the Fairey FD. 1 experimental delta wing aircraft at Heaton Chapel.
This unusual machine was assembled behind closed doors at Ringway and local aircraft enthusiasts were amazed when VX360 made high speed taxi trials on Runway 06-24 on 12th May, 1950, the restricted field length preventing any 'hops'. The aircraft eventually flew from Boscombe Down on 12th March, 1951.
It was only in late October, 1952, that the first Firefly T7 observer/radar operator trainer for the Royal Navy was completed at Ringway. Meanwhile, from April, 1952, Fairey's had been assembling Vampire FB.9 jet fighters for the RAF under sub-contract to de Havillands, twenty one appearing before 31 st December.
Fairey's major activity at Ringway from 1946 was the modification and overhaul of aircraft, including some of their own designs such as the Barracuda and Firefly. The latter were delivered to Canada, Holland, Ethiopia, Thailand and Sweden as well as to the Royal Navy.
Mosquitos were handled in large numbers for Turkey, Sweden, Dominica and Belgium, while a few Beaufighters were overhauled and 'disappeared' -reappearing later in Israel.
From September, 1948, about 100 Avro Yorks were repaired for continued use on the Berlin Airlift, and again in 1951/52; Fairey test pilots often used the 3,300 feet Runway 20 for York take off and landings!
Some interesting aircraft visited, ferrying pilots to collect aircraft. These included an Ethiopian Bonanza on 15th September, 1951 and two B-25 Mitchells of the Netherlands Navy on 2nd April the following year.
The mid-1950's was a busy period for Fairey
Aviation with construction of new aircraft at Heaton Chapel and assembly and test flying at Ringway. Firefly T.7's, which continued in production until August, 1953, were succeeded on the lines by the U.8 target drone version which could be flown with or without crew.
The first few were converted on the production lines, but others were built from new as drones. The last Firefly to be built flew on 26th March, 1956.
The Gannet anti-submarine aircraft for the Royal Navy was assembled at Ringway from September, 1954, supplementing the Hayes, Middlesex, production line. About 55 Gannet AS. 1's were delivered by April, 1956, followed by approximately 30 AS.4's up to April, 1958. Ten of the Gannets were supplied to the Royal Australian Navy while Fairey's overhauled a number for Indonesia.
Vampire FB.9's continued to be assembled for the RAF until November, 1953, at least 14 of them passing to Southern Rhodesia. Between May, 1953 and July, 1954, small numbers of Vampire FB.52's were supplied from Ringway to South Africa, Lebanon, Ceylon and Iraq.
The last mark of Vampire to be assembled was the RAF'sT.11 trainer, 30 of which appeared between 7th July, 1954 and 30th September, 1955. Approximately 20 Venom FB. 1 's and 15 Venom FB.4's were produced for the RAF between January, 1954 and March, 1956, together with three NF.51's for Sweden in mid-1953.
A continuing major activity at Ringway was the modification of Firefly naval aircraft. In the early fifties, many were converted from anti-submarine to target tug standard for the Royal Navy and Svensk Flygtjanst of Stockholm.
In the mid to late fifties, Firefly AS.5's and AS.6's were converted to U.9 target drones, painted in eye catching red and yellow colours, and some T.7's were modified to U.8 standard. Fireflys passing through routine overhauls included fourAS.6's for the Royal Australian Navy in early 1953 and six for the Indian Navy in 1958.
Between April, 1955 and November, 1957, approximately 90 Douglas Invader light bombers of the U.S. Air Force were overhauled after service in Europe. By July, 1955, up to 25 B-26's could be seen parked outside the hangars at any one time.
Most of the Invaders were despatched to the U.S.A. after treatment, but twelve were painted in French Air Force markings and delivered to them between August and October, 1956.
Several aircraft were based at Ringway for varying periods in connection with Fairey Fireflash missile tests. These included a Supermarine Swift, Gloster Meteor F.4 and several MeteoNF.11 night fighters. An RAF Viking was fitted out with special equipment for monitoring Fireflash firings.
The Australian designed and built Jindivik pilotless drone became a useful source of revenue when Fairey's received a contract in the early 'sixties to assemble 49 examples at Ringway on a Ministry contract. The aircraft were destined for use on the Aberporth and Llanbedr ranges.
Fairey's aviation activities at Ringway were spasmodic after the early sixties. Some overhauls of civil aircraft were carried out, including their own survey Dakotas, Dove and Queenair while three RAF Pembrokes had cameras fitted.
A final spurt of activity fitting out Fairey-Britten Norman Islander and Trislander light airliners came to a halt in 1977 when the company collapsed financially. Sadly, the aviation business was terminated and their two remaining hangars were transferred to Fairey Engineering for work on air portable bridges.
The final symbolic link between Fairey's and Ringway was severed in October, 1982, when demolition began on Hangar 1 the original hangar officially opened on 2nd June, 1937due to its instability.
A total of 1,360 Battle light bombers were produced by Fairey Aviation before production ceased in November, 1940. All but the first few were test flown from Ringway, having been completed in Fairey's
assembly and flight shed complex on the west side of the airfield. At the height of production 53 aircraft a month were being produced, well illustrated by these 19 airframes photographed during final
production at Heaton Chapel (K9198 in the foreground), part of a batch of 311 Mark I's destined for the RAF.
The Barracuda was more successful than the Battle, with Fairey's producing 1,190 examples between 18th May, 1942 and 27th October, 1947. The Ministry of Aircraft Production issued this official photograph of Barracuda Mk. IP9655 to the national press on 10 th April, 1944.
In between production of the Battle and the Barracuda, Fairey's produced over 600 Fulmar naval fighters. The first off the lines was N1854 which flew from Ringway on 4th January, 1940 and, following military trials, returned to Fairey's post war as their 'hack', carrying the civil registration G-AIBE. Pictured on Fairey's apron during 1948, framed by the brickworks chimney and Hangar 5A, the aircraft has survived and can be seen today in the Fleet Air Arm Museum in Yeoviltonthe last remaining example of the type.
In addition to producing their own aircraft types, Fairey's manufactured a number of Bristol Beaufighters and Handley Page Halifaxes during the war. The last, Halifax V LK746 (pictured), destined for Yorkshire-based 427 'Lion' Squadron, Royal Canadian Air Force, was delivered on 10th January, 1944, going missing in action just 19 days later.
To relieve the overstretched facilities at nearby Woodford, Avro were able to transfer their experimental department to Ringway taking over the original terminal building hangar. The first aircraft to fly from the new facility was the prototype Type 679 Manchester twin Rolls Royce Vulture powered bomber 17246, built to Air Ministry specification P. 13/36. It is seen here outside the hangar in August, 1939 with Fairey's hangar visible on the extreme right.
The potential of the ill-fated Manchester design was recognised byAvro's chief designer Roy Chadwick and E. Hives of Rolls Royce, who together were able to ensure the construction of the Manchester III prototype BT308, powered by four Merlin engines. First flown from Ringway on 9th January, 1941, the aircraft became the forerunner of the highly successful Lancaster. It is pictured on a very frosty day in its original form with a central dorsal fin.
If the most famous Avro YorkChadwick's transport derivative of the Lancasterwas LV633, 'Ascalon', Winstons Churchill's personal aircraft, then the next must be MW102 which was operated in Asia for Lord Louis Mountbatten by 24 Squadron. It is seen here outside Avro's south side hangars in 1944 waiting for its delivery flight.
The 'P' marking on military aircraft signified a prototypein this case Lancaster IV PW925 which made its maiden flight from Ringway on 9th June, 1944. In its production form, the Lincoln, as it was renamed, was planned for large scale use in the Pacific theatre. Instead, with cessasion of hostilities, it played an important role at home in the RAF's newly found peace time role.
Some 90 U.S. Air Force Douglas B.26 Invader light bombers passed through Fairey's for overhaul between April, 1955 and November, 1957. All returned to the United States except for 12 which went to the French Air Force. This example is parked at the side of Hangar 4, now used by Dan Air Engineering.
In the immediate post war period, Fairey's were heavily involved with modification and overhaul work at Ringway. In addition to working on Barracudas and Fireflies, they handled large numbers of Mosquitoes and Yorks as well as some Beaufighters. Seen at Ringway in July, 1948 is D. H. Mosquito '301' destined for the Dominican Air Force.
The highly unusual research delta wing FaireyF.D. 1, VX350, was assembled at Ringwayin May 1950. Although taxying trials and some high speed runs were made, the restricted runway length precluded any attempts at flying. It was dismantled and taken by road to A&AEE Boscombe Down where it first flew on 12th March, 1951, in the hands of Fairey's chief test pilot, Gordon Swale.
Many Fireflies were converted at Ringway to target tugs and unpiloted target drones, the latter painted in an eye catching red and yellow scheme. WB257 was an A.S. 5 antisubmarine varient converted to the prototype U.9, pictured here on Fairey's apron in 1956, parked next to a Ringway-assembled Gannet.
TheJindivik was an Australian-designed and built unpiloted target drone for which Fairey's obtained a contract to modify and assemble 49 examples for the Ministry of Aviation for use at the RAE Aberporth and Llanbedr ranges. Australian registered A92 233 sits on its launch trolley on Fairey's apron in 1962. In the background, work continues on the construction of the international pier while two BEA Viscounts sit on the south bay as an Aero Commander taxis past.
Fairey's used to overhaul the fleet of their own subsidiary, Fairey Surveys Ltd. at Ringway. Dakota 4 G-AMCA, receiving attention in front of Hangar 1 in October, 1974, became part of the Air Atlantique fleet. A sister ship, G-AHCT, was not so fortunate as it was sold to the airport fire service and, having had its wings removed, was subsequently burnt beyond further use in 1975 during the annual CAA inspection.
Towards the end of Fairey's aviation activity, Fairey Britten-Norman Trislander 2's G-BEDM and 'Nareparkedoutside Hangar 1 in December, 1976, waiting attention for fitting out and delivery. 'DM was sold in
Taiwan asB-11112 while 'DN became VP-VAG of St. Vincent and Grenadines Air Service. On the left is resident Cessna F. 172M G-BAEO.
The last war-time RAF unit moved away from Ringway on 28th March, 1946, when No. 1 Parachute Training School left for Upper Heyford. Not unnaturally, it led to a noticeable reduction in movements at the airport.
Although restrictions on civil flying had finally been lifted on 1st January, 1946, Ring way's first recorded post-war civil movement did not take place until the 5th, when Olley Air Services flew a charter arriving from Speke at 12.02 to pick up a Daily Express reporter, leaving for Ouston, Northumberland, at 12.43 and returning at 15.55 same day.
A significant visit took place on 11 th January when a party of Ministry of Civil Aviation officials arrived in an Anson for a one hour stop to commence negotiations on Ringway's future and control. These were to eventually prove to be very protracted before Manchester's councillors won the day.
George Lamb had been appointed airport manager on the untimely death of his predecessor Sam Hill in August, 1943, and he adopted a major role in the negotiations. He, too, was to die in office, on 25th May, 1950.
Aviation wise, it was a slow revival. The next bout of activity did not take place until March when Air Taxis of Barton operated a series of charters using a Proctor and a Rapide. The first post-war visitor was a Belgian registered Anson of the Belgian Congo which flew from Croydon via Ringway to Woodford on 25th March.
Initial RAF visitors given in the airport log were four Harvard trainers of No. 3 SFTS which made an emergency landing en route Lossiemouth to South Cerneyon 26th March.
Possibly the first resident was Auster Autocrat G-AGXN which was delivered to Brady Shutters on 24th April. It was later bought by Bruce Martin who formed Airviews at Ringway, operating the aircraft from 1949 to 1966 on charters, photographic and pleasure flights. It still exists today, based in Lincolnshire.
Meanwhile, the negotiations regarding the future
MGWAY POST WAR
of Ringway's ownership continued in expanded form when a party of Ministry of Civil Aviation, BEA and BOAC officials arrived in a BOAC Dakota on 8th May.
Scheduled services from Manchester finally recommenced in June 1946 after a gap of nearly seven years. As with many developments at Ringway, the first service was by a foreign airline; an Air France Dakota arrived from Le Bourget Airport, Paris, at 13.05 on 16th June, to drop one passenger and pick up a V.I.P. party of 18 passengers.
The party returned next day in another Dakota which stayed overnight and then operated the first public service at 09.39 on 18th June with three fare-paying passengers. Thereafter, good loads were carried on the thrice-weekly 2Vi hour schedule, which was operated during the winter with Scottish Airlines Dakotas until Air France aircraft resumed the route on 4th March, 1947.
The second schedule was introduced on 15th July, 1946, when Isle of Man Air Services resumed their pre-war route to Ronaldsway. A Rapide took six guests at 10.15, followed by a second machine which brought two fare-paying passengers in at 13.43, leaving with six passengers half an hour later. The service was then thrice daily.
Although not scheduled as such, Skyways made a series of daily early morning freight flights to Dublin using their Rapide, carrying 800 lb a trip between 31st July and 30th August.
A further schedule was introduced on 29th July, this time by Railway Air Services' AvroAnsons. Two aircraft made V.I.P. flights in the morning, flying between Croydon, Ringway and Belfast and back. The first paying passengers left for London at 17.04 on the flight returning from Belfast: the service then operated twice a day in each direction. Occasionally a Rapide replaced the Anson.
The final new schedule in 1946 was started on 22nd October by Compagnie Air Transport from Lille using Caudron Goeland six-seat aircraft. It was to continue rather irregularly into mid-1947 before ceasing entirely.
A fair number of charter flights took place in 1946. Danish Airlines Dakota 'Leif Viking' made two trips on 21st/22nd November carrying hats and other clothing to Copenhagen, while on 5th/6th September an AAC. 1 (Ju52/3m) of Societe Auxiliaire Navigation Aerienne had made two journeys to Nantes with freight.
Charter visits were also made by Auster Autocrats of Bond, British AirTransport, Cambrian and Morton, Airspeed Consuls of Air Transport Charter and Westminster and a PercivaI Gull Four of Air Couriers amongst other types.
An Avro Tudor made several test flights from the 4,200 feet long Runway 24 between 29th September and 3rd October before returning to its home at Woodford.
The first of the highly-popular pleasure flights was started by Mr. Wardle with his Miles Falcon Six. Pleasure flying was to become a profitable operation with an air conscious nation that had not yet been introduced to flying which was to come about with inclusive tour travel.
Military visitors during 1946 were varied and included a Royal Netherlands Air Force Lockheed 12A on 21 st November and Dakota 'K' of 1 PTS which made a nostalgic return with 20 passengers between 24th/26th October.
British European Airways came into being on 1 st February, 1947, and on doing so took over the services of nearly all the U.K. internal airlines, including Railway Air Services and Isle of Man Air Services.
BEA's first scheduled flight through Ringway was Croydon-Manchester-Belfast at 10.05/10.45 using an ex-R.A.S. Anson which picked up two passengers. The first service to and from Ronaldsway used a Rapide which arrived at 10.40, returning later via Squires Gate, Blackpool. BEA introduced Dakotas on a Northolt-Manchester-Belfast service on 6th October.
The airline also had a few Junkers Ju52/3m trimotor veterans. Although these were never scheduled through Manchester, one flew in from Croydon on 7th March and picked up six passengers before leaving for Liverpool. This same aircraft, together with eight others,
arrived at Ring way from 1st September onwards for storage following their withdrawal by BEA the previous day.
They were followed by six BEA Viking 1 's, the first, Vassal', arriving on 2nd October; the last left in October 1948, all having been sold to U.K. charter operators.
Three new schedules commenced during 1947. KLM finally re-introduced their Amsterdam-Manchester service on 20th May, using Dakotas, but continuing to Dublin rather than Liverpool as pre-war.
Aer Lingus commenced a reciprocal service to Ringwayand Amsterdam with a Dakota on 1st July, and by September were operating local Dublin-Manchester flights.
Finally, John Mahieu Aviation/Cobeta (a small Belgian airline) introduced a Dakota service to Brussels in July, sometimes operated by Scottish Airlines aircraft.
The first civil helicopter to visit Ringway was Westland's Sikorsky S.51 demonstrator which arrived amid great interest on 20th September, although an RAF Hoverfly is believed to have visited Fairey's during the war.
Other unusual visitors included a Swiss Cessna T.50 Bobcat, a Wellington 14 of 11 AGS Jurby and three Czech Airlines Dakotas on freight charters for BEA in August.
Sivewright Airways, which was to become a major charter airline in its short history, set up base at Ringway early in 1947. It's first aircraft, an Anson, flew to Le Bourget on 17th January and then took an emigrating family to Johannesburg on 25th January! Another Anson, a Miles Aerovan and a Dakota were added to the fleet before the year's end, the three aircraft being named after local areas ('Mancunia', 'Oldhamia' and 'Ecclesia').
Except for the three runways laid down during the war, airfield facilities in 1948 had hardly altered since 1939. As an example, an Aer Lingus Dakota arriving from Dublin on 11th August had needed the help of four yellow flares fired from the runway van to locate the end of Runway 06 in poor visibility.
Shortly thereafter, Standard Beam Approach, a radio aid giving direction but not height, was installed on 06-24. The subsidiary runways were also re-surfaced and better lighting installed. Whilst the work was in progress, grass strips were marked out in white paint which were used by airliners up to Dakota size.
Despite the restricted length, relatively large aircraft still visited occasionally. On 10th April, World Air Freight Halifax 'East Wind' managed to get airborne in just under the 4,200 feet available on Runway 24, bound
for Rome and Singapore with a 51/2 ton ship's propeller shaft strapped beneath the fuselage.
The first large four-engined passenger aircraft to visit was a Transocean Airlines Douglas Skymaster which arrived from Shannon having diverted from Burtonwood.
Another milestone was the first recorded jet to visit Ringway, a Gloster Meteor F.4 of 245 Squadron which attended a 613 Squadron display on 24th April. The flying testbed Nene Lancastrian with two Rolls Royce Nene jet engines fitted in place of its outboard Merlins also took part, flying past on just the jets with the remaining two Merlins shut down.
More traditional were the three Manchester University Air Squadron Tiger Moths from Barton which took off tied together and safely landed again on the grass, still attached to each other.
Another show, the last ever held at Ringway, was held on 18th September, with a de Havilland Hornet F.3 of 41 Squadron taking part in the flying display.
On the civil side, BEA dropped both the London and Isle of Man services in 1948, the latter being taken over by Rapides of Sivewrights and Manx Airlines. Alitalia introduced a short-lived Manchester-Northolt-Milan-Rome service on 7th April, which operated for just four weeks with Savoia Marchetti SM95 four-engined airliners, the first being 'Marco Polo'.
Swissair began a rather longer lasting route on 12th December when a Dakota flew a V.I. P. party to Zurich, followed by fare-paying passengers on 15th December. On the domestic front, Sivewrights acquired two Rapides and an additional Dakota and Anson during 1948.
Out of the ordinary military visitors during the year included a Sea Otter amphibian, a hack aircraft of the Marine Aircraft Experimental Establishment at Felixstowe on 19th August and a Junkers Ju86 of F11 Wing, Royal Swedish Air Force, while the most common civil types continued to be Autocrats, Rapides, Proctors, Geminis, Ansonsand Dakotas.
The ever rising number of passengers meant that the original 1938 terminal was already unable to cope with the ever increasing number of passengers. As a result, the former Parachute Training School buildings at the rear of Hangar 6 were converted, in time for the official opening on 7th February, 1949 which was performed by Lord Pakenham, Minister of Civil Aviation.
BEA made amends for their 1948 cut back the following year by instigating a Manchester-Birmingham-Paris service with Dakotas on 8th April, the first service
being piloted by Captain Bob Preston who was to remain with the airline at Manchester until his retirement on 31st March, 1975.
KLM introduced another step forward at Ringway with the introduction of the Convair 240 on Amsterdam-Ringway-Dublin services on 13th May, as traffic demanded. This was the first pressurised aircraft to serve Manchester.
Latterly using a Beech 18 and Lockheed 14, Cobeta finally ceased to operate from Brussels in June and Sabena took over the route with Dakotas.
On a tragic note, the first fatal crash involving Manchester passengers occurred on 19th August when a BEA Dakota crashed in the Pennines above Saddleworth inbound from Belfast while descending on a Standard Beam Approach in bad weather. Eight people out of the 32 aboard survived.
London was served by Lancashire Aircraft Corporation Airspeed Consuls en route from Blackpool. A long distance visitor was a South African Beechcraft Bonanza light aircraft which arrived on 23rd March.
The Halle Orchestra made an exchange visit to Amsterdam in April, requiring two DC-4's and two DC-3's for each journey. DC-4's also occasionally appeared on Swissair's Zurich route.
The early 1950s was undoubtedly the Dakota era on scheduled services although Rapides and Ansons appeared on the Isle of Man, Jersey and Newquay services while occasionally heavy loads required KLM and Swissair CV240's.
Elsewhere, the DC-3 reigned supreme. New services were opened by BEA in April and May 1950 to serve Birmingham/Jersey and Glasgowby Dakota!
Pleasure flights were very popular by this time, as can bejudged by the number of companies offering them at RingwaySivewrights (Rapides), Finglands (Anson), Airviews (Austers) and Melba Airways (Rapides).
Newspaper lifts to Ireland were performed on Saturdays using converted Halifax bombers of Lancashire Aircraft Corporation and British American Air Services. Other charter visitors included British Netherlands, Crewsairand Fred Olsenall with Dakotas.
Avery important meeting in the long running saga over airport ownership took place in London with Lord Pakenham on 13th June, 1950, during which the Airport Committee under Alderman Regan pressed strongly against Ringway being taken over by the State.
It was argued that local interests would best be served by local initiative and control and the local
authority was willing to back up its views by paying part of the costs of Ringway's expansion. At the time there was growing hostility throughout the country towards further nationalisation and so the Government wished to avoid any public outcry against a State take over of Ring way.
They were tentatively to agree on a scheme whereby the Corporation would own the airport, but the Ministry would provide certain technical facilities and a proportion of monies needed for development.
Unfortunately, airport manager George Lamb was not to be party to this agreement as he died just three weeks before the meeting. His position was taken over on an acting basis by Ken Thompson until succeeded by George Harvey in January, 1954.
Preparations for extending Runway 06-24, therefore, began in late July. A grass strip was laid down parallel to the runway, but most operators used Runways 20 and 28 with only 3,300 feet.
As this prevented KLM from using its Convair 240's, two Dakotas flew in from Amsterdam on busy days. Swissair followed suit from Zurich until Runway 24 came back into restricted use on 27th January, 1951.
Navigational facilities improved considerably in late January, 1951 with the commissioning of the Ground Controlled Approach (GCA) radar equipment which had come from Liverpool on 31st December, 1950. Prior to this, a Swissair Dakota had required 11 flares to guide it down to Runway 20 in a blizzard during darkness on 30th December.
Haltons and Convair 240's were now able to resume flights, but they were heavily outnumbered by the Dakotas which were supplemented by the commencement of BEA and Aer Lingus nightly mail services to Belfast and to Dublin.
As a result of Government policy, BEA again took over the Isle of Man service and, as a result, after just four years, Sivewright's were forced to cease operations and sell their fleet of eight aircraft.
From April, BEA introduced modernised Dakotas in the form of the 32-seat Pionair version, equipped with airstair doors and named after British aviation pioneers, some with distinct Mancunian links, including 'RMA Sir John Alcock' and 'RMA Roy Chadwick'.
On 27th March, an Air Transport Charter Dakota crashed after taking off from Runway 06 at 00.33 on a newspaper flight. A subsequent enquiry showed that poor checks resulted in a loss of power and the aircraft clipped a tree next to Heyhead Post Office, plunging into
the next field with the loss of both crew.
A major step forward towards attracting larger aircraft was completed on 6th November, 1951 when Runway 24 was opened with a 1,700 feet extension to 5,900 feet with improved lighting and load bearing capacity.
The extension was fully utilised within days when two US Air Force F-84E Thunderjets from Manston diverted from Burtonwood on 10th and 11th November.
On 1 st April, 1952, 24 hours a day operations commenced at the airport. The benefits of a longer runway and continuous operations were felt from the start of the summer schedules on 20th April. BEA introduced the Vickers Viking on new services to Zurich, Amsterdam/Dusseldorf and London over the following few days and Air France opened a summer weekly schedule with Skymasters to Dinard on 28th June.
KLM's Amsterdam service was standardised on Convair 240's and Aer Lingus introduced Bristol Wayfarers on some passenger and freight services from June.
AvroYorks of Skyways appeared on the newspaper lift on Saturdays to Dublin and better facilities began to attract aircraft diverted from London; four BEA Vikings arrived on 30th December from Belfast, Glasgow, Berlin and Gibraltar together with a Swissair DC-3 from Zurich.
Another significant diversion occurred on 26th November when a Skyways York on a trooping run from London to Jamaica had an engine failure over Liverpool. The aircraft turned to Ringway for a precautionary landing and, after repairs, left on the 29th via Keflavik (Iceland), Gander (Newfoundland) and Bermuda to Kingston, Jamaica, so making the first transatlantic departure from Manchester.
Manchester was now set for the future. In 1952, Ringway handled 163,000 passengers1 Vi times more than Liverpool, compared to the situation in 1947 when Speke had handled twice as many as Manchester.
Negotiations with the Ministry of Civil Aviation had been continuing and on the 3rd November another watershed was reached in efforts to retain local control.
The new Conservative Minister, Mr. Lennox Boyd, agreed that not only should Ringway become a major international airport, but that ownership should remain with Manchester Corporation and 75% of the costs of a new terminal and further runway extensions would be borne by the Government.
Further detailed agreements were necessary to put this into practice and these took another two years. However, there was no further doubt on the outcome.
Manchester has the best weather record of any airport in the U. K. As such, it often becomes a spotter's paradise in autumn and jj winter when other airports are forced to I shut because of weather problems and their ■ traffic diverted to Manchester. The first I major diversion day occurred on 30th November, 1946 when Speke was closed; Aer Lingus Dakota EI-ACM, BEA Junkers Ju52/3m G-AHOCandan unidentified BEA Dakota await departure from Ringway
A one hour meeting between Ministry of Civil Aviation officials and Manchester Corporation representatives on 11th January, 1946 to begin negotiations on the future of Ringway was deemed important enough to allow the press access. The Daily Express photographer recorded an apparently optimistic Corporation team if the smiles on the faces of airport committee chairman Alderman Tom Regan (centre rear), Town Clerk Philip B. Dingle (to Regan's left) and airport manager George Lamb are anything to go by.
Alan Charlesworth, on duty in the SEA ships papers and operations section on 6th November, 1947, continues his work with apparent calm, even though the ops board indicates a catalogue of problems; delays and diversions due to bad weather are interspersed with the word 'pranged'! In fact, the picture was set up by the BEA staff as 'a bit of horse play' to quote one of the participants anonymously.
Members of Railway Air Services and the airport departments, 31st October, 1946, just three months before British European Airways took over the Associated Airways Joint Committee companies, including R.A.S. Framed by a war weary terminal building and R.A.S. Anson Mk. 19 G-AHID are (from left behind tail) Norman Wayne (R.A.S.), Arthur Warrington (R.A.S.), Norman
Cairns (R.A.S.), Broughey Bywater (Air France), Don Moores (R.A.S.), G.A. 'Dicky' Dykestra (KLM), George Lamb (airport manager), Pat Brown (Auguras catering), Andrew Duguid (MCA representative), J Berrisford, unknown, George Yuill (Air traffic control) and Sgt Stocks (MCA police).
A rare bird which visited Ringwayon 19th August 1948, Sea Otter amphibian JM952 of the Marine Aircraft Experimental Establishment at Felixstowe, brought back memories of a serious proposal put to the Airport Special Committee during their formulation of the future of Manchester's airport. Being the heyday of the intercontinental flying boats, it had been suggested that the new airport at Ringway should have a water filled channel to provide a landing area!
The way things were for passengers immediately post war is well documented in this photograph. The main hall, pictured on 28th January, 1948, shows a small and spartan check in and waiting area, with just two departures on display, partly hidden behind Manchester Corporation porter Sam Ritson.
Posing in front of one of Sivewright's Rapides in about 1948, Bruce Martin became an integral part of the history of Ringway He formed Airviews in April, 1949 with Auster Autocrat G-AGXN purchased from Brady Shutters Ltd. which he used for pleasure flying and charter work. He survived a serious crash in Autocar G-AJYK near Leicester in September, 1950 and continued to run Airviews until he sold out to Huntings on 10th March, 1981.
The pilot blamed the marshaller and the marshaller blamed the pilot! Either way, it took six months to repair the damage to Lancaster B.lll RE206 which was one of two visiting from RAF Ballykelly to collect spares on 8th December, 1948. The starboard outer engine virtually demolished what was shortly to become the VIP room as part of the new terminal building. The ground floor accommodation (since extended) now houses the Airport Archive.
It was business as usual at Ringway on 24th April, 1948air show day. Parked on the terminal building apron areAer Lingus Dakota EI-ACL, an unidentified Gemini and Rapide G-AKNV. On the grass are Gemini G-AKHJ and Proctor G-AGU. The fire station and fire vehicles can be seen to the right in front of the black Bellman hangar while in the extreme left background is the airport manager's house with the football pitch, much used by the airport staff, behind.
Alitalia's weekly Manchester-London-Northolt-Rome service commenced on 7th April, 1948 with Savoia Marchetti SM95 l-DALL 'Marco Polo'. The service was unfortunately a failure and was suspended after just five weeks.
A civilianisedex-RAFPercival P. 16 Petrel, this -i'r-?=3^^^^^^^^^^^M smartly turned out Q. 6 G-AHOM was named
'Ductility' by its owners, Ductile Steels Ltd. ^^^^^^^^^r^^8H
It awaits its next flight outside Hangar 6,
with the newly converted terminal building I^S^^^
in the background.
You have flown with
Barton an J Rina way
Competition forAirviews came from Photair who produced this publicity postcard of their Fairchild Argus 2 G-AKJA in 1948. They were eventually taken over byAirviews.
Penciled on the back of this particular postcard some years later are instructions on how to land RingwayAero Club's Autocrat G-AGYP.
During his tour of the new terminal facilities (the old PTS buildings at the rear of Hangar 6) after performing the official opening ceremonies on 7th February, 1949, Minister of Civil Aviation Lord Pakenham (later Lord Longford) was accompanied by Manchester's Lord Mayor Miss Mary Kingsmill-Jones. He stopped to discuss flight schedules with BEA station clerk J. Walker, who later became a stewardess on Viscounts with the airline, based at Heathrow.
The world-renowned Halle Orchestra made an exchange visit to Amsterdam with a Dutch orchestra on 19th April, 1949. They returned on the 25th on two KLM DC-4's, PH-TDM and PH-TAS with two Dakotas in train carrying the instruments. Note the Esso fuel pump in the foreground.
KLM led the way in May 1949 when it became the first airline to schedule a pressurised airliner through Ringway. The 40 seat Convair was put on the Amsterdam-Manchester-Dublin service when loads demanded, commencing with PH-TED
'Gerard Terborch' on the 13th, which created much interest after it parked in front of Hangar 6. In the background are a Dragon Rapide and Proctor 5 G-AKEB of William Wilson and Sons which visited from Yeadon.
■HBj Sivewright Airways started operations
at Ringway in early 194 7 and went on to become a major charter airline until it was wound up in April, 1951. Miles Aerovan 4 G-AJOI 'Oldhamia', complete with the latest in ground handling equipment borrowed from 1 Air France, is seen outside the original
terminal building hangar in April, 1949, two months after the terminal was closed.
Bertram Mills, the circus entrepreneur, owned Hornet Moth G-ADKK which shared the old terminal hangar with Sivewright Dakota 3 G-AKSM 'Bartonia'on 28th May, 1949, The Dakota, pictured here being readied for a freight charter (note the passenger seats stacked behind), was later sold to Iceland Airways and delivered on the 8th March, 1951 asTF-ISB.
BEA Dakota 3 G-AGZD comes in over Yewtree Lane to land on Runway 20 late on during a windy day in 1949. Sivewright and Airviews did good business from their pleasure flying kiosks; the gates to their left marked the access to the northern dispersal
area constructed during the war. BEA employees Les Jones and Don Moores were employed on alternate weekends by airport manager George Lamb to provide a commentry for spectators on the flying and to play records in between times.
A typical apron scene at any airport in the early post war years as a BEA Dakota is fuelled and loaded, in this case in front of Hangar 6 on 3rd August, 1949. Wearing the hat with his back to the photographer is Jim Hewitt, who was known as 'Mr. Ringway'. He began his association with Ringway with the original building contractors, Miskins, in 1938, before joining Manchester Corporation with a spell atAvro's during the war. The porter's trolleys are an interesting comparison with today's baggage handling systems. Tim Healey (BEA station engineer) watches from the extreme left while George Absalom, BEA station superintendent, is checking the baggage on the right.
The formal attire of the waiters and the starched tablecloths of the Ringway Airport restaurant are reflected in the similar surroundings of the restaurant bar, both pictured soon after the opening of the new terminal building in February, 1949. The pictures were posed by airport staff, including Ron Viger (KLM) and Anne Hadfield (MCA) at the table left, and Shiela Price (MCA) with a moustached Wally Caulfield (Aer Lingus) adjacent. Bill Prendergast, who was later to become manager of the British Airways flight catering unit at Heathrow, is the barman.
Melba Airways was a Barton-based operator which flew many charters from Ringway following its formation in 1949. As well as Rapide G-ALDC (previously stored at Ringway as YI-ABF) and Gemini G-AKHJ, they operated Dove 1 G-AJDPin 1950, selling it to Morton Air Services. They ceased operations in early 1952.
Airports and air travel have always been a source of great interest to the press and public alike. On BEA station cashier Les Jones' suggestion, the BBC produced a series often radio programmes on various aspects of airport and airline life, commencing with 'Bealine to Belfast' in 1950. The publicity photograph for the first programme shows the BBC's Eric Jolly interviewing former Manchester City goal keeper Frank Swift (later killed in the Munich air crash) in the company of BEA receptionist Maggie Cowan.
Recording for posterity the first BEA 'Pionair' class improved Dakota to visit Ringway, station assistant Ellis, senior staff officer Piatt, station clerk Talbot, station assistant Cairns, station clerk Cowan, station assistant McLeish and station clerk Milne pose for station cashier Les Jones'camera in front of G-AGJW'Wilfred Parke'on 10th April, 1951. The ex-BOAC machine was typically modified as a 32 seater with an integral cabin door and steps.
Among the exotic types to visit during 1951 was Christian Dior's immaculately maintained Grumman Mallard amphibian
N2966 (complete with integral air stairs) which visited on 11th June from and to Toussus le Noble.
Flight catering as captured by the camera lens on 5th March, 1952. Good British 'stodge' in quantity was the order of the day, prepared here on a chipped enamel tray, a far cry from today's idea of diets and in-flight meals.
Manchester Corporation introduced converted single deck buses to serve the airport in 1946, remaining in service until replaced by the Leyland one and a half
deckers in 1953. Bus no. 64, the first of eight badge.
converted Leyland Tiger TS8's, is pictured in Piccadilly, Manchester with members of the City Council. The driver, Len Thornley, is wearing the original Corporation drivers
Easter, 1952, with Airviews first Dragon Rapide, G-AGDM, parked by the spectators area and about to set off on another pleasure flight. The original fire station is in the background to the right.
Although Skyways operated Avro Yorks on the Dublin newspaper lift from mid-1952, a precautionary diversion into Ringwayby their York G-AHFG following an engine failure over Liverpool en route London-Jamaica, led to the creation of a significant
milestone. After repairs, the aircraft first transatlantic departure from Ringway
departed on 29th November to make the via Keflavik, Gander and Bermuda.
MANCHESTER GOES INTERCONTINENTAL
Coronation year, 1953, was a year of great progress at Ring way. On 20th March, BEA's first production Viscount 701 'RMA Discovery' made the first visit of a turbo-propeller powered airliner to Manchester, giving demonstration flights to travel agents.
Four years later, on 14th March, 1957, the same aircraft was to suffer the fracture of a wing flap bolt on final approach from Amsterdam and crash onto a house on Shadow Moss Road just before Runway 24's threshold, killing 20 on board and two people on the ground.
The popular twin engined Airspeed Ambassador was introduced on 17th April when 'Sir Robert Cecil' of BEA's 'Elizabethan' class arrived at 20.03 from Heathrow with 33 passengers; the type was also introduced on some Jersey services from 3rd July.
Sabena replaced Dakotas on the Brussels service by Convair240'sfrom 21st April. A Bristol 171 Sycamore made the first visit of a BEA helicopter on 11 th May in the course of a training flight from Gatwick. Jersey Airlines replaced Rapides with Herons on their Jersey service, the first arriving on 6th June.
The first service from Ostend started on 13th June, operated by Sabena with a Skymaster which originated in Brussels. This was also Sabena's first schedule into Ringway with the type. KLM used the first aircraft larger than a DC-4 on schedules into Ringway, as traffic demanded, starting on 7th July with a Constellation, followed by a DC-6 on the 18th and a DC-6Bonthe21st.
The last BEA Viking service from Dusseldorf and Amsterdam was operated on 3rd October, replaced by the Ambassador which came on to the route three days later. The Ambassador was also put onto the Manchester BirminghamParis service, commencing 5th October.
Ringway's ultimate elevation into true inter-
continental airport status finally came on 28th October, 1953, when Sabena Belgian World Airlines introduced their 'Manchester Premier'.
A Douglas DC-6B left Ringway at 22.41 for New York with a scheduled refueling stop at Gander. Piloted by Captain G. Jaspis, D.F.C., the aircraft carried 28 guests, including Sabena's President and the Lord Mayor of Manchester, Alderman Abraham Moss. Flight time to Gander was 10 hours 22 minutes against strong headwinds.
The return flight from New York's Idlewild Airport on the night of 29th/30th October took 11 hours 20 minutes non-stop, with 38 U.S. newsmen filling most of the passenger list. The first normal New York service with fare paying passengers was on 4th/5th November via Keflavik and Gander because of headwinds, returning to Ringway direct the following day in 9 hours 48 minutes.
Today, British Airways operates 355 seat Boeing 747's on the route in a scheduled time of seven hours ten minutes.
Sabena introduced a limited seating, first class service, inaugurated with a DC-6 on 26th December and scheduled via Shannon in addition to Gander because of that variant's shorter range.
In complete contrast to the big four engine airliners using Ringway, an interesting visitor on 4th April, 1953 was an EoN Olympia glider of the Derbyshire and Lancashire Gliding Club. The previous day had seen the arrival of a Palas jet assisted Dakota of AigleAzur carrying a rugby team non-stop from Marseilles.
By 1954, the existing facilities were becoming overloaded by the increasing traffic, as passenger figures climbed to 265,000 for the year. This was three times the 1949 level when the terminal had last been adapted. As a result, Number 5 hangar was demolished, the apron area extended, approach, threshold and runway lighting up-graded and the terminal building modified.
The airlines responded by introducing more new services, the most important of which was BOAC's London-Manchester-Prestwick-New York route, inaugurated with Boeing Stratocruiser 'Centaurus' on 7th May. The Lord Mayors of Manchester, Liverpool, Newcastle, Sheffield and York were amongst the 50 guests.
Turbine-powered airliner services from Ringway started on 11 th April when both BEA and Aer Lingus introduced Viscount 700's. Within a few days they were using the type to London, Amsterdam/Dussledorf and Birmingham/Paris, Air France following in July.
A Scandinavian link started on 9th April when Hunting-Clan introduced a Newcastle service with Dakotas which connected with Scandinavian services. Vikings were put on the route in December.
To mark its foremost position, the Airport Committee officially changed the name of Ringway to 'Manchester Airport'on 1st June, 1954 but it must be said that even today, it is not unusual to see the name Ringway being used in the local newspapers.
Sabena stepped up their New York frequency further on 28th June, favourable conditions that day permitting the all tourist class flight to make the first non-stop flight from Manchester to the U.S.A. The eleven passengers were airborne for 12 hours 56 minutes flying at an average speed of 257 m.p.h. forthe 3,350 mile sector.
Another red-letter day for Ringway was 29th September, 1954 when the millionth post war passenger, a Mr. J. Holmes, left Ringway for Ronaldsway, Isle of Man, in a BEA Pionair.
The following month, BEA withdrew Vikings from Ringway routes and on 3rd November, Sabena introduced yet another New York service. This time it was the first ever mixed passenger/freight operation from Manchester, inaugurated with a DC-6A.
On 21st December, KLM operated a charter from Toronto bringing emigrants home for Christmas. The Skymaster flew non-stop from Goose Bay, Labrador, in 9 hours 23 minutes, landing on Ringway's 3,300 feet Runway 28 because of strong crosswinds. Before departing for Amsterdam, the captain agreed to pick up the passengers from an Aer Lingus Viscount whose pilot would not take off because of the conditions.
The regular newspaper lift to Dublin and Belfast was augmented on Christmas day when 68 tons were carried by two Skyways Yorks, two Transair Dakotas and four BEA Pionairs, in addition to the usual Aer Lingus Dakotas and Bristol 170's!
Airwork Ltd. obtained several large contracts to overhaul and modify Sabre jet fighters in the mid 1950's and many of the aircraft passed through a special facility set up in the central south side hangar at Ringway.
All the Sabres had been built to Royal Canadian Air Force contracts by Canadair Ltd., Montreal, and most had served in Europe or Canada with the RCAF before being dispatched to Ringway.
The first three arrived on the 7th April, 1954, Sabre 2's of No. 421 (Red Indian) Squadron having been based at Grostenquin, France. They were modified with extended leading-edges and other items and at least 190 passed through Ringway during the subsequent 24 months, some being serviced at Speke.
The aircraft were painted in Greek and Turkish Air Force markings before delivery in roughly equal numbers to those countries.
Between July, 1955 and September, 1956, some 40 ex-RAF Sabre 4's were modified at Ringway before repainting in USAF markings and delivery to Italy and Yugoslavia. Smaller numbers of Sabre 5'sand 6'swere a [so worked on for the Canadians.
About 20 Lockheed T-33A Shooting Stars also graced the south side in Canadian, Greek and Turkish marks. Visiting aircraft during the contract included RCAF C-45 Expediters, C-119 Flying Boxcars and DC-4M North Stars as well as Greek and Turkish Dakotas.
The Sabres created a lot of interest during test flying. On 3rd July, 1954, a Greek exam pie took off, climbed rapidly to 30,000 feet and then made a supersonic dive, aiming the 'boom' at Airwork, but hitting Styal village instead. Not satisfied, the pilot put his aircraft into a loop, beat up Airwork's hangars at low level, went into a vertical climb with ten upward rolls, turned over on its back and rolled out into another dive before landing!
Later the same day, a Sabre in Canadian colours made a fast touch-down on the rather short 5,900 feet runway, its port brake smoking before coming to a halt, attracting the attention of the ever-ready airport fire service. These antics took place on a busy Saturday in between movements by a KLM Constellation and a BEA Viking. Such a mixture of activities will never be seen againif only for safety's sake!
A report to the Airport Committee in October, 1955 contained a recommendation that a new terminal be designed and built. It foresaw that passenger figures would double to 525,000 by 1963.
The actual figure was to be more than double at 1,205,000. It was a tribute to the team that created the new terminal that the design adopted allowed for great expansion in later phases after its opening to cope with the rapidly increasing numbers of air travellers.
The 1955 situation was less happy in that BOAC were reluctant to land their Stratocruisers on the 5,900 feet runway at night when it was raining and so there was a break in service between 11 th December and 10th January. Meanwhile, Sabena and Swissair continued their DC-6B operations undisturbed.
A continental operator again stole a march when Swissair introduced the first transatlantic scheduled freight service on 19th February, with a Skymaster operating Flight SR790 Zurich-Basle-Manchester-Shannon-Gander-New York.
Airwork followed for Britain on 1st March using two leased Transocean Airlines' Skymasters on a Heathrow-Manchester-Prestwick-Gander-Montreal-New York routing and later deploying a Slick Airways DC-6A before abandoning the route in December.
BOAC did not step into the gap until December
An event which appeared quite insignificant at the time, but was the beginning of a major reason for the airport's dramatic growth, took place on the 29th May, 1955. It was the first inclusive tour service from Manchester in which an Air Kruise Dakota flew to Ostend for Sheffield Air Tours.
A month earlier, Manchester Town Hall had been the scene of a formal luncheon at which a Government representative at last announced agreement that Manchester Airport was to remain under the control of the local authority.
The agreement between Manchester and the Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation, dated 30th March, 1955, was of tremendous importance. Not only
did Manchester get what it wanted from Government, but also the Ministry used the Agreement as a model when it desired to shed control of other municipal airports, starting with Birmingham and Liverpool.
June, 1955 was marked by shipping and rail strikes and these resulted in a spate of charters involving Air France Constellations, KLM Super Constellations and a Tropic Airways York among others.
Hunting Clan began an 'Af ricargo' service via London to Nairobi in July, using Yorks. BOAC had reintroduced Stratocruisers for the summer but they withdrew them again as winter returned. However, a bright feature was the diversion of two Stratocruisers and a DC-4M Argonaut from Heathrow on 30th November.
The first passenger service to Canada was introduced on 23rd April, 1956, when Lufthansa started their 'Manchester Mid-Western' service, routing Hamburg-Dusseldorf-Manchester-Shannon-Montreal-Chicago with Super Constellations. The twice weekly service was unfortunately withdrawn late in the year because of the runway limitations.
BEA's last Continental service still using Dakotas switched to Viscounts on 23rd April when 'John Davis' routed via Birmingham to Dussledorf. Other type changes included Swissair's introduction of Convair440 Metropolitans in July while Sabena used DC-7C'sfrom December on some New York services.
In March, 1956, Eagle Aviation moved into part of the central south side hangar and started to overhaul Oxford and Dakota aircraft, also handling Vikings and Bristol 170's in the following two years.
The last Convair 240 services to Manchester by KLM, Sabena and Swissair ended in 1957. KLM introduced Viscount 803's alongside their Convair 340's from 22nd August when 'Louis Bleriot' arrived while Sabena used Metropolitans from 16th April on the Brussels run.
Aer Lingus were particularly active, beginning a Dublin-Manchester-Brussels- Frankfurt service on 15th April, then a Zurich route on 27th June and introducing Viscount 808's from 13th July.
BOAC returned to the airport again on the 1 st April, using DC-7C'son their Atlantic routes. By 1st November, their frequencies were three a week to New York (one non-stop) and four a week to Montreal (three via Prestwick, one non-stop). However, BOAC yet again withdrew in December, this time because of runway work. Sabena, as always, persevered.
Visiting aircraft in 1957 included Slick and Flying Tiger DC-6's and Seaboard Western and Flying Tiger Super Constellations on frequent charter flights carrying families of Burtonwood-based U.S. Air Force personnel. Derby Airways brought their Miles Marathon 20-seat airliners into the airport while inclusive tour services included Independent Air Travel Vikings.
The airport log showed that Pakistan International produced a Super Constellation on 12th May, while a Royal Navy Skyraider cleared customs on 25th February. The first visit of 'The Whispering Giant', the Bristol Britannia, took place when BOAC provided a demonstration on 10th July.
While initial work on clearance and piling for the first phase of the new terminal commenced during October, 1957, significant advances in facilities were brought in the following year. A much needed 1,100 feet south-western extension to Runway 06-24 was brought into use on 23rd April, giving a total length of 7,000 feet, which necessitated diverting the Wilmslow-Altrincham road around the new threshold.
The runway was once again long enough to permit full weight operation by the largest aircraft at that time, including the DC-7C. BOAC, who had been operating out of Burtonwood, returned yet again on 27th April, making their first daylight non-stop flight to New York the following day.
Eagle Airways introduced Viscount services to Hamburg/Copenhagen in Spring 1958, while Lufthansa started a New York freight service with Transocean Skymasters in February.
A tragic event that still comes to the mind of Mancunians today was the crash of a BEA Ambassador at Munich on the 6th April whilst returning to Manchester from Belgrade with 'Busby's Babes', the Manchester United soccer team. Several famous players were killed in the accident.
On a happier note, a taste of things to come occurred on 30th July, 1958, when Manchester had its first visit by a jet airliner, the French Caravelle.
Scheduled pure jet travel from Manchester was still two years away, however, and the jet props continued to rule meantime. Aer Lingus introduced Fokker Friendships on the focal Dublin service from 16th December.
A significant move occurred in late 1958 when BEA took over Hangar 5A from Fairey's, initially using it to service Viscounts. It was later to become the home of their Super One-Eleven fleet.
An improved Instrument Landing System (ILS) became operational on Runway 06 during 1958, although a 'bend' in the beam of 24 was still a problem.
The last visit of a BOAC Stratocruiser occurred on 3rd February, 1959, when 'Champion' called on the way from Heathrow to Gander whilst returning to the USA for disposal.
Lufthansa returned with passenger services to Manchester on 3rd April with a Super Constellation which left for New York; L1649A Starliners appeared from mid-May. Austrian Airlines began a weekly Viscount service to Frankfurt and Vienna from 5th April and BOAC first used a Britannia on a scheduled service to New York on 16th April.
May saw the introduction of a daily BEA freight service Heathrow-Manchester-Glasgow (Renfrew), firstly with Dakotas and then with Yorks.
On the military front, the closure of Burtonwood U.S. Air Force base brought many visits by C-47, C-54, C-119, C-124 and C-130 transports from May onwards. As a complete contrast, two German Harvards made several skywriting sorties using smoke generators during early October.
The major development at Manchester Airport in 1960 was clearly the introduction of the first jet airliner service. Again, the way was led by a continental operator and once more it was Sabena. Boeing 707-329 OO-SJD departed for Shannon and New York on 1 st June, a direct flight to Idlewild not being possible because Runway 24 at 7,000 feet was too short.
BOAC introduced their Rolls Royce powered Boeing 707-436'sthat same October via Prestwickto New York, but only 29 out of the first 49 scheduled flights came through from London because of the limitations of Runway 24too short, poor drainage, a hump in the middle and no ILS available.
A shipping strike in August brought an intensive operation by Canadian Pacific Britannia 314 'Empress of Santa Maria' which left nightly between 14th and 17th August, returning via Prestwick to pick up oceanic weather forecasts.
On the first night, the 14th, the Britannia took off from Runway 24 at 00.42 with 111 passengers and 8 crew, operating at maximum all-up weight, actual flying time to Dorval being 9 hours 56 minutes.
A local operator, Overseas Air Transport, set up base in the original terminal hangar towards the end of the year with two Herons which they used for ad hoc U.K. and European charters.
During the summer, Viscounts predominated25 being noted on 30th July, including 19 of BEAbut only four Pionairs. Holidays in Eire were popularAer Lingus deployed four Viscounts, four Dakotas and three Friendships that same day.
BOAC introduced a DC-7F freight service from 10th December on the Heathrow- Manchester-Gander-Montreal-New York route.
During the first quarter of 1961, the troublesome Runway 06-24 was extended by a further 500 feet at the north-east end, with much of its total length grooved to permit better drainage and thus better aircraft braking.
On 14th April, local resident Auster Autocrat G-AGYP crashed nearWithington Hospital whilst on a banner towing sortie from Manchester Airport. This practice was deemed to be vulnerable to engine failure and was banned shortly after until being reinstated in 1985.
On Wednesday, 14th June, a Sabena Boeing 707 with a light payload omitted Shannon and subsequently made the first non-stop jet flight from Manchester to New York. By winter, 1961, heavier take-offs were possible in colder weather and up to 120 passengers travelled on intermittent direct flights.
Air France introduced the first jet service to a European destination on 1 st June when Caravelle 'Guyenne' operated AF960/961 from and to Paris (Orly). BEA services in summer utilised only four Pionair runs per week (to Belfast via Isle of Man), all others being Viscounts.
Whilst nothing to do directly with the airport, but possibly a pointer to the future of aerial transport, Russian astronaut Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space, flew from and to Heathrow on the 12th July by BEA Viscount for a meeting in Manchester. He was cheered by large crowds during his brief visit.
Inclusive tour services in 1961 were on the increase at Manchester, operated by Aer Lingus (Dakota), Air Safaris (Hermes and Viking), Aviaco (Skymaster and Convair440), Balair (Viking), Channel (Viking), Dan Air (Bristol 170), Overseas Aviation (Canadair Four), Silver City (Dakota), Soc. Aerea Meditt. (DC-6B) and Tradair (Viking).
The new control tower opened in April 1961 and with the imminent destruction of the old terminal complex, light aircraft based at Manchester were moved to the south side by September.
Recently delivered Manchester Corporation Transport Department Leyland 'one and a half deck'airport bus no. 33 waits outside the airport terminal building on 28th October, 1953, having brought passengers forSabena's inaugural Manchester-New York flight. The 41 seater fleet replaced aging converted pre-war TS8 single deck buses conveying passengers between the Royal Exchange Air Terminal and the airport.
A taste of things to come. The first production Viscount, BEA's Series 701 G-ALWE 'RMA Discovery' made the first visit of a turbo-prop powered airliner on 20th March, 1953 when it gave demonstration flights to travel agents. While this particular aircraft crashed on approach to Ringway on 14th March, 1957 with a tragic loss of life, the Viscount has become the longest serving type on scheduled services at Manchester, British Air Ferries and Manx Airlines still operating them in 1988. The Shell-BP fuel bowser looks distinctly old generation against the sleek lines of the Viscount.
Sabena's Captain Jaspis checks the port inner Pratt and Whitney R-2800 piston engine as BEA station engineer Tim Healey signals ignition prior to the departure of DC-6B OO-CTH at 22.41 on 28th October, 1953, on the first scheduled intercontinental
passenger service from Ringway. Aboard the 'Manchester Premier' were Sabena's President and the Lord Mayor of Manchester, Alderman Abraham Moss, who flew to New York via Gander for a refuelling stop.
An article in the Manchester Evening Chronicle on 10th January, 1954, recorded that ''members of the new RingwayAero Club are eager to get airborne in their Auster Autocrat trainer". The aircraft, G-AGYPwas
subsequently sold to Airviews and later crashed in a playing field next to Withington Hospital on 14th April, 1961, during an advertising banner towing flight, killing the pilot, Rowland Longhurst.
RingwayAero Club members pose for the Chronicle photographer during a teaching session on meteorology. BEA employees stenographer Ann Clark, duty officer John Evans and station cashier Les Jones (also club secretary) listen to Vernon Molloyofthe Met. Office in January, 1954. The club, which had the active support of Basil de Ferranti, was disbanded in 1957.
A typical apron scene outside Hangar 6 during 1953 as passengers disembark from KIM Convair240 PH-TEH 'Pierterde Hoogh' añera flight from Amsterdam. International passengers used the doorway at the extreme right of the building while domestic passengers went through the doors at the right hand end of the hangar. The hangar and offices were originally used by No. 1 PTS; the front ground floor offices (since extended outwards) now house the Airport Archive.
Delivered new to Aer Lingus on 26th March, 1954, V.707 ViscountEI-AFY'St.Breandan' taxies towards the apron later in the year. The south side hangars are visible in the background under the tail.
BOAC finally responded to Sabena's North Atlantic challenge when it inaugurated a Manchester-New York service on 7th May, 1954 using Boeing 377 Stratocruiser G-ALSC 'Centaurus'. Departing on BA525 at 19.25 using Runway 24, the aircraft staged through Prestwick. The trolley on the extreme left of the picture was the mandatory emergency fire fighting equipment, consisting of 20 lb. of gas in 210 lb. bottles. There was just one fireman on apron duty (no matter how many aircraft were present), always fully rigged in accordance with standing orders from chief fire officer Frank Pyattwhatever the weather!
Regarded by air enthusiasts as an act of during a training exercise. Seen here behind
vandalism, Sword fish III NR946, complete the fire station on 29th August, 1954, the
with engine and propeller, was towed from remains were laid to rest as part of the
Fairey's to the Airport Fire Service training foundations for the extension of the main
area where it was subsequently destroyed runway
Bellman Hangar 5 has been demolished and the apron extended to cope for additional traffic in this 1957 view. Three airport buses await departure behind Hangar 6 while the ground floor airside extension to the
terminal can be dearly seen. On the apron are two BEA Dakotas, a BEA Viking, Aer Lingus Bristol 170 EI-AFTandAir France V. 708 Viscount F-BGNT. Note the lack of parked cars! The Swordfish remains
languish between the two remaining black Bellman Hangars behind the fire station.
Proof positive of Manchester's position as a major airport came on 29th September, 1954, when the millionth post war passenger was recorded. As he boarded BEA Pionair flagship G-ALYF 'RMA Pionair' bound for the Isle of Man, Mr. J. Holmes (right) was presented with an inscribed wallet by airport chairman Sir Lionel Biggs. It took eight years from 1946 to reach the million mark; one million passengers in a year was reached in 1962, while that number in just one month first occurred in June 1987!
A big step forward for the airport fire service in 1955 as the war-time steel helmet gives way to a lighter weight visor helmet, here being inspected by chief fire officer Frank Pyatt having been signed out bystoreman Sid Johnson (left).
Ringway was policed by the Air Ministry Police until 1st April, 1948, when all civil airports came under the newly formed Civil Aviation Constabulary. As a result of the negotiations with Government representatives, Manchester Corporation took over the policing of Ringway on 1 st April, 1954, with the formation of the City of Manchester Airport Police under Senior Constabulary Officer Sergeant Tom Lewis. Pictured soon after the changeover are (rear, left to right) Constables Bill West, George Tetlow, Harry Walton, John Mills and Harry Eaves. Front row from left: Constables Alf Rowe, Harold Mellor, Phil Toft and Syd Barnett, with Tom Lewis centre.
Turned out as smartly as their fire appliances Rhodes, Bill Pickles, Derek Thornley G.
in front of the airport fire station, members Everett and Gil Wrigley Front row left to
of two duty watches pose for their right: Bernard Cunningham, Jack
photograph during 1957. Back row left to Houraghan, Frank Pyatt, George Pitt, Jim
right: Pete Townley GeofSoutham, Dusty Lewtas, Derek Nugent and Fred Turnbull.
The vehicles are a Fordson WOT. 1 foam tender HXA748, Austin K6 C02 tender HXA947, Merryweatherfoam tender EVR474 (partly hidden) and Bedford water tender HYK390.
As Ringway continues to develop, wartime memories remain. A BEA Pionairand Dragon Airways Heron await their next passengers during 1954 framed by temporary buildings erected ten years earlier and the derelict outbuildings of Ringway Hall Farm. Dragon Airways was born to operate pleasure flights from Butlins Holiday camp at Pwllheli from June, 1953 and developed to include a scheduled Manchester-Newcastle service by June, 1955. The airline was eventually absorbed into Silver City Airways in February, 1957.
A far cry from today's facilities, especially considering that flying was the domain of the few, passengers await their flight seated on metal frame chairs in somewhat spartan surroundings. This was the forward waiting area to gate one for domestic passengers; the double doors led directly to the apron area in front of Hangar 6.
The largest aircraft operated by the independent airlines during 1955 was the Avro York. G-AMXM of Hunting Clan approachs Runway 06 with Jacksons Brickworks and the Standard Beam
Approach (SBA) reaching above the skyline. A predecessor of today's Instrument Landing System (ILS), SBA was a purely audio aid to enable the pilot to locate and maintain his heading on the runway centre line.
Ex. 92 Squadron Sabre F. 1XD728 (previously Royal Canadian Air Force 19729) parked south side at Manchester on 30th October, 1955 with its air brakes extended awaiting
attention byAirwork. Over 250 Sabres were refurbished byAirwork in the mid 1950s for delivery to the air forces of Greece, Turkey, Italy, Yugoslavia and Canada.
Following Swissair's introduction of the first Manchester transatlantic all-freight scheduled service the previous month, Airwork began a Heathow-Manchester-Prestwick-Gander-Montreal-NewYork
service on 1st March, 1955 using two leased Transocean Airlines Sky masters (N5288N illustrated) and a Slick DC-6A until the service ended in December. Behind can be seen a line up of Sabres outside Airwork's hangar.
Nighttime, 13th March, 1956, and resurfacing work is held up briefly as the workmen pose for the City Engineer's photographer. The work took place on the
fantail, opposite today's Link D and was required to improve the profile of the runway.
The workshops were situated between the original terminal hangar and Bellman Hangar 3 (both can be seen in background). A Lister baggage vehicle makes a suitable prop for a group photograph of airport hands in 1956 including (on vehicle) Pete Wood and Brian Smee with Bill O'Toole standing at the front.
Away from the public's gaze, many of the essential services to keep an airport and the airlines operating go unrecognised. The Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation's radio equipment room was situated on the apron side of the original tower building in 1956. Beyond the control desk, which contains a Marconi CR100 beacon monitoring receiver and two field telephones (linked to the SBA and ILS localiser cabins on the field) are seven Simon recorder racks (one per operational frequency) and, to the extreme right, a time injection unit rack.
A busy moment for Manchester's air traffic controllers on a summer's afternoon in 1956. The control tower was in use from 1939 until April, 1961 when the existing building was opened. The runway in use was 20 as indicated in the QFU panel in the centre of the picture. The flight progress strips seen on the extreme right are still in use today (compare with the 1986 picture of the visual control room), while the Lampson tube below was used to transport information to the meteorological and telecommunications offices on the ground floor.
f fr. <r
A nostalgic scene in spring 1957 with the Road. The Standard Vanguard parked by the
entrance to the civil air terminal in the entrance steps should not be confused with
foreground and the soon to close RAF the Vickers Armstrong version which was
station in the background across Ringway operated by BEA just a few years later!
Passenger facilities in the 1950s were
public facilities in today's check-in hall and
functional and paid lip service to aesthetic concourse which cover nearly 500,000 sq.
design and passenger comfort. The traffic ft.; the W. H. Smith shop alone encompasses
hall in 1957, including a W.H. Smith & Son 5,200 sq. ft. kiosk, compares interestingly with the
The international traveller's first impression of Manchester in 1957! Passengers exiting customs passed down this corridor, being
Inclusive tour operators continued to use the off past Independent Air Travel's G-AHPR unidentified Bristol 170 is refuelled in the
coldly offered the services of the local coach, Viking for some years. Ex BEA Viking IB G- (also ex BEA) during August, 1958. An background,
post office and bank.
AJBN operated by Eagle taxies out for take
Passengers either driving up the ramp to the level 5 departure point or around the roundabout below heading for the long term car parks would be excused for not noticing Building 74. Built as the replacement for the airport manager's accommodation following the demolition of Air House as part of the new terminal developments, it now houses the airport's car parks section. On 27th April, 1957 when this picture was taken, the airport police shared the accommodation with freight agents Harrison & Co., LEP, BEA Cargo and Air Agents Association Ltd.
Used in air traffic control's 1959 Christmas card, this aerial view of the construction of the 1962 terminal puts the position of the old and new buildings fully into perspective. The original terminal was not demolished until the last possible minute.
Work continues on the new control tower block in the background as Aer Lingus V.808 Viscount EI-AJJ 'St. Columban' is pictured on the apron outside Hangar 6 framed through a window of Aer Lingus F.27 Friendship EI-AKE 'St Feidhlim'on 19th May, 1959.
To take account of immediate post war traffic, Manchester Corporation erected a building taken from RAF Heaton Park on a blitzed site in St. Peter's Square in May, 1947. Costing £2,600, it was planned for use as a City air terminal for three years. It was October, 1952, before a suitable permanent site had been located in the Royal Exchange buildings, pictured here in 1958. Previously occupied by the Manchester Limited Restaurant, and converted at a cost of £34,000 with an expected life span of 20 years, its closure followed the opening of the new airport terminal in 1962.
Smartly painted USAF C-47D 0-76656 visited Manchester on 4th June, 1960. Operated by 66 TRW based at Laon, France, during the 1960's, the aircraft is still in service today, having been sold in Bolivia in January 1981 as CP-149. It is currently operated by Bolivian airline Transalfa.
The new generation; BOAC Rolls Royce Conway pure jet powered Boeing 707-436 G-APFJ was delivered on 21st September, 1960 and is seen at Manchester passing Rolls Royce Dart prop jet powered V. 701 Viscount G-AMOB 'William Baffin'. Piston engined airliners, much revered by aircraft enthusiasts, are rarely seen today
Perhaps enthusing Manchester folk as to the future of air travel from Ringway, Yuri Gagarin, the first man officially in space, was beseiged by well wishers when he landed on 12th July, 1961 for a one day visit to the city as a guest of the Iron Moulders Union. He flew from and to Heathrow in BEA Viscount G-AOYN.
Public interest in the new airport terminal montage of the development, taken from line up as a BOAC Britannia lands. Partly walk out to a sister machine in the old BEA
continued unabated as the old gave way to the new terminal roof on 2nd March, 1961. hidden behind the existing terminal is a BEA livery. To the top right can be seen the Fairey the new. The Daily Express carried this An Aer Lingus Viscount awaits clearance for Viscount in the new livery while passengers complex with the original Hangar 1.
MANCHESTER JOINS THE BIG LEAGUE
Passengers having increased tenfold in 13 years, 1962 was the last year in which the 1949 terminal was used. Intolerable pressure existed not only on passenger accommodation but also on car and aircraft parking facilities, particularly during the summer peak periods.
Both BOAC and Sabena had considerable difficulty in manoeuvering their Boeing 707's on the confined apron area, and so use had to be made of additional space adjacent to the uncompleted domestic pier.
Northern Executive Aviation set up base at Manchester in June, 1962 with a four seat Cherokee, but it was another three years before this now significant general aviation operator acquired further aircraft.
Overseas Air Transport, meanwhile, had changed its name to Mercury Airlines and operated scheduled services to Exeter and Sandown, their Herons achieving an 82% average load factor. Another regular weekly service started on 20th May when Eagle operated a DC-6Ato Newcastle and Bergen.
Early in the year, BEA began to replace Dan Air's Yorks by their own Argosies on freight services to London and Glasgow.
The most significant step forward in Manchester Airport's facilities occurred with the opening of the present terminal building. The official ceremony was performed by H.R.H. Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, on 22nd October, 1962. He was escorted by the Lord Mayor, Alderman R.E. Thomas, and airport director George Harvey.
The buildings were brought into use on 3rd December, six hours ahead of schedule when the airport police opened the children's nursery for Mrs Shirley Ward from Sheffield with her two small daughters who had arrived after midnight, too late to find a hotel.
The first passenger to check in at the new
terminal was 43 year old John Davies of Whalley Range who arrived half an hour early for his flight to Glasgow so that he could see the chandeliers in the concourse.
The Airport Committee had been very forward looking with its specification for the new facilities, and Manchester was the first European airport to have two piers by means of which passengers could be under cover right up to the time they boarded their aircraft.
The domestic pier was 720 feet long and could handle nine aircraft self-manoeuvering while the international pier was 960 feet long with facilities for 11 aircraft. The aircraft apron was 200,000 square yards compared with 30,000 square yards on the old apron, which subsequently became the freight aircraft area.
Cars were not forgotten, and 1,300 parking spaces were created in front of the terminal. A major innovation was the provision of a hydrant system for refuelling aircraft, by which fuel was pumped through underground pipes to the aircraft stands.
Unfortunately, because of bad weather during construction, the network of pipes had become contaminated by water and sand seepage, and it took until 1965 to fully clear the system to the exacting standard to meet aircraft requirements.
The Manchester Zone Airways Radar unit moved from Antrobus near Stretton to Manchester Airport in March, 1963, being housed in the Tower Block.
In April 1963, BOAC introduced the first transatlantic air service to originate at Manchestera thrice-weekly Boeing 707 service to New York via Prestwick, stepped up to a daily service during the peak summer period.
A more modest route was started by Mercury Airlines with a Heron which left for Newcastle on 1 st April on a three times a week run, rising to five a week from 1st July.
Wing Commander Maurice A. Newnham, OBE,
DFC, former Commanding Officer of No. 1 Parachute Training School, unveiled a memorial on 18th May to the 60,000 paratroopers who trained at the airport during World War Two. Today the specially commissioned stained glass screen can be seen by the entrance to the domestic pier.
During the latter part of the year, Aer Ling us introduced the Carvair cargo version of the Skymaster on freight services to Dublin while on the 18th December, BEA introduced the first Trident to Manchester, with a demonstration flight to Glasgow's Renfrew airport.
The only services using jet aircraft in 1963 were to New York (3 Sabena and 7 BOAC Boeing 707's weekly), Paris (6 Air France Caravelles weekly) and Zurich (1 Swissair Convair 990 and 2 Caravelles weekly on night flights).
Inclusive tour passengers, however, doubled to 190,000. Airlines and types serving the IT. market were very varied although there was a distinct lack of turbine-powered equipment.
The timetable showed the following:
DC-3/Dakota (Aer Lingus, BUA), DC-4 Skymaster (Balair, Channel, Starways), DC-4M Canadair 4 (Derby Airways), DC-6B (Adria, Aviaco, UAT), DC-7C (Caledonian), Constellation (Euravia), Super Constellation (Aviaco, Iberia), Friendship (Braathens), Herald (Itavia) and Viscount (Starways).
An interesting aircraft from the list was the Channel Airways Skymaster which was fitted out with no less than 88 seats for its runs to Ostend compared with only 40/44 seats in DC-4's visiting in 1949/50.
Summer 1963 freight services used Dakotas of KLM, Sabena and Aer Lingus, DC-7F's of BOAC, Argosies of BEA and Viscounts on the Belfast mail service.
A sad and retrograde event which occurred on 31 st March, 1964 was the withdrawal of Sabena Belgian World Airlines from the New York route because the
British Government would only permit them to operate two services a week.
Sabena had pioneered the route for more than a decade and had consistently led the way in improving their service to passengers, including first with a daily service and first to use jets.
To replace their 707's and to remain competitive, Sabena introduced Caravelles on the Brussels service from 1st April. That same month, BOAC replaced their Britannias with Boeing 707's on the service to Montreal and Toronto via Prestwick. Two months later, Caledonian Airways operated the longest non-stop flight to date from Manchester when a DC-7C left for Leopoldville on 23rd June, a distance of 4,100 miles.
Iberia introduced scheduled night flights to Barcelona and Palmafrom 3rd June, while Air France operated the Breguet 763 on its Manchester-Paris freight services from 2nd September.
The first visit of the highly popular VC-10 took place on 29th September when a BOAC Standard VC-10 diverted from Heathrow on a Nigerian Airways service.
Whilst looking forward, the events of the past were not forgotten. A memorial to Manchester's famous sons, John Alcock and Arthur Whitten Brown, was unveiled by the Lord Mayor on the 29th October, 1964, to commemorate their first non-stop transatlantic flight in June 1919. Designed by Elizabeth Frink, it takes the form of a symbolic winged man and was originally situated at the southern end of the main concourse. Today, it resides outdoors near the Greater Manchester Police offices.
Work started on lengthening Runway 24 yet again. This time 400 feet was added at the north-east end to give a total length of 7,900 feet, becoming operational on 25th January, 1965. After protracted troubles, the hydrant fueling system became fully operational during the year.
The first BAC One-Eleven, for many years the most common type to be seen at Manchester, arrived on 8th February. It was a British United Airlines aircraft giving demonstration flights to travel agents. BUA later introduced the type on their German trooping flights from Manchester. Aer Lingus brought a One-Eleven in for a proving flight on 27th May, operating the first schedule through Manchester on 7th June on EI650 to Frankfurt.
The first Boeing 727 to visit was a Lufthansa example which diverted from Heathrow on 7th March. Facilities available to the air traveller further
increased on the 6th May when the Lord Mayor, Dr. William Chadwick, opened the 264 bed Excelsior Hotel. Until this time, the only facility nearby was the Airport Hotel on Ringway Road adjacent to the threshold of the extended Runway 24; its garden is always a popular spot for air enthusiasts on a sunny day.
The introduction of the jet age continued unabated, with BEA putting Trident 1 's on their six times a week Paris service from 1st July in place of Viscounts while BOAC demonstrated a VC-10 to the Airport Committee the following day. The first Super VC-10 to visit arrived on 22nd September. It was, as with so many first visits, a diversion from Heathrow.
On the light aircraft scene, Northern Executive Aviation took delivery of their second machine, a twin-engined Piper Aztec, on 27th October. It was put to work immediately, making its first revenue earning flight on a charter to Birmingham and Lydd the following day.
At the end of 1965 there were 22 light and executive aircraft based at Manchester Airport, compared with just six in late 1955. OnlyAirviews Auster Autocrat G-AGXN was present on both dates.
BOAC introduced Boeing 707 freighters on their freight services to Canada and the U.S.A. on 13th January, 1966, replacing leased CanadairCL-44'sof Seaboard Western introduced on 20th October, 1963 and latterly chartered CL-44's from Flying Tigers.
Super VC-10's appeared regularly on the transatlantic schedules, continuing until 1 st May, 1980.
The Lord Mayor, Bernard Langton, visited the airport on 28th January to unveil a plaque to 613 (City of Manchester) Royal Auxiliary Air Force Squadron. The memorial was provided jointly by members of the squadron and the City Council and can still be seen in the concourse near the entrance to the Lancaster restaurant.
SAS Scandinavian Airlines started their first scheduled service from Manchester on 1st April with Caravelles operating Copenhagen-Manchester-Dublin and return.
British United Air Ferries inaugurated a short-lived car/passenger service to Rotterdam on 5th April using Carvairs. A rare visit by a Russian designed aircraft took place on 27th April when an llyushin IL-14M of the Czech Government arrived from Glasgow, leaving for London the following day.
April saw BEA introducing Trident 1 's on existing routes to Dussledorf, Amsterdam, Paris and Zurich. Tridents also appeared on new services to Copenhagen
and Brussels, the latter schedule taken over from Aer Lingus which had its route licence withdrawn after operating it for nine years.
It was not all roses for BEA, however, as British Railways completed the electrification of the Manchester-Euston line in April, 1966. The greatly improved service had an immediate effect on BEA's traffic to Heathrow.
An unusual visitor arrived on 29th September in the shape of a Skymaster owned by Botswana National Airways; the aircraft had visited previously on 16th August, 1955 when owned by Transocean Airlines of Oakland, California.
The first Douglas DC-9 to arrive was from Swissair, replacing a scheduled Caravelle on 4th November. On the local commercial scene, the Manchester Continental Airlines Committee was formed on 23rd November to co-ordinate and improve services to Europe.
Work began on lengthening the main runway once more on 15th March, 1967. The extension was 1,100 feet and was a major task as it included bridging theA538 Wilmslow-Altrincham road, creating four tunnels, two each for road traffic and pedestrians. It was opened on 15th November, 1968.
New services inaugurated in April, 1967 comprised a weekly BEA Comet 4B to Malta, a joint BEA/Swissair freight service to Zurich using Balair DC-4's and a Cambrian Viscount thrice weekly to Cork. Malev Hungarian Airlines operated two freight charters in June using IL-14's and carrying rabbits and pigs.
Sabena created yet another first when they introduced the first scheduled Boeing 727 service through Manchester on 5th July, operating their SN/BE197 freight service routing Brussels-Manchester-Heathrow-Brussels.
The first visit of a stretched Douglas DC-8 occurred on 15th July when a Trans International DC-8-61CF arrived on a charter from John F. Kennedy airport, New York. The same aircraft brought the heaviest load to date on 6th October when 249 passengers and 12 crew arrived from Salt Lake City via Toronto for a refueling stop.
An interesting event on 16th August was the use of a Curtis C-46 Commando of Capitol Airways in Lufthansa colours on BE A/Swissair's freight service from Zurichquite a mix up!
Aer Lingus operated 14 One-Eleven services weekly to the continent during the summer of
1967Amsterdam (five), Frankfurt (three), Dusseldorf (three), Copenhagen (two) and Zurich (one), all of which were subsequently lost through government intervention.
From 7th November, KLM switched one of their Lockheed Electra schedules to Amsterdam to the Douglas DC-9.
A resume of 1967 inclusive tours shows the following picture of airlines and types operatedDC-4 (Invicta), Canadair C-4 (British Midland), DC-6B (Balair, Soc. Aerea Mediterranean DC-7C (Trans Europa, Spantax), Ambassador (Dan Air), Herald (Bavaria), Friendship (Luxair, Balair), Viscount (Austrian, Aer Lingus, British Midland, Treffield), Vanguard (BEA), Britannia (Britannia Airways, Caledonian, Globair), Caravelle (Aviaco, Iberia), Trident 1 (BEA), One-Eleven (British Eagle, Laker), Coronado (Spantax) and Comet (Dan Air).
The listing shows that 1967 was a period of transition, with piston, jet-prop and pure jet aircraft all being employed on holiday services.
It is noteworthy that Dan Air operated just two trips a week by ex-BOAC Comet 4's in 1967, both to Barcelona in 106 seat configuration. Dan Air became the largest operator of Comets, operating them until 1981.
The old 613 Squadron and RAFVR hangars were converted into the cargo centre during 1968, being operated by BEA on behalf of all the carriers.
A nostalgic event during 1968 was the last scheduled Douglas Dakota service from Manchester when Cambrian's CS246/247 flight to Bristol and Cardiff switched to Viscounts at the beginning of October and was extended to the Channel Islands.
The DC-3 had first operated schedules into Ringway in July, 1939 with KLM, so the type served the airport for 29 years, only beaten in longevity by the ubiquitous Viscount.
Some years later, in recognition of the importance of the DC-3 to the airport's development, the Airport Authority intended to place a DC-3 on permanent display outside the terminal building. The plan, was unfortunately dropped, but not before a suitable aircraft had been located.
Two new records were created on the 30th April, 1968, when a Caledonian Boeing 707 made the longest non-stop jet flight from Manchester, covering the 3,450 miles to Toronto with 188 passengers and 11 crew in 6 hours 55 minutes. The aircraft also made the heaviest take-off to date at 131.25 tons, which was a notable
achievement from a runway still only 7,900 feet in length.
Another long distance achievement was made by a World Airways Boeing 707 which arrived non-stop from Honolulu on 21st June, having taken 13 hours for the 7,200 mile flight with the benefit of a following wind and a light load. The aircraft left for Toronto with passengers the following day.
The first regular service to use Russian-built aircraft from Manchester started on 18th May 1968, with TABSO Bulgarian Airlines llyushin IL-18 turbo-prop aircraft opening an inclusive tour route to Varna.
After a recuperation period of over 20 years following their abortive SM95 service, Alitalia returned to Manchester on 1st July, 1968, with a twice weekly Caravelle operation to Milan and Rome. The service was later extended to Dublin, but ceased at the end of October, 1972.
BEA's Super One-Elevens started proving flights from Manchester on 17th July, mainly to Germany. The first revenue earning flights came in November to London, and the type replaced the Trident on most continental flights from April, 1969.
British Eagle went into liquidation on 6th November, 1968, their last operation through Manchester being a One-Eleven on a charter from Frankfurt which arrived that day, leaving for Liverpool at 16.22. Meanwhile, Iberia Spanish Airlines, had inaugurated a Manchester-Madrid service with Ca ravel les on 1 st November.
The 1,100 foot south-west extension to Runway 06-24 was officially opened on 7th January, 1969, nearly two years after work commenced, bringing the total available length to 9,000 feet and enabling regular nonstop flights with aircraft of the day to be made with full passenger loads to eastern U.S.A. and Canada.
To the sadness of many, airport manager George Harvey retired on 21st January after 15 years service, to be succeeded byJackJackman who had previously been airport commandant at Blackpool's Squires Gate.
A further 200 feet north-easterly extension of the main runway and taxi tracks was completed between February and August and the runway width was extended along its entire length from 150 feet to 200 feet by adding hard shoulders, ready to accept Boeing 747 aircraft.
The first aircraft to use the 9,000 feet runway was a Boeing 707 of Wardair (Canada) Ltd., which took off non-stop for Vancouver (4,700 miles) on 7th January,
1969, with 167 adults and 15 children, plus crew. Wardair were to become regular users of Manchester Airport, using Boeing 747, DC-10 and A310 equipment.
BOAC made use of the longer runway from late April by scheduling three of the seven weekly flights direct to New York instead of via Prestwick. Their first scheduled non-stop service to JFK was operated on 29th April using a Super VC-10.
Swissair introduced a daily DC-9 service via Rotterdam to Zurich on 1 st April, 1969. A new airliner type started inclusive tour services from Manchester on 4th May, the Russian-built TU-134 of the Yugoslav airline Aviogenex, operating from and to Dubrovnik. Another new type made its first appearance the same day in the shape of a Fokker F.28 Fellowship of Braathens which arrived from Oslo.
To mark the 50th anniversary of Alcock and Brown's historic transatlantic flight, an exhibition was held at the airport. The Vickers Vimy replica built by British Aircraft Corporation apprentices at Weybridge was flown fromWisleyon 11th June, 1969. The exhibition was open to the public from 14th June to 13th July, during which time 157,000 visitors saw a full display of equipment and personal belongings used by the two men.
Tragedy struck while the Vimy was being prepared for departure on the 14th. Strong sunlight reflecting off the Vimy's burnished engine cowling focused on the canvas covering of the port wing and caused it to catch fire. It was, however, quickly extinguished by the Airport Fire Brigade who were close by and damage was confined to the wings. The aircraft was later repaired to non-flying condition and can now be seen in the RAF Museum, Hendon.
By mid-1969, it was clear that the advent of wide-body aircraft and the continuing growth in Manchester traffic required further expansion of passenger handling facilities.
George Harvey was asked to act as consultant and with a work study group prepared a very detailed and carefully considered proposal for a new long haul pier (today's Pier C), new aprons, taxiways, a multi-storey car park, booking hall, enlarged handling and reclaim areas and ancillary work, based on meeting forecast traffic demands up to 1982.
Projected terminal passengers were 1.65 million in 1969 rising to 2.35m by 1973,3.35m by 1977 and 4.75m by 1982. Using hindsight, we can see that the forecasts were very accurate up to 1973, but that the
1974 fuel crisis and consequent economic depression resulted in slower overall growth up to 1977.
The specification for the expanded facilities was accepted by the City Council in 1970 and work proceeded in phases from then on.
Two smaller schemes which had been initiated earlier were completed in 1970. These were a new purpose-built fire station on the west side near Fairey's apron and an extension to the entire southern face of the terminal building.
Lufthansa started its five times weekly passenger service to Frankfurt on 1 st July, 1970 using Boeing 737's. Later that month, Dan Air introduced the first of their 'City Link' services when a five days a week Bristol-Cardiff-Manchester-Newcastle route commenced on the 27th using Nord 262 29-seat aircraft.
Dan Air's first fatal crash involving passengers in seventeen years operation occurred on 3rd July, 1970, when a Comet 4 crashed into mountains at the end of an inclusive tour flight from Manchester to Gerona, killing all those aboard. Part of the blame was subsequently put on poor navigational equipment at Spanish airports.
Manchester entered the 'Jumbo' age on 17th August, 1970, when BOAC Boeing 747 G-AWN flew in to give a demonstration and familiarisation flight for airport staff. On a smaller scale, the six Sioux AH. 1 helicopters of the 'Blue Eagles' British Army demonstration team visited seven days later to refuel on the way to an airshow.
Scandinavian Airlines System inaugurated a Copenhagen-Manchester freight service using DC-9-32F's on 4th November.
The two million passenger mark was exceeded for the first time in 1971 and to mark the event a silver fruit bowl was presented to Mrs. Alison Turner on 10th December.
Alderman Tom Regan laid the foundation stone of the £8 million new terminal extensions on the 23rd December, 1971. He was then the oldest member of the City Council and had served continuously on the Airport Committee since 1928.
An important event, underlining BEA's confidence in Manchester, was the formation of its Super One-Eleven Division based at the airport. It commenced operations on 1st April, 1971, building up to a total fleet of 18 BAC One-Eleven Series 510 aircraft.
A less pleasant taste of the f uture was the installation during May of an anti-hijack metal detector
for passengers on international flights as a result of a spate of aircraft hijackings the previous year, especially in the Middle East.The measures,however, did not deter the first, and to date only, U.K. hijacking, which took place four years later on a flight from Manchester to London.
BOAC improved their transatlantic services in the summer of 1971. There were three daily flights, all originating at Manchester, during the peak season. A daily Super VC-10 flew to New York (direct on four days). The other services were operated by Boeing 707's via Prestwick, one going to Toronto and the other to Montreal and Chicago.
On 3rd October, 1971, five Boeing 747's diverted from Heathrow to Manchester, justifying the 1970 preparations for handling the type. Today the airport has stands for 18 wide bodied aircraft.
The first visit of the unusual Super Guppy 201 aircraft took place on 22nd November when the first pair of wings for an Airbus Industrie A300B, built by Hawker Siddeley at Chester, was flown to the final assembly lines at Toulouse.
The Russian national airline Aeroflot made its first visit to Manchester on 28th December, 1971 using a TU104 to carry a consignment of rabbits to Moscow. One can only guess at how many rabbits were off loaded compared with the number on the manifest!
All-weather operations came a step closer in January, 1972 when Runway 24 was approved for operation to Category II limits. To achieve this, the instrument landing system had been upgraded and the approach threshold and runway lights supplemented and intensified in order to give unambiguous information to pilots as they emerge from cloud down to 100 feet and only 400 metres from the runway threshold.
By 1 st January, 1972, some 40 executive and light aircraft were based in the central south side hangar, including Northern Executive's four Aztecs, Islander and Twin Comanche.
The first aircraft to be assembled at the airport since 1958 made its first flight on 11 th June. It was a Crosby BA-4B aerobatic biplane which was built to Bjorn Andreasson's design by Crosby Aviation of Knutsford. Two more were to follow in 1973.
The first Lockheed TriStar appeared on 16th August, 1972, when Court Line leased an Eastern Airlines machine to give demonstration flights to travel agents and other interested parties.
Not far behind was Freddie Laker with his Douglas DC-10 'Eastern Belle' which arrived on 23rd
November to display its wide-body spaciousness.
Both aircraft types proved to be immediately popular with both passengers and local residents alikethe latter because of their quietness in comparison with first generation jets.
A particularly busy day for airport staff came on 19th December, when no less than 53 aircraft, including 47 airliners, diverted to Manchester from Heathrow, Gatwick, Luton and other airports, carrying 7,000 extra passengers. There were inevitable delays in handling passengers; 13 airliners arrived in the space of 58 minutes.
Two Laker BAC One-Elevens were particularly unlucky that day. Having diverted inbound from Pa I ma and Athens in the early hours, they left again for Gatwick later that morning, only to be foiled again by renewed fog. They turned tail and diverted to Manchester for a second time!
The large reconstruction programme began to bear fruit in 1973 with the introduction of nose-in parking on the east side of the international pier on 31 st May, eventually increasing the number of aircraft stands from 11 to 14. The new 32,500 square feet departure hall with 34 check-in desks opened on 4th July.
BEA commenced a four times a week joint service with Alitalia to Milan on 1 st April, 1973 using BEA Super One-Elevens. The following day, Laker operated the first ever Advance Booking Charter (ABC) flight on a transatlantic route, when a DC-10 left for Toronto.
Dan Air maintained its close links with Manchester, begun in June, 1953, when the first Boeing 727 revenue service by a U.K. airline left for Alicante on 13th April. Meanwhile, Cyprus Airways introduced a Trident schedule via Brussels to Nicosia on 7th April.
Long-haul services were given a boost when British Caledonian opened a direct scheduled service to New York on 2nd June, using Boeing 707's four times weekly, originating at Gatwick.
Heavy loses on the route, however, forced British Caledonian to withdraw by the end of the year, although a partial replacement was created in the form of a twice daily run to Gatwick to connect with BCal's major route network from there. Heralds were used at first, replaced in later years by One-Elevens.
A source of consternation for many years, Runway 06/24 had been seriously troubling the airport's engineers and airline operations officials for some time. The problem was that the original length laid in 1941 /42 had been built under wartime conditions and had no
proper foundations or drainage. The structure was flexing and breaking up under the weight of the modern airliners using it.
Engineers had been called in to investigate the problem, and they had reported that the runway would be in need of major repair by the early 1980's. The work was estimated to involve a total airfield closure of some eight to twelve months.
To overcome this severe problem, the Airport Committee drew up plans for a second main runway, to be 10,500 feet long and sited parallel to, and 1,500 feet to the southeast of, the existing main runway.
The planning application was submitted in February, 1974, but revised land requirements meant that it had to be subsequently withdrawn. A new application was submitted to the planning authorities on 10th May, 1976.
The main phases of the 1970 expansion plan were officially opened by the Lord Mayor, Councillor Kenneth Col I is, on 25th March, 1974. These comprised the 'Intercontinental' Pier C, complete with the airport's first telescopic air bridges and a new apron, a multistorey car park and terminal extensions.
The first aircraft to use the new pier was an Alia, Royal Jordanian Airlines, Boeing 707 which diverted from Heathrow on the opening day with King Hussein on board. The opening ceremony was delayed while the Lord Mayor went to greet the unexpected arrival who declined his offer to act as guest of honour.
With the opening of the new pier, the domestic and international piers became known officially as Piers A'and 'B' respectively.
Following local government reorganisation on 1st April, 1974, management of the airport was vested in the Manchester Airport Joint Committee, representing the joint equal interests of the Manchester City Council who had fought to retain full control, and the newly created Greater Manchester County Council (GMC).
In May 1974, a Public Enquiry was held to investigate the airport's planning application for a new air cargo terminal with an initial capacity of 200,000 tonnes to be built on the north western side of the airport.
It took 27 months before approval was granted in August, 1976. The airport responded by stating that it would not commence construction until cargo figures showed a sustained upward tendency for a prolonged period!
Cargo figures were disappointing after the steady
growth in earlier years, and the growing practice of trucking to Heathrow for onwards air shipment had made matters worse, even though the Airport Authority had imposed a surcharge on cargo trucked from the airport (£50 in the case of an ad hoc licence) in an attempt to reduce the practice.
From any point of view, 1974 was not a good year, either nationally or for Manchester. The fuel crisis, caused by a sharp rise in oil prices, had badly affected the world's economic order, bringing a loss of confidence and loss of consumer purchasing power.
The combined effect was a drop in air passengers, particularly in the all-important inclusive tour market. From 1,215,000 in 1973, IT. passengers slumped a startling 22% to 958,000 in 1974.
Some tour operators had underestimated the effects of the oil crisis and found themselves in a critical financial state. The most dramatic failure was that of Court Line which, apart from its massive programme through Luton, was operating 18 IT. flights a week from Manchester to 13 destinations.
To protect unpaid bills for landing fees and other charges, the Airport Joint Committee impounded Court Line's pink painted One-Eleven 'Halcyon Breeze' at Manchester on 15th August, the date of the airline's cessation of operations.
On the positive side, an indirect result of the energy gap was the emergency import of auxiliary electric generators. A World Airways Boeing 747 brought in several loads, which culminated in a U.K. record civil cargo load to date on 27th February when 95.75 tons were off-loaded from the U.S.A.
A last flight with a difference occurred on 13th May when RAF Comet C.2XK659 arrived from Wyton. It was dismantled by Northern Executive Aviation and taken by road to Pomona Dock where it was reassembled alongside the 'Westward Ho' ship for use as a restaurant.
Ten days earlier, Gordon Sweetapple had been appointed airport director in succession to Jack Jackman, who had retired at the end of March after a long and auspicious career in both civil and military aviation.
Regular wide body operations came to Manchester on 12th June, 1974 when Wardair inaugurated a Boeing 747 flight to Toronto every three weeks.
A bomb alert caused the diversion of a British Airways Trident on a Belfast-London flight on 24th July
and an emergency evacuation of the 92 passengers and crew. A device was located in the rear passenger compartmentbelieved to have been placed before the earlier flight to Belfastand it was successfully defused.
An llyushin IL-18 of Tarom (Romania) arrived on 10th August in the charge of a woman pilota less unusual occurrence today.
Preston Radar and Airways shut down on 30th January, 1975, and was replaced by a Manchester sub-centre named 'Manchester Control' which occupies a floor of the tower block. The new unit was designed to provide control to aircraft flying below 13,000 feet in the Manchester Terminal Area (extending from Burnley to Oldham, Stoke and Birkenhead). Radar information was provided from Clee Hill, Shropshire, and St. Annes as well as from the airport's own scanners.
An event which had been feared by everyone occurred on 7th January, 1975, when a BEA Super One-Eleven on flight BE4069 to Heathrow was hijacked. After landing at Heathrow, the aircraft was flown to Stansted unbeknown to the hijacker who had demanded to be flown to Paris. He was eventually overpowered.
One of the few disadvantages of the airport site has been the heavily built-up area to the north-east, towards Stockport. With the advent of the jet-powered airliner, the local communities were exposed to much higher noise levels and the Airport Authority responded over the years by introducing a number of measures designed to reduce the noise problem.
An innovatory move came on 1 st April, 1975, when the Authority introduced its Quiet Jet Rebate Scheme for a trial period of one year.
Under this scheme, believed to be the first of its kind in the world, jet aircraft complying with existing noise legislation could obtain a rebate on the landing fee, provided that the noise level during departure was less than a certain level, itself significantly less than the standard infringement noise levels in force at the time.
Prior to the introduction of the scheme, only two percent of jet flights from Manchester were made by 'quiet' aircraft; this rose to over ten per cent in 1977.
A record was broken on 28th April when a Wardair Boeing 747 arrived from Toronto with 432 adults and 30 children, the largest passenger load to date.
Two days later, an executive Lear Jet took off from Runway 24, reaching 3,500 feet altitude by the runway's end and passing through 12,000 feet over Tatton Park, only two minutes after releasing brakesa slightly
higher rate of climb than was achieved by the wartime PTS Whitleys 30 years earlier!
Further diversions resulted in Pier 'C having its full complement of four Boeing 747's on 15th December. The following day was a record in that there were eight 747's on the airport at one time: three British Airways, two Trans World and one each from Qantas, Singapore Airlines and Wardair. An Air New Zealand DC-10 also diverted in that day, en route from Auckland via Los Angeles to Heathrow.
In order to more accurately portray the expanding international role of the airport, the Manchester Airport Joint Committee adopted the new title of the Manchester International Airport Authority at its meeting on 25th July, 1975, and from that date the airport was officially renamed Manchester International Airport.
Dan Air, for many years a major operator at Manchester, established a major engineering base in Hangar 4, one of the ex-Fairey Aviation hangars, on 1st January, 1976. It was to become their main overhaul facility for their One-Elevens and H.S.748's. Since then, they have gained contracts to overhaul aircraft for a wide variety of operators, including Cyprus Airways, Fordair, Fred Olsen and many VIP operators.
On 18th July a Gulf Air TriStar called at Manchester returning from the Montreal Olympic Games with the Sultan of Oman and his entourage. Whilst the aircraft was refuelled and crew changed, the Sultan hired a complete floor of the Excelsior Hotel for his group. The party left later for Doha in the Trucial States.
November, 1976 brought rather varied fortunes to the airport. Diversions from Heathrow on the 3rd included a South African Airways Boeing 747 arriving appropriately from Sal Island en route from Johannesburg. In contrast, thick and persistent fog meant that there were no aircraft movements between 15.14 on the 12th and 01.34 on the 14th November.
Oddly enough, the latter date saw the first Concorde to visit Manchester, when fog at Heathrow resulted in British Airways flight BA578 from Washington arriving at 21.38. The aircraft left the following morning watched by thousands of spectators who filled the viewing terraces and blocked the roads around the airport perimeter.
To the surprise of almost everyone, the Concorde registered a lower noise read-out during take off on the airport's noise monitoring system than a Boeing 747
that had departed five minutes earlier.
During 1976, 517 aircraft diverted in from other airports. As usual, it was far more than were diverted away by Manchester's own few weather problems.
A six year old relationship ended on 31 st March, 1977, when, with the reorganisation of the airline, British Airways disbanded its Manchester-based Super One-Eleven Division. The aircraft remained based at Manchester.
British Airways Overseas Division started Boeing 747 scheduled flights from Manchester on 22nd May, operating the first flight via Prestwick to New York, followed two days later by their first 747 service to Toronto, also via Prestwick. In addition to seven Jumbo flights a week to New York, Montreal and Toronto, a further nine services were operated with Super VC-10's.
Finnair inaugurated a weekly freight service on the Helsinki-Heathrow-Manchester-Helsinki route on 1 st April, using the unique DC-6BST swing-tail freighter, operated by Finland's Kar-Air. This service, which was increased to twice weekly, became the only schedule through Manchester still using piston-engined equipment.
Occasional flights into Manchester still used other piston-engined veterans, including a Royal Swedish Air Force Dakota which arrived from Gothenburg on 26th April, leaving for Vasterastwo days later. This aircraft had visited Manchester on 7th October, 1950, in SAS colours, named 'Hallvard Viking'.
Other old-timers visiting in 1977 were the RAF 'Vintage Pair', a Vampire T.11 and a Meteor T.7 which gave a five minute display on the 17th July before landing. The RAF's Red Arrows aerobaticteam brought their ten Gnat trainers the same day, all the aircraft being based for the annual Barton Air Show.
After some delays, the Government finally published their White Paper'Airports Policy'on 1st February, 1978. Gavin Dick, a senior Ministry official, visited Manchester the same day to discuss the document with Members of the Airport Authority and the Manchester Airport Consultative Committee.
Following the meeting, the Authority and Consultative Committee both expressed satisfaction that Manchester had been nominated the sole Category A 'Gateway International Airport' outside London in England and Wales.
After 40 years, Manchester had been officially recognised as a major airport.
With this information to hand, the Airport Authority were at last in a position to decide whether to continue pressing for a second main runway. In the light of the latest engineering advice and lack of central Government support, it was decided on 24th February to withdraw the planning application until the new runway could be justified on traffic grounds alone.
Instead they would resurface and in places rebuild the existing Runway 06/24 and extend it by a further 800 feet. It was not an easy decision as the plan adopted would mean total night closure of the runway for two summers.
By the fortieth anniversary of the airport, the Airport Authority and its predecessors (the Airport Special Committee, Airport Committee and Airport Joint Committee) had seen their airport expand to a point where it supported a direct workforce of over 5,000 people, employed by nearly 100 companies with a total wages bill in excess of £17m.
Fifteen U.K. and foreign airlines operated direct scheduled services to 37 destinations in the U.K., Continental Europe and North America and a further 17 airlines operated regular inclusive tour and charter flights.
A severe blow, however, was dealt to one of the pioneering airlines at Manchester. After operating from the airport for almost 31 years, Aer Ling us had to withdraw the remainder of their Dublin-Manchester-Continental Europe through services because of objections from the British Government over Fifth Freedom rights (the ability of one country's airlines to pick up passengers from a second country and fly them to a third).
The last route was EI620/1 to and from Copenhagen, the final flight being operated by a Boeing 737 on 14th March. So ended for the next ten years over 30 years development which had started on 1st July, 1947 with a service from Dublin via Manchester to Amsterdam.
The previous month had seen two first visits of different sorts. Routing in from Glasgow on 1st February, and departing to Bristol the following day, an Air Alsace VFW-614 was the first, and to date only, example of the type to visit Manchester.
Her Majesty The Queen made her first visit to the airport on the 24th, but only in transit when a Queen's Flight H.S.748 landed en route Heathrow-Kinlossto pick up the Duke of Edinburgh following a function at Salford University.
British Airways had a mixed bag, taking heed of the declining cargo figures and discontinuing not just the Merchantman, but all freight services through the airport on 30th March.
On a more positive note however, the carrier reintroduced their Zurich service on a five times weekly basis the following month and put Tridents on the London service. Yet another milestone on the transatlantic routes was reached on 22nd May when British Airways started scheduling Boeing 747's on direct services to Montreal.
The airport was closed for a short period on the 24th June while the 140 ft. high chimney of Jacksons Brickworks was demolished with the aid of ten pounds of gelignite, so removing what some pilots described as the best navigational aid at the airport!
June was a busy month with British Air Ferries starting a twice daily flight to Rotterdam on the 1st. using Herald aircraft following a long delay in obtaining Dutch Government approval, while two interesting deliveries passed through the airport.
A Piper Cheyenne arrived on the 13th from Gothenburg, leaving for Heathrow the next day; the Australian owner had picked up the aircraft new in the U.S.A. and was flying it home the long way round, having a holiday en route. The other was a French built, Icelandic registered, CAP 10 aerobatic aircraft on delivery from France to an owner in Iceland, making the first visit of the type.
The British Air Ferries service to Rotterdam ceased operation in November, 1979, because of poor load factors.
Various aircraft visited in connection with the Barton Air Show, including the first B-17 Flying Fortress since the war. It was also a busy month for Northern Executive Aviation who completed the take over of North West Flying School.
Avoid was filled on 1st July when Pelican Airways first Boeing 707 was delivered to Manchester, operating its first commercial service, DP2001, to Ndola via Athens and Nairobi. Pelican was a new all-freight airline and the first carrier to be based at Manchester for many years..
The initial enthusiasm soon waned, however, as Pelican operated all their flights from Gatwick during August. After a period of virtual inactivity at Manchester, they were to operate just three flights from their home base during 1979 before announcing in January, 1980 a move of headquarters to Gatwick. The move actually took place on 29th November.
Summer 1978 was a period of chaos as air traffic controllers in France, Spain and Britain all staged disruptive action in support of their individual causes. The Airport Authority brought in television sets, films and a Punch and Judy show in an attempt to entertain waiting passengers who had delays of up to 52 hours in the case of one Dan Air flight.
Ironically, the same period saw the Airport Authority begin to actively promote itself. It had appointed its first full time public relations officer in 1974 and the time had come for development which initially manifested itself in an advertising campaign on Granada Television during the Autumn.
A delay of another reason was caused when a Czech built four seat Meta Sokol skidded off Runway 28
on 12th September. It remained based at the airport, but flew only once in ten years before being removed by road.
Friday the thirteenth was an unlucky day in October for passengers on board an Air India Boeing 747 bound for Heathrow. While they were approaching Manchester on diversion due to fog in the London area, a fire broke out in the hold. The aircraft made an emergency landing and passengers were evacuated in thick fog which descended seconds after it had landed. The fire was caused by a Hitachi electric organ which had been stowed too close to an internal light.
Air Kilroe gave themselves a Christmas present by opening Hangar 520, the Airport Authority having taken over ownership of the south side hangars that July.
THE OPENING OF THE NEW TERMINAL BUILDING
THE FOLLOWING SERVICES WERE SCHEDULED INTO OR OUT OF MANCHESTER AIRPORT ON MONDAY OCTOBER 22nd., 1962, ON WHICH DAY THE NEW AIR TERMINAL BUILDING WAS FORMALLY OPENED BY H.R.H. THE PRINCE PHILIP, DUKE OF EDINBURGH.
A complete transformation from five years earlier (compare with the 1957 aerial picture). By 12th April, 1962, the original terminal and hangar, the two remaining Bellman hangars and associated temporary buildings have been demolished, and the finishing touches are being put to the new
terminal and apron. South bay is already in use while the apron in front of Hangars 6 and 7 is occupied by Viscounts, Doves and a Heron. Ringway Road has disappeared under the international apron; the taxiway ends at today's link B, adjacent to the ACS flight catering commissary.
Arguably the most significant point in the history of the airport was the opening of the new £2.7m terminal by H.R.H. Prince Philip on 22nd October, 1962. Manchester was the first European airport to adopt the twin pier system for domestic and international flights to enable passengers to remain under cover until they reached their aircraft. The increasing trend of car ownership was reflected in the incorporation of 1,300 parking spaces; today, on airport parking caters for 5,790 vehicles.
Although the 1974 extensions to the 1962 terminal gave a new look to the airport, part of the original frontage can still be seen. This December, 1962, picture shows a contractors lorry parked by the entrance to the
spectators terraces while private vehicles wait outside the check in (centre) and arrivals hall (far right). The check in area is now the domestic baggage reclaim hall and the airport security offices.
A special guest at the opening ceremony was Louis Paulhan who, 52 years earlier, had become the first man to fly from London to Manchester, so winning the £ 10,000 prize put up by the Daily Mail. He flew in from Paris on the flight deck of an Air France Caravelle, to be welcomed by airport manager George Harvey (left) and Hubert Dupont-Lhotelain, French consular agent in Manchester.
The main concourse was the subject of both praise and criticism, on the one hand for its positive statement to the future, and on the other for seemingly extravagant expenditure. Either way, the bright, airy hall with its special feature of four Venetian glass chandeliers became a talking point for
passengers. The plaque in the centre right of the picture, unveiled by H.R.H. Prince Philip on the opening of the terminal, can now be seen by the entrance to the Lancaster Restaurant. Note the lack of flight information and seating, compared with today's requirements.
The new terminal is complete (note shadow at lower right) but work remains on the Shell and B. P. fuel farm. The entire site (Esso included) was being redeveloped as the multi storey car park for the new domestic pier during 1988, the fuel services having moved to the west side of the airport. The original military buildings remain much as before.
Cunard Eagle Airways DC-6A G-APSA executes a perfect landing on Runway 06, passing over the threshold markings with the ubiqitous Jacksons Brickworks chimney behind looking like a poor imitation of a stand for a plastic model kit. The aircraft was subsequently sold to Saudi Arabian Airlines as HZ-ADA, delivered on 24th February, 1964.
From small beginnings... British Midland Airways began life in 1948 as Derby Airways operating from Burnaston Airport, Derby with Dakotas and ex BOAC Canadair C.4. Argonauts before adopting their present name on 30th July, 1964. Here, Argonauts G-ALHYand 'S on Fairey's Apron await trooping flights to Germany.
Approaching the peak of piston engine airliner designLockheed's L-1049G Super Constellation. Iberia EC-AQM "La Garza", waiting departure on stand 4, is the centre of attention for spectators on Pier B (no longer accessible to the public) as well as ground handling staff. Iberia operated IT. services on behalf of Aviaco.
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When BOAC commenced all freight operations with Seaboard and Western CL-44D-4N228SW, they adapted their passenger advertising slogan to read "BOAC takes good care of your cargo". The aircraft made its first transatlantic service through Manchester on 20th October, 1963, later replaced by Boeing 707-320C equipment on 13th January, 1966.
Sabena Boeing 707-329 flagship OO-SJA meets BOAC Rolls Royce Conway powered Boeing 707-436 G-APFK on the international apron at Manchester. Sabena introduced 707's on transatlantic services from
A familiar background for air enthusiast photographers during the early 1960's Ex BOAC DC-7C G-AOIB, delivered to Saturn Airways as N90802 on 25th March, 1964 awaits passengers fora transatlantic charter in June, 1964 on stand 4 with the approach lighting to Runway 20 visible behind.
Manchester on 20th April, 1960, followed by BOAC that October Sabena were forced off the route on 31st March, 1964, and subsequently introduced Caravelles on their Brussels service.
Aer Lingus introduced an improved freight service between Dublin and Manchester in late 1963 by using the Aviation Traders Carvair. A development by Freddie Laker of the Douglas DC-4, it allowed direct nose loading via a scissor lift platform. EI-ANJ
"St. Seanan", ex G-ASKD, was an USAF C-54B delivered to Aer Lingus following conversion on 24th April, 1964 and pictured here the following month on the apron in front of Hanger 6.
Just eighteen months after the completion of the new facilities, a near full house vindicates the construction of the new terminal and apron. Seen parked in the self
manoeuvring position (rather than nose in which was introduced much later) on 28th May, 1964 are 3 BOAC Comet 4's, 4 BEA Viscounts, 3 Britannias (two British Eagle)
a BOAC Boeing 707 and a KLM DCS. South bay is occupied by a BEA Vanguard, BOAC and Pan Am Boeing 707's, Swissair CV-990 and Euravia 1-049 Constelation. The site
of the 1948 air show is clearly visible to the top left of the picture.
Air France commenced a Manchester to Paris freight service on 2nd September, 1964, using the ungainly Breguet 763 Deux Points. F-BASN operated the service on 9th October, and is seen here on the apron in front of Hanger 7.
BEA introduced jet services from Manchester on 1st July, 1965 when it put the Trident 1 on the Paris route. G-ARPO is loaded with luggage and freight on stand 3 while a BEA Vanguard on stand 22 awaits departure on a London service, long before the introduction of the Shuttle.
Originally formed in April, 1961 with a DC-7C, Caledonian Airways merged with British United Airlines in November, 1970 before falling victim to British Airways in 1988. The airline operated two ex Sabena DC-6B's during 1964, replacing them the following year with ex BOAC Britannia 312s. G-ASRZ, 'County of Angus', exOO-CTN, night stopped on Fairey's Apron during June, 1974. The Caledonian name was resurrected as the inclusive tour division of British Airways in 1988.
The Airport commissioned photographer Walter Nurnberg in October, 1965 to produce a portfolio of airport activities. Apron Services were controlled from the 'fish tank' on Pier B where marshalling controller Sid Oliver organizes airfield equipment requirements as Aer Lingus Viscount 808 EI-AKL receives the attention of a Shell BP refueller.
Flight catering cases were transferred to the aircraft on baggage trolleys before the introduction of scissor lift vehicles (see 1970 picture). Meals for passengers on a BOAC New York flight are loaded by BillJepson from the flight catering kitchens beneath the present passenger concourse. Today, both ACS and Marriots occupy custom built flight catering facilites on the airport.
Nürnberg had this group of airport employees volunteer to pose to illustrate the conference facilities available in the Brabazon Suite (now renamed the Gordon Thomas Suite). Clockwise from front right are Arthur Foulsham, Charles Bowers, Bill Whittle, Edith Shaw and Bill Thornley.
The duty free concession was held by Finnigans until 1982. The price list shows that in 1965 a duty free bottle of scotch whisky, vodka or rum was£1 while gin was 16s 6dbut not for passengers travelling to Ireland and the Channel Isles who were not allowed duty free goods. The shop counter makes an interesting comparison with today's selfservice facility which covers 5,500 sq. ft.
SEA Comet 4B G-ARCP William Brooks', pictured at Manchester during October 1965, wassoldto Dan Air in October, 1973 and re-registered G-BBUV. It continued to operate through the airport until it was scrapped in September, 1979. Dan Air operated the world's largest fleet of Comets, eventually buying over half the Series 4 aircraft built.
In the colours of the short lived BOAC Cunard, Super VC-10 G-ASGE passes low over Altrincham Road to land on the 7,900 ft. Runway 06 during May, 1966 soon after they were introduced on transatlantic services from Manchester. BOAC operated Super VC- 10's through Manchester until the end of April, 1980.
April, 1968 and SEA Vanguard G-APEH awaits its next passenger load. A worthy successor to the Viscount, but a victim of the coming of the pure jet airliners, many BEA Vanguards were converted to freighters and are still in service today as the Merchantman. 'EH, however, was not converted and sold instead to the Indonesian airline Merpati NusantaraasPK-MVFinMarch, 1973.
llyushin IL-UM OK-BYU landed on 27th April, 1968 with members of the Czech government, including the Minister of Trade. Note the passenger door on the starboard side.
Northern Executive Aviation started operations from Manchester in June, 1962 with a four seat Piper Cherokee. Three years later, they added Piper Aztec G-ATJR which was teamed up with managing director Captain David Antrobus on 21st May, 1968 for this publicity photograph in front of the tower block which still wears its original light blue cladding.
'The times they are a changing'. Viscount 802 G-AOHR wears the old BEA markings as it taxies past Trident 1 G-ARPG sporting the airlines new livery for the 197O's. The newly delivered 'Super One-Eleven'as BEA named their Series 510 One-Elevens was used jointly by BEA, Air France and Pan American on services out of West Berlin, hence the lack of national identity on the tail. One-Elevens replaced Tridents on most Continental flights out of Manchester from April, 1969.
A dramatic reduction in both loading time and physical effort required by the airport hands was achieved when Fortes introduced the Edbro scissor lift mounted on a Commer chassis. On the merger of Trust Houses and Forte, their airports division became Airport Catering Services Ltd. The Airport Committee insisted on operating all airside service vehicles and took over ownership and operation of the vehicles. Behind the BOAC Super VC-10 pictured on 28th April, 1970 are earlier examples of the airlines transatlantic equipment, a Boeing 707-436 and a Comet 4, together with a BEA Viscount.
Although BEA's Manchester based Super One-Eleven Division was not formed until 1st April, 1971, the number of One-Elevens operating through Manchester the previous summer prompted British Aircraft Corporation's publicity department to send two staff photographers to record the scenes between the 20th and 22nd May, 1970. A single One-Eleven was recorded in this photograph, showing passengers boarding from Gate 1. The original terminal frontage, yet to be extended, can be seen, as can the steelwork for the extension of the tower block.
The launch customer, and first operator of the BAG One-Eleven, British United Airlines took delivery of its first Series 201 aircraft, G-ASJJ, in April 1965 although 'JI had visited Manchester on 8th February during route proving. The Series 201 were withdrawn during 1982 following the delivery of the larger Series 500 aircraft. Series 501 G-AXJM is seen at Manchester in June, 1970, just three months after its delivery to BUA.
The 'Jumbo'age came to Manchester on 17th August, 1970 with the arrival of BOAC's brand new G-AWNC on a training and familiarisation flight. In addition to the hoards of interested airport staff on the apron, spectactors pack the terraces in the background. The aircraft had to be parked across Stands 14/15 due to the lack of proper facilities; today Manchester has 18 Boeing 747 and 5 other wide body stands.
Alderman Tom Regan first joined Manchester City Council's Airport Special Committee in 1928. Little was he to know that not only he would still be on the Airport Committee on 23rd December, 1971, but
also laying the foundation stone of the £8 million terminal extensions. With him are the Lord Mayor Douglas Edwards, the Lady Mayoress and Airport Chairman Alderman Cliff Lamb.
To celebrate the milestone of handling over two million passengers in one year, Airport Committee Chairman Alderman Cliff Lamb presented passenger Mrs Alison Turner with a silver fruit bowl and a bouquet of flowers on 10th December, 1971. On the right is airport director Jack Jackman who retired in March, 1974.
Halcyon days for Court Line who provided the first Lockheed TriStar to visit Manchester. N305EA was leased from Eastern Airlines for a demonstration visit on 16th August, 1972 which included a round trip to Amsterdam for the Lord Mayor of Manchester, Edward Grant, and travel agents. 'Halcyon Days'was the name applied to Court's first TriStar, G-BAAA, which was repossessed by Lockheed following the airlines collapse exactly two years later on 15th August, 1974.
Chief fire officer Frank Pyatt (right) was seconded from Moss Side to the airport fire brigadeand stayed until his retirement in August, 1972. With airport director Gordon Sweetapple (centre) and deputy airport director Ken Wilson (who tragically died in 1981 after a short illness), CFO Pyatt celebrates the arrival of the first Pathfinder fire fighting vehicle on 16th February, 1973 with his brigade engineer John Stubbs at the control of the foam monitor. Costing £68,000, the Pathfinder was joined by a second machine two years later, purchased for £72,000.
Fairey Surveys Dakota 4 G-AHCTsaw service earlier in its life with SEA. Seen here abandoned engineless beside Fairey's hangar, the aircraft ended its life with the airport fire service. Parked on the north side of the airfield mounted on concrete blocks and having been subjected to many firings, the airframe ultimately succumbed to an intense fire created by 45 gallons of oil gravity fed to the engine mountings during the annual CAA inspection in 1975.
The culmination of the City Council's 1970 plans to expand the airport's facilities to meet the requirements of the wide body age came on 25th March, 1974, when the Lord Mayor of Manchester, Kenneth Collis officially opened the new extensions (watched here by Airport Committee Chairman Alderman Clifford Lamb). The ceremony was delayed while the Lord Mayor went to the new Pier C to greet King Hussein of Jordan, whose aircraft was the first to use the facility, having been diverted from Heathrow.
Manchester is the major diversion airport, having the best weather record for any U.K. airport and handling many more aircraft diverted in than lost through local bad weather. A classic diversion day occurred on 29th August, 1973, when the airport, having left stands vacant for its own traffic, was forced to close as it ran out of parking spaces for diverted aircraft. The aircraft seen here are three Boeing 747's (British Airways, Pan Am and TWA), four Boeing 707's (British Airways x 2, British Caledonian x 2), one DC-10 (Laker), three Super VC- 10's (British Airways), one DC-8 (CP Air), two Comets (Dan Air) and a One Eleven (British Airways), DC-9 (Alitalia) and Merchantman (British Airways).
Aviation has an ever increasing role to play in today's business community as a glance at the Hangar 6 apron will nearly always show. As British Airtours Boeing 707-436 G-APFK taxis out for take off on Runway 24 on 21 st January, 1975, three Piper aircraft await their executive passengers. From the left PA-34 Sennica 200 G-AZVJ of Bernell Aviation Ltd. and PA-23 Aztec 250E's G-AYVC of McAlpine Aviation Ltd and G-AZZL of Webster Aviation Ltd.
The first Super Guppy 201 to visit Manchester, operated byAeromaritime on behalf of Airbus Industries for shipping Airbus wings brought by road from Chester was F-BTGV which arrived on 22nd November, 1971.lt provided an impressive backdrop on 2nd March, 1975 for this publicity photograph of Inspector Doug Street illustrating the work of the airport police. The force was absorbed into the Greater Manchester Police on 1st August, 1976.
The work of the airport information staff is high profile, often high pressure, but mostly taken for granted by the thousands of airport users who call on their services to answer any number of questions. Melanie Butler (right) and Pam Wilcox model the latest uniform in front of the old concourse information desk on 7th July, 1975. Neither could have found their job that bad, for both were still helping the public through the airport on its fiftieth anniversary!
If Captain Smirnoff could only have seen! A far cry from Manchester's disastrous start at Barton, Manchester International Airport on 9th June, 1975 with the tail of KLM DC-9 PH-DNO framing two transatlantic British
Airways Boeing 707's G-APFM and G-AWHU, the latter still wearing its BOAC 'Speedbird' livery, and Wardair's Boeing 747 C-FDJC 'Phil Garralt'. Wardair introduced Manchester to regular 747 operations when they
inaugurated a Toronto flight every three weeks commencing on 12th June, 1974 with 'JC.
Celebrating the 30th Anniversary of the start ofBEA services from Manchester, surviving members of the original Manchester team in February, 1977 with the airport log for the time. From the left, Norman Cairns, John Evans, Stan Thirlwell, Don Moores, Alan Charlesworth, Jack Arnold, John Ellis, Don Watson, Tim Healey.
The evening of 19th July, 1976 and Lufthansa create a new weight record through Manchester with a load that exceeded 101 tons, using Boeing 747-230F D-ABYE 'Cargonaut'. Note the non-standard loading equipment that was specially imported for the occasion.
Ex RAF Argosy C. 1XR136 was delivered Bournemouth-Manchester on 13th October, 1976 as 9Q-C0A for painting by Dan Air for Otrag Range Air Services (ORAS), named 'Jason and returned to Bournemouth on
21st December. Sitting on Fairey's apron, its overall dayglow red and forward upper white colour scheme made it stand out clearly, irrespective of the weather conditions.
On short finals for Runway 24 in June, 1978, Dan Air Comet 4C G-BDIU was previously Royal Air Force C.4XR396. After sixyears with the airline, 71/ was sold to British Aerospace for conversion to the Nimrod
AEW3 flight simulator. A common sight at Manchester during the 1970s in Dan Air service, the Comet served the airline well between 1966 and February, 1981.
Forty years on, and the airport celebrated its ruby anniversary on 25th June, 1978 by hosting a visit of civic dignitaries from Amsterdam, the destination of the first commercial service from Manchester Airport. With airport director Gordon Sweetapple (holding a copy of the first edition of First and Foremost) is Barbara Higgins, SAS reservations supervisor, who a few months earlier had been voted Miss Manchester International Airport Personality Girl at the first event organised by the airport social club. The club flourishes today in the old RAF drill hall which has been adapted to include all the facilities expected in a modern club.
Pelican Air Transport set up base at Manchester in 1978 and acquired Boeing 707 G-BPAT. Here the aircraft is loaded with freight in front of Hangar 6 for its first operation on 6th July. It departed to Ndola, Zambia, via Athens and Nairobi with 37
tonnes of general cargo. Operations at Manchester only lasted some three weeks before the carrier moved to Gatwick, nearer the source of its loads, before ceasing operations altogether.
Not Warsaw Airport, but Manchester! Laings had a large construction contract in Poland and operated numerous charter flights during 1978. On 22nd July, three Tu-134's SP-LGA, 1HA and 'LHB are gathered near the end of Pier B awaiting their loads.
INS DATUM: OSGB36 BEARINGS ARE MAGNETIC
ELEVATIONS IN FEET AMSL......390
HEIGHTS IN FEET ABOVE AD .... (1 34)
N 53 220
4^53 22 0
1:20 000 100 0 100 200 300400 500m
CHANGE: WESTERN APRON
Taxiways green C/L, blue edge on sharp curves.
NOTE 1 During CAT II and III operations aircraft must enter
RWY 06 by link G, or RWY 24 by link A; aircraft must leave RWY 06 by the rapid exit or by link A, and RWY 24 by the rapid exit or link G. 2 Clearance between Twy 1 C/L and the boundary fence reduces to 40m between link A and link B.
SHEET 41 OA
published by the civil aviation authority
civil aviation authority 1988 whose permission must be obtained before this chart is reproduced
AERO INF DATE 30 Jun 88
In what was to be arguably the most successful decade In the airport's development, the beginning did not bode well. The year of 1979 started with the winter of discontent as the firemen went on lightning strikes and the porters on work to rule (no diversions, no freight charters to break the dock strike). Even the weather joined in with fog and snow affecting operations while, in return, the airport had no ILS working and no de-icer!
There was little activity of any note until the end of March. The President of the Sudan arrived from Khartoum via Athens in an executive DC-9 on the 27th and two days later, singer John Denver came in from Dublin in an Electra for a concert, departing for Glasgow the next day.
The same day, a North West Flying School AA-5A crashed in North Wales; the wreck was not found until 1st April.
While April was marred with yet more lightning strikes, commercial operations were boosted with the return of Cyprus Airways using Boeing 707's on scheduled services to Cyprus after a five year gap caused by the civil war and subsequent partition. Air Europe paid their first visit, a portent of things to come as they started regular operations on 27th October.
The Canadian carrier, Ontario Worldair, flew its first transatlantic service on 2nd April, bringing a Boeing 707 into Manchester.
The same month, the Airport Authority commenced the major resurfacing and refurbishment programme on the runway in place of the second runway project. It was to involve total runway closure between 2300 and 0700 for six nights a week until the end of October, recommencing the following spring. Poor weather caused numerous break-ups of the new asphalt surfacing during May, including the 1 st. when the surface was quickly repaired before Margaret Thatcher, M.R arrived on an election campaign tour.,
An interesting variety of airlines put in unscheduled appearances during May and June,
operating sub-chartered Laker flights after all DC-10's were grounded following an accident at Chicago. The airlines included Aer Lingus, Aeroamerica, British Midland, Sobelair, Sterling, TAE and TEA.
A six month saga began in July when Transasian Airlines announced they were setting up their headquarters at Manchester in 1980 and would be operating at least 22 flights weekly on IT services (including one to Miami) using Boeing 707 and 747 equipment.
A firemen's strike from 7th-22nd September caused serious disruption at the airport, although it did not affect the twice weekly alJ freight Boeing 747 service to the United States started by Northwest Orient on the 12th.
A locally based Cessna Aerobat took advantage of the situation twice during the month when there were no passenger flights by performing aerobatics over the airfield.
With memories of the early days of Ringway, British Airways flew a D.H.89A Dragon Rapide, resplendent in their latest colours, into Manchester on 28th October to promote the start of their long awaited Manchester-London Shuttle service. The first flight to London was by a BAC One-Eleven, which required the back up Trident 1 G-ARPK, which survives today at Manchester with the Airport Fire Service.
Known as a major bad weather diversionary airport, Manchester found itself on the wrong end during November when there were no landings at all between 0930 on the 20th and 0958 the next day due to fog!
The Transasian story continued with the announcement in November thatithe company was changing its name to Air Transcontinental and starting operations from Manchester on 30th March/I 980. It had ordered two DC-9-82 aircraft for delivery in 1982, by which time their maintenance hangar would be ready.
The year ended with Northern Executive Aviation moving into the jet age with the delivery of their Learjet, G-LEARon 22nd December, making its first commercial
flight on New Year's eve.
The next and final announcement from Air Transcontinental came in January, 1980; the company had been put into the hands of the liquidators.
An interesting insight into the economics of air transport occurred on 25th January when an Air Ecosse Twin Otter flew an Aberdeen-Manchester charter with returning oil rig workers. As the aircraft was not fitted with a toilet, impromptu facilities had to be arranged when the passengers were told the cost of diverting to Glasgow!
Martinair proved that ten into one will go when they airlifted ten British registered Jet Rangers to Rhodesia in a DC-10on 23rd February to help supervise the elections. They returned on 7th March, Manchester having been used because of its central location.
Business aviation received a boost during February when Northern Executive set up a specialist aircraft maintenance area, while Apache Air Services changed its name to Merlin Flying Services, adding a H.S. 125 to the fleet on 29th April.
An exhibition of business aircraft sponsored by London Executive Aviation, who had just opened a Manchester office, took place on 31 st March to promote the variety of air charter operations available to the local business community.
The same day, British Airways withdrew the Viscount from service at Manchester after more than 20 years. One month later, on the 30th April, the airline operated their last regular VC-10 service from Manchester after 15 years with flight BA81 to Toronto, returning the next morning.
A new sight was the first service from Manchester by a new airline, Orion, which operated a Boeing 737 to Mahonon 28th March.
With the arrival of spring, the runway was again closed each night to continue the major resurfacing work.
As every year, April was a good month for new services. Austrian Airlines started a thrice weekly DC-9 flight to Vienna on the 3rd, Air Florida started a weekly
charter to Miami using a DC-10 while Air U.K. began services to the Isle of Man with Heralds and Guernsey Airlines commenced a Guernsey schedule with Viscounts. The latter two routes had been dropped by British Airways.
The first appearance of a Concorde on a charter took place on the 27th April when Air France operated a promotional for Renault salesmen.
More new services commenced in June, starting on the 1 st when LOT Polish Airlines began twice weekly services from Warsaw using Tu134's, by doing so inaugurating the first scheduled service from Manchesterto behind the Iron Curtain. Unfortunately, the service was withdrawn in November the following year due to the internal situation in Poland.
The other new services were less exotic, if no less important, with Brymon starting a weekly service to Newquay on the 7th and Air Ecosse operating to Dundee twice daily from the 9th.
Manchester International Airport was enjoying an unprecedented boom, witnessed by July being the first month ever with over half a million passengers handled (the actual figure was 534,794).
To the relief of the Airport Authority and operators alike, the massive runway resurfacing scheme was completed on 29th Auguston schedule. It had involved laying 235,000 tonnes of asphalt, with an average covering of 12.5 inches with the thickest 25 inchesenough for 66 miles of 4 lane highway!
The economic conditions prevailing at the time was having its effect, which resulted in Northern Executive closing down the North West Flying School on 29th August, just over two years after having bought it.
The summer peak extended into September and October as a result of Operation Crusader which saw Regular Army and Territorial soldiers being flown to West Germany for manoeuvres using British Airways' Boeing 747, TriStar and VC-10 aircraft in addition to the RAF's own VC-10's.
The troops returned in full combat gear and equipment, carrying their duty free bags and looking somewhat out of place passing through Customs with the airport's other passengers.
During the midst of this activity, an Icelandic registered Cargolux DC-8 acted as a modern day Noah's Ark, departing for Australia on 26th September with a cargo of sheep, cattle, horses, zebra, chinchilla and a goat!
An interesting visitor arriving on 2nd October for
a few days was an American registered Convair 580 operated by a religious group 'The Way International'. The aircraft was equipped with loudspeakers, but there is no evidence that they were used at Manchester!
At both ends of the airliner size spectrum, bad weather diversions from London saw 11 wide bodied aircraft together at Manchester on 13th October, the day after Northern Executive had sold their last Islander, having operated the type continuously since 1970.
Asa precursor to scheduled services, El Al commenced weekly IT flights to Tel Aviv on the 21 st October using Boeing 747's, shortly before Invicta Airlines closed down on the 30th.
Their last commercial service was Manchester-Milan using a Britannia on a cattle flight. What will most likely prove to be the last Britannia flight from Manchester took place five weeks later when on 8th December, Redcoat operated a charter to Malta.
During December, three Boeing 707's (two Laker, one ex British Midland) and a Laker BAC One-Eleven were parked for storage. Air Kilroe scored a first when they acquired a Jet Ranger, this! being the first helicopter to be based at the airport.
As a result of bad weather in south east England on the 30th January, 1981, Manchester had a Boeing 747, DC-10, TriStar and A300 on the ground together for the first time. There were also a record 12 wide bodied aircraft on the ground during the course of the day, consisting of five Boeing 747's, five DC-10's and two A300's.
Coincidently, Category III operations were authorised during the month.
The year had started with Laker Airways operating the first Skytrain service from Manchester with a DC-10 to Miami on the 3rd. Los Angeles became a Skytrain destination on 20th March, followed by New York six days later.
The demise of Clyden Airways when it went into bankruptcy on 20th January meant that the Dublin mail flight was taken over by Eastern Airways operating a DC-3.
After continuous operation into Manchester since July, 1961, Air France finally withdrew the Caravelle from their Paris service on March 27th, replacing it with the Boeing 727. Three days later, the last British Airways Super VC-10 did a flypast.
A bomb threat to a Royal Jordanian Boeing 747 en route Amsterdam-New York on 2nd April caused it to divert to Manchester. A17 year old passenger on board admitted to making the threat and was sentenced to six
months at Manchester's Strangeways Prison.
On the south side, having disposed of its H.S. 125 on 17th February, Merlin Air was renamed Grosvenor Aviation during April. Two months later, Ravenair Flying School was formed from the remains of the defunct North West Flying School.
Following earlier action, air traffic controllers continued to disrupt operations during May, but this did not affect Saudia who uplifted a record 100,138 kilos with a Boeing 747F on the 4th. The consignment was cement required to build a chimney in Jeddah. Also unaffected was TAP who commenced a weekly Boeing 727 scheduled service to Lisbon on the 13th.
Cargo operations suffered a double blow during June with the withdrawal of the Dublin mail service, to be incorporated into the Liverpool mail hub, and the announcement of Northwest Orient's plans to re-route its Manchester Boeing 747 service through Gatwick instead. The last operation through Manchester was on 5th/6th September.
The prize for the unluckiest aircrew would have to be awarded to the British Airways crew who inadvertently made the first visit of a TriStar 500 on 4th September. Whilst en route positioning from Heathrow to Gatwick, they were advised to return due to fog at Gatwick, only to find that before they could get back to Heathrow, it too had fogged up and they had to divert to Manchester!
An old favourite, Karair's DC-6BST swing tail freighter, made its last appearance on the Finnair cargo service on 27th September, to be replaced by Finnair's own DC-9F freighters. Another newcomer appeared on 7th November when Tunis Air started their first ever IT operation into Manchester, using Boeing 737's.
Mid December was a period of mixed fortunes for the airport. The greatest number of wide bodied aircraft on the ground at one time rose to 17 on the 11th, consisting of seven Boeing 747's, seven DC-10's and three TriStar's, as always due to bad weather diversions.
Two days later, the airfield was closed because of drifting snow from 12.30 until 16.20 the next day. The following day, severe icing closed the airfield from 00.01 to 12.20!
The year ended with British Airways announcing the closure of their Manchester maintenance base, once the home of their much lauded Super One-Eleven Division and promoted as Manchester's airline.
The weather did not improve with the new year.
There was only one landing on 1 st January, 1982, due to thick fog while the airfield was closed from 14.00 on the 8th until 09.15 the next morning for snow clearance. Diversions on the 24th brought the first visit of a Boeing 747SP, a South African Airways example diverting from Heathrow.
The demise of Laker Airways came on 5th February. Flight GK211, an Airbus A300 en route Manchester-Tenerife, was turned back and passengers were disembarked from a Miami bound DC-10 when the collapse was announced. While Customs decreed that the A300 had been outside U. K. airspace and therefore the passengers could keep their duty frees, the luckless Miami passengers had to hand theirs back, adding yet more to their misery.
The two aircraft, together with a Laker One-Eleven parked in the south bay, were impounded by the Airport Authority in lieu of outstanding charges; Laker had carried some nine per cent of all passengers at Manchester during 1981.
Theaircraft left during April, the DC-10 being the last to go, doing two low passes at high speed on its departure on the 21 st.
Meanwhile, Iberia had reintroduced scheduled services with a Madrid/Barcelona route on 28th March using DC-9's. The same day, Metropolitan Airways took over the running of Dan Air's Newcastle-Manchester-Birmingham-Cardiff-Bournemouth 'Link City' operation.
The previous day had witnessed the arrival of a British Airways Trident 1 for use by the Airport Fire Service for evacuation training.A regular operation using helecoptersto bring printing plates from London for The Mail on Sunday began on 17th April, operating Saturday afternoon services until September.
The first visit of Air Manchester's One-Eleven occurred on 18th May. Previously called Sureways (hence theaircraft registration G-SURE), the company was started up after the Laker collapse. No services took place during May, however, due to the lack of an Air Operators Certificate.
Air Manchester's first service was to Ibiza on 3rd June, carrying just eight passengers. On 1st September, the airline was forced to cease operations, only to restart a few days later, moving its base to Liverpool on 18th October but nevertheless finally ending operations thirteen days later on the 31 st.
By May, further development work at the airport had resulted in the new west apron stands being made fully available, providing space for an additional six
The airport was continuing to grow at a rapid place; July was the first month when the airport handled in excess of 10,000 movements (actual 10,022), one of which was an American registered executive Boeing 707 bringing the Rolling Stones for a pop concert in Leeds.
Following on from the runway resurfacing and reprofiling project, the extension of the runway from 9,200 feet to 10,000 feet, which included culverting the River Bollin, came into operational use at 12.00 on the 17th August. It was officially opened by H.R.H. Princess Anne on the 7th October.
Manchester played host to a Philippines registered Intercontinental DC-8 which made the headlines after hitting a parked DC-8 at Stansted whilst attempting to land in fog on a flight from Lagos. With a large gash in its wing, the aircraft was flown on to Manchester where it made a successful emergency landing, the only casualties being a passenger caught with 6lbs of cannabis, a second with a false passport, and a third with a bogus visa.
Apart from the Royal visit on the 7th, October was a poor month for the airport. Following Air Manchester's move to Liverpool on the 18th, British Airways withdrew their twice daily Edinburgh service on the 22nd and their five times a week Zurich service the following day while, once again, Austrian Airlines withdrew their Vienna service on the 31st.
Retrograde steps were not just limited to airline operations. The original Hangar One, erected for Fairey's in 1937, was demolished due to its instability; it had not been used for aviation purposes since 1977.
The only positive airline action during the month was the start of Loganair's first Manchester service, taking over British Airways abandoned Edinburgh route on the 23rd with a three times a day frequency.
Another route change came on 1 st November, when services to the Isle of Man were taken over by a new carrier, Manx Airlines. The final carrier to start services from Manchester during 1982 was Air Express International who commenced a twice weekly all freight service to the U.S.A. using CL-44 swing tail freighters on 12th December. The service only lasted three months, being terminated on 27th March, 1983.
The new year came in quietly, January, 1983 seeing Airport Authority manual staff work to rule and subsequent strike at the tail end of the month.
February was equally quiet, the high spots being a flying visit by the captain of HMS Manchester who
arrived by the ship's Lynx helicopter for a reception on the 17th and the first visit of a Boeing 757, operating a British Airways Shuttle from and to Heathrow on the 22nd, but having time to operate a local flight for VIPs.
The following month, British Airways ceased all transatlantic flights from Manchester on the 26th; they had only been operating a single once a week service to Toronto during the winter.
April Fool's Day may have seemed an apt day for Qantas to start its twice weekly Boeing 747 service to Australia, simply because Rod Hull and Emu were flown from the domestic pier to Pier C in a Squirrel helicopter to speed the passengers on their way. Rumour has it that the passengers were only too glad to get on board to escape Emu.
Having taken over the policing of the airport in August, 1976, the Greater Manchester Police had found that their work load had been increasing steadily year by year. To enable them to operate more efficiently, a purpose designed police station was constructed near to the terminal building and officially opened by the Duchess of Gloucester on 21st April.
May was an interesting month for spotters, with a mixed bag of first visits. First in was the new Canadian airline Worldways with a Boeing 707 on the 10th, followed by the RAF with two aging Lightnings for the Barton Air Show on the 14th and a Harrier T.4 suffering from a bird strike whilst flying low level near Crewe on the 26th.
The final first for the month was the new Spanish airline Hispania which operated a Caravelle on the 28th.
June continued the trend for first visits with the all time winnerthe space shuttle 'Enterprise' which appeared pickaback on a NASA Boeing 747 on the 7th. It was making a flypast on its way back to the United States after appearing at the Paris Air Show
The arrival the previous day of a DC-8-72 demonstrator for Cammacorp marked the first visit of a re-engined DC-8. Later in the month, Northern Executive sponsored a sales visit by an Egerley Optica spotter aircraft which did 19 demonstration flights on the 14th.
Surprising though it might appear, what is thought to be the first regular helicopter service from Manchester took place between 13th-17th July when British Airways operated eight flights daily to Woodvale using a S-61 forthe Open Golf tournament.
At the opposite extreme, following the golf tournament, a British Airways Concorde left for New York from Manchester with 81 passengers aboard. It
was the first westbound supersonic transatlantic flight from Manchester.
Yet more firsts occurred. The first visit of an AN-24, the Russian equivalent of the H.S.748, took place on 10th October when Tarom brought the Romanian football team for a friendly match against Wales at Wrexham. The first visit by an American Airlines aircraft occurred on the 23rd when a DC-10 diverted in from Gatwick.
Not all was good news, however, as after just 2 Vi years, TAP discontinued their service to Lisbon on 29th October. To the annoyance of many, and amusement of some, 4th November became rodeo day as the airport shut for 30 minutes whilst a herd of cows was escorted off the airfield!
December had further light hearted moments, starting on the 6th when Santa Claus parachuted onto the apron area from a Cessna 172 to publicise the opening of the refurbished Lancaster restaurant by SAS Catering. Princess Diana lit up the surroundings with her first visit on the 20th.
Qantas took out their highest load so far on Christmas day280 passengers. A Dan Air One-Eleven departing ahead of the Boeing 747 got a shock when he requested to hold on the runway to sort out a technical snag. When he asked what the next inbound was, he received the reply "It's you coming back"!
While the weather didn't manage to close the runway in January, 1984, Loganairdid. An F.27 inbound from Edinburgh on LC568 suffered a collapse of the starboard undercarriage on landing during the evening of the 11th. There were no injuries, apart from the aircraft.
Manchester Airport was the subject of questions in the House of Commons when a USAF C-5A Galaxy, the world's biggest aircraft, did an overshoot during a training flight, 'scattering shoppers in Stockport'. C-5's had been bringing Cruise missiles to Greenham Common, and M.P.s wanted reassurances that the missiles wouldn't be based at Manchester.
Wide bodies continued to make inroads on scheduled services. Britannia Airways started the first regular Boeing 767 operation from Manchester on the 26th February on flight BY426A to Faro. The first visit of an A310 Airbus occurred when one appeared in British Caledonian's colours on 31st March, followed two days later by the start of the first scheduled operation of the type, Cyprus Airways to Larnaca.
Singapore Airlines flew in a Boeing 747-300 to
give a demonstration flight on the 14th March. The airline was trying to obtain rights to operate through Manchester, but was being prevented from doing so by British Government intransigence.
An interesting arrival earlier in the month was an American registered Falcon 50 which flew in direct from Manchester, New Hampshire, U.S.A., on the 7th. It is thought to be the first flight from another Manchester.
Freight services received a boost on the 29th April when Emery Air Freight started a new weekly service to New York, initially operated byTransamerica DC-8'sand then Arrow Air from September. The following month, Anglo Cargo, the successor to Pelican, flew 30 tonnes of cigarettes to Cairo on board a Boeing 707 on the 31st.
The first of a planned series of regular Boeing 707 freight charters to the United States was operated by Caribbean Air Cargo. However, due to licence objections from Tradewinds, British Airways and Flying Tigers, who wanted to fly the freight from London, this was the one and only service.
TAP restarted its weekly Boeing 727 service to Lisbon during April, only to stop again afterthe summer period on 29th October. They were followed by Dan Air who commenced a Zurich schedule on 14th May using One-Elevens.
Work had commenced on the redevelopment of the booking hall at the end of 1983, ready for the following summer season, increasing the number of check-in desks from 40 to 57. The Duchess of Kent performed the official opening of the £0.9m. development on 28th June, booking in the first passenger to use the new facility.
The Civil Aviation Authority announced the results of its review of U.K. aviation during July, which included the recommendation that British Airways give up all international schedules from Manchester and other provincial airports.
The Airport Authority supported British Airways position and shortly after, the carrier announced new services for 1985 from Manchester to New York, Munich, Malaga and Larnica.
Two commercial casualties occurred in the space of a month. Friday, 13th July saw Genair go into liquidation, their service to Aberdeen and the newspaper run to Scotland taken over by others. They were followed by Manchester School of Flying who ceased operations on 17th August.
Orion sponsored the first visit of the new generation Boeing 737-300 which was the US Air
owned Farnborough Air Show demonstrator which arrived on the 10th September.
During the month, 6,000 troops were airlifted to West Germany for Exercise Lionheart which involved many civilian airlines.
The benefits of the Category III blind landing system were shown on 15th November when British Airways were able to keep their Shuttle flights operating, although fog had come down at 19.30, not clearing until 15.00 the next day.
Airport staff had their first sight of the new British Airways colour scheme on 24th January, 1985 when a freshly painted Boeing 757 appeared on the Shuttle service.
The tills were ringing during February when the airport played host to 111 airliner diversions from 13 different airfields, representing 44 different airlines and 30 different aircraft types!
Manchester lost some flights in March, however, when the runway was closed at night for three weeks for essential maintenance work.
Keeping their earlier promise, British Airways restored scheduled services to New York, Geneva, Munich and Malta and commenced a service to Larnica during April.
It was a good month for new services. Dan Air commenced scheduled services to Heathrow, Inverness, Oslo, Bergen and Stavanger, El Al began its Tel Aviv route and Lufthansa added Dusseldorf/Munich.
British Air Ferries commenced its scheduled service to Jersey the following month while Emery increased the frequency of its United States freight flight from twice weekly to daily.
Minister of Transport, TheRt. Hon. Nicholas Ridley, officiated at the opening of the£4m., 1,000sq. m. international departure lounge extension (IDLEX) and operations tower development on the 5th August, 1985.
The project included enlarging the duty and tax free shopping area to make it the largest under one roof at any U.K. airport, while the 28 metre high tower was designed to centralise the airport's various operational functions, including marshalling, apron and ramp control, engineering control, flight information services and telecommunications.
Tragedy occurred at 07.13 on 22nd August when a British Airtours Boeing 737 caught fire on take off following a failure of the port engine. Although the aircraft stopped near to the fire station and the fire service responded with maximum efficiency, 55 people
were killed in the ensuing fire.
Leading Fireman Eric Westwood and Fireman Sam Lyttle were honoured with the Queen's Gallantry Medal for their bravery in attempting to rescue passengers.
Buoyant traffic figures were creating new records at Manchester, with July, August and September being the first months with more than three quarters of a million passengers.
Even so, there were route losses. Dan Air's 'City Link' service came to a halt in September when Metropolitan Airways ceased operations. This brought to an end air links with Newcastle, Cardiff and Bournemouth which started in 1970.
An RAF Tornado arrived during the night of the 3rd September making a successful emergency landing as a result of an engine failure over the Irish Sea, marking the first visit of the type. The following day the first transatlantic public charter with Concorde took place operated by British Airways for Cunard.
Strengthening Manchester's operational ability the Civil Aviation Authority installed a ground movement radar system for controlling apron and taxiway activity in poor visibility. It became officially operational on 7th November. Two days later, British Airways inaugurated its twice weekly scheduled Boeing 747 service to Hong Kong.
Councillor Gordon Thomas died in November after a short illness. A distinguished academic, he had been a member of the Airport Authority since 1974 and had served four terms as chairman. In his memory, the Brabazon Suite was renamed after him.
To the relief of nearby residents, new noise regulations came into force at midnight on the 31 st December. It forced the retirement of the Trident, British Airway's last service with the type being the Shuttle departing at 18.32, landing at Heathrow three seconds later than the last Trident flight from Paris.
Shuttle passengers found themselves in the limelight on 21st January, 1986, when to celebrate ten years of operation with the type, British Airways put a Concorde on the London service. Three months later, on 13th April, another British Airways Concorde carried out the first round robin supersonic charter from Manchester, raising money for Hope Hospital.
With the impending abolition of the Greater Manchester County Council on 1st April, 1986 under local government reorganistion, the Airport Authority had looked to the best way of retaining local control of the airport under the threat of central government
intervention as to future ownership.
The solution was to create a public limited companyManchester Airport pic.
By ag reement of a 11 ten of the G reater Manchester District Councils, the company was formed, with 21 directors and taking responsibility of the airport from 1st April, 1986. The make up of the board consisted of nine directors appointed by Manchester City Council with the other nine district councils appointing one each and the three remaining directors being the Chief Executive and two other senior executives.
Operationally, April was a good month for the airport's fortunes. At long last, after tremendous efforts, Singapore Airlines began a twice weekly service using Boeing 747 Combi's. Their handling agents were Servisair and one of their enterprising traffic officers put Manchester United scarves on all the flight crew before they came off the aircraft for a ceremonial welcome!
The month also saw Dan Air start a daily One-Eleven service to Amsterdam while Air Canada commenced a year round service to Toronto using a combination of Boeing 747's and TriStars, the first service taking place on the 28th.
Transatlantic services received a further boost on 1 st May when American Airlines commenced a daily scheduled service to Chicago, using Boeing 767ER's.
It was an interesting month for new services, with Air Europe commencing their first scheduled (as against IT) operations with a Boeing 737 service to Gibraltar the same day while Royal Air Maroc started their first regular IT operation through Manchester a day later.
Commuter-type activity blossomed with Connectair starting a Rotterdam service (last operated by British Air Ferries with Heralds) on a twice daily basis from the 11 th May, using Short 330's. Five days later, Suckling Airways started a daily operation to Amsterdam via Ipswich with Dornier 228's.
British Airways were not to be left out and started weekend operations to Cork, Munster, Dusseldorf and West Berlin, utilising H.S.748's. Short haul commuter services were also catered for; Air Furness started a four times daily Monday-Friday service to Barrow-in-Furness using an Islander.
Another British Airways Concorde appeared on the London Shuttle on 21 st July when the Transport Secretary, John Moore, M.P. arrived with Sir Colin Marshall, Chief Executive of British Airways, to open the
£4.5m Pier C satellite extension. A presentation in the new building, designed to handle a further three wide and one narrow bodied aircraft on air-bridged stands, outlined the next stage of development that was to start immediately.
The shortcoming of the airport's developments were well illustrated on 1 st. August when a British Airways One-Eleven burst a tyre on landing and had to be 'assisted' from the runway. Seven aircraft were diverted away as a result of there being no secondary runway.
After years of consideration, public enquiries and deferment, work on the purpose-designed cargo centre finally commenced in 1984. The £10.5m west side development was opened in September, 1986 by Industry Minister, Peter Morrison. Within 18 months, it was handling over 45,000 tonnes of flown freight per annum and £2m worth of flown freight per day.
If April is traditionally a good month for new services, October, 1986, was an interesting month for movements. Apart from Dan Air withdrawing their Zurich and Heathrow services (the latter had been downgraded during the summer) and the sad demise of Barton Moss Engineering, Reed Aviation increased the number of newspaper flights to Belfast, Dublin and the Isle of Man.
British Gas based a chartered Herald between the 8th-28th for promotional flights over the Irish Sea gas rigs prior to privatisation while Consul G-AJLR (from the RAF Museum store) left the airport by a Singapore Airlines Boeing 747 to be restored in Singapore for the airline's 40th anniversary celebrations. The Consul was the first aircraft type used by the carrier.
There were two airliner type first visits on the 13th October. An Airbus A310-300 of Kenya Airways and a EMB-120 Brasilia of the German airline DLT, diverted from Heathrow and Birmingham respectively, the latter bearing a Brazilian registration.
Records were broken the same day with 18 wide bodies on the ground at onceon more than one occasion! The initial score was 7 x Boeing 747,4x DC-10, 2xTriStar, 2 x A310,1 xA300 and 2 x Boeing 767, followed later with 7 x Boeing 747, 5 x DC-10, 2 xTriStar, 1 xA310,1 xA300and 2x Boeing 767.
Another record breaking day occurred on 29th November when no less than 53 airliners diverted in between 11.00 and 23.00 hours.
Otherwise, the year came to a close reasonably quietly, with KLM operating their inaugural Boeing 737-300 flight, being Amsterdam-Manchester, and
Wardair starting their first scheduled service from Manchester, a twice weekly departure to Toronto.
Meanwhile, the south side Hangar 523 was refurbished for aircraft storage and maintenance use for the first time in nearly 30 years.
With the withdrawal of fire cover, the aerodrome licence for commercial passenger flights is automatically withdrawn. This had been witnessed in previous years, and at the start of 1987 caused a loss of 200,000 passengers when the fire service went on strike between 28th January and 11th February.
Business aviation received a fillip during February when Northern Executive took over Liverpool based air taxi operator Vernair and moved their operation to Manchester while a light aircraft repainting facility was set up in Hangar 521. Meanwhile, Casair started a regular charter operation to and from Teesside for ICI.
Ahead of the traditional April start date for new schedules or change of types, Air France put on a second daily flight to Paris while Swissair increased their capacity when they introduced the Airbus A310 on their Zurich service in March.
Data post expanded their premises as they began to develop a hub operation with the gradual introduction of more flights during the next few months. The network became fully operational in October, with week night flights to Luton, Isle of Man, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Belfast, Newcastle, Bristol, Exeter, Cardiff and Brussels.
After many years without a home based airline, Manchester could once more lay claim to one when on April 3rd, Air 2000's first aircraft, Boeing 757 G-OOOA, flew in direct from Boeing Field, Seattle, landing at 10.28, two minutes early. The aircraft was welcomed by the Minister of Transport, John Moore and the Halle Orchestra.
Air 2000's first commercial service, AMM160 to Malaga, departed at 06.21 on the 11 th April, with their second aircraft being delivered on the 28th. Another first the same day was the first ever commercial service by Air Atlantique's DC-6B. It was a newspaper flight to Dublin, so renewing the DC-6's association with Manchester.
The day before, Malinair started a daily service to Carrickf in which ended in June when the company ceased operations,although they restarted later in July on the Datapost routes. Other new routes during the month were a regular weekday service by NFD to Hannover and a Southampton service by British Air Ferries.
On a somewhat larger scale, Iraqi Airways provided the first llyushin IL-76 to visit Manchester when it operated a charter freight flight on 6th May.
Airtours of Haslingden started their first long haul regular operation on the 16th using a Caribbean Airways Boeing 747 to Barbados. A Qantas Boeing 747 arrived from Heathrow on 4th June with some of the wing leading edge missing.
Even though air traffic control assistants were on strike on the 8th June, it did not stop the month being the first with over a million passengers. The actual figure was 1,057,551, an increase of 19 per cent over June, 1986. It also marked the first time the 12 month total broke through the eight million figure and the first time over 500 movements were handled within a 24 hour period.
Aerof lot commenced a weekly scheduled service to Moscow on 26th July, using TU154's and by so doing made Manchester the only U.K. airport to have both scheduled and charter services by the carrier.
The first visit of a Russian built AN-26 freighter occurred on 7th September when an example operated by the Polish airline LOT came in to pick up the Halle's instruments for a tour of Poland. The aircraft returned on the 13th.
The south side accommodation was rationalised on 7th September with Hangar 522 being divided into three sections for Northern Executive, Grosvenorand Ravenair while private aircraft were moved into Hangar 521 along with Manchester School of Flying.
A Eurocity Express Dash 7 made the first flight from Manchester to London City Airport on 29th September, positioning for a demonstration flight.
British Airways commenced two new twice weekly Boeing 747 services to Orlando and Barbados on the 25th October while Lufthansa started an interesting evening service to Dusseldorf. Scheduled to be operated by a DLTH.S.748, the first service was flown by an NFD ATR-42 making a type first visit. Subsequent services were mainly operated by F-27's, the first H.S.748 not appearing until the 11th November!
An embarrassing diplomatic incident occurred following an engine failure on an Aerof lot TU-134. Engineers on board an Aerof lot IL-76 which arrived at Manchester on 24th November with a spare engine were sent back home as they had no visas. A security exercise planned for later that week was cancelled dne to the presence of the TU-134 and engineers.
Earlier in the month, a Falcon 900 made the type
first visit, flying in from Toronto on the 3rd and departing for New York. Late November and early December saw a British Midland BAe ATP visiting Manchester on route proving.
Twelve years after it was put into service, the original British Airways Concorde, G-BOAC, eventually made its first visit to Manchester. It was the last one of the fleet to do so.
Not for the first time in a December, Air Kilroe gave themselves an early Christmas present. This time it was their move to part of the refurbished north side Hangar 6 from their original south side home, marking the first aviation movements in Hangar 6 since 1949.
As the airport entered its golden jubilee year, it was benefitting from the economic revival in the country as a whole, and the North West in particular. It was also basking in the knowledge that in its first full year of operation, Manchester Airport pic had recorded a profit of £20 million.
There were records all round. Passenger figures leapt by over one million between 1986 and 1987 to 8,696,983 while freight traffic rose by 64 per cent over the previous year to 69,424 tonnes.
Furthermore, the gross trading profit for the first six months of the 1987/8 fiscal year was up by over £7.5 million to £29.29 million.
All this gave a flying start to the airport's 50th anniversary year.
Following the March meeting of the board of directors, the Airport announced the go-ahead for the second passenger terminal, despite the Civil Aviation Authority pegging the airport's price increases over the next five years to one per cent below the rate of inflation.
The first phase, costing £100m, would be opened in 1992.
The annual springtime announcement of new routes was headlined with the news of the return of Aer Lingus to Continental European services through Manchester after a gap of eleven years. They had been forced to withdraw services in 1977 after 30 years following the loss of fifth freedom rights.
With effect from 28th March, the airline began services to Denmark, Germany, Switzerland and Italy. The first service, to Hamburg, was given a send off by Jack Charlton, manager of the Irish Republic football team.
Meanwhile British Airways upgraded its four days a week TriStar New York service to a daily Boeing 747 service originating from Gatwick, increased the
Amsterdam and Dusseldorf frequencies and introduced a six times weekly One-Eleven service to Stockholm.
Scotland fared well with an increase on the Glasgow route from two to five flights on weekdays while new weekday services were introduced to Orkney (via Aberdeen and Wick) and Shetland (via Glasgow and Aberdeen), all using BAe 748's.
Air U.K. became the first British airline to operate the 97 seat BAe 146-200, returning to Manchester for the first time in many years with a weekend service to Jersey and Guernsey.
Taking on both the British and Irish national carriers the fledgling Ryanair launched a new Dublin schedule using One-Elevens and offering dramatically reduced fares.
A major announcement was made on 19th April. A new development company, Manchester Ringway Developments pic, was launched to exploit business opportunities in and around the airport. Controlled by the private sector who held 51 per cent of the shares, the remainder was owned by the ten Greater Manchester District Councils.
The first project planned was a 95,000 sq. ft. seven story office block for completion in 1992.
At the two ends of the airtransport spectrum, the airport began a £100,000 advertising campaign during May in an effort to get licences for American Airlines and Pan American to operate from New York and for Northwest from Boston. Meanwhile, Air Kilroe were awarded a charter contract from ICI to operate three flights each weekday to and from Teeside using ten passenger King Air 200's.
Yet more new services commenced in June, with Alitalia introducing a weekday DC-9 service to Milan and Air Portugal returning to the airport with a twice a week Lisbon-Manchester-Dublin schedule using Boeing 727-100's and expecting to double the frequency the following year.
An important gap in facilities available at Manchester airport was plugged during June with the announcement of a £15m development to construct a hangar large enough to house a Boeing 747 and two A300's at the same time. A joint venture between Qualitair Aviation Group and Manchester Airport pic (with a ten per cent holding) the 108 m. sq. and 34 m. high building would be constructed on the site of the original Hangar One and ready for use in November 1989.
The construction work was awarded to Costain,
whoco-incidently had built the original Fairey's Apron. They had not worked on the airport since obtaining the contract to rebuild the domestic apron in 1987, at a cost of £1 m per stand.
So, on the fiftieth anniversary, what better way to look to the future than quote from the airport's official press information sheet:
"Manchester Airport has a great deal more to celebrate this year than simply a very special birthday, for the airport in 1988 faces a brighter future than ever before.
The government seems at last to be recognising the enormous potential of Britain's Central Gateway and is beginning to view more favourably the airport's initiatives for vital new international services and support for airline flight licence applications to and from Manchester's hub airport.
Passenger forecasts clearly indicate that by the year 1992 no fewer than 12 million travellers will fly to and from Manchester, and by the year 2000 that figure is expected to be a staggering 20 million. Work is already underway on a new £27 million domestic terminal, to ease pressure on the present terminal, and a green light is expected early 1989 for work to start on the magnificent new £200 million terminal 2.
A host of additional developments are in the pipeline designed to prepare Europe's fastest growing major airport for extra passenger and freight traffic up to and beyond the end of the century.
A new £7 million Manchester Airport rail station is set to open in 1992, to provide direct rail links from the Blackpool, Preston line, from Liverpool and from West Yorkshire, each offering an hourly service and stopping en-route at Manchester Piccadilly.
There is also a £2 million scheme to further improve the aircraft re-fuelling service by bringing a fuel pipeline straight from the national fuel distribution system via a link at Goostrey, Cheshire.
The airport's new Cargocentre has, in the last two years, boosted the annual flown throughput of freight from 26,000 to 65,000 tons, an estimated average £3 million worth of freight handled each and every day, and work is expected to start within the next twelve months on a third phase extension to the Cargocentre to increase its capacity still further.
On-going improvements to the runway will include new fast turn off facilities which will enable the airport by 1992 to handle as many as 41 movements in a single hour as opposed to the current maximum of 37.
Manchester Airport's Chief Executive Gil Thompson envisages the airport's annual on-going expenditure, excluding major contracts, rising from around £30 million to more than £50 million by 1992.
In his seven years at the helm of Britain's Central Gateway, Gil has already seen a enormous leap in passenger volume from just 4.7 million to 8.7 million last year, and a total investment in the airport of more than £100 million.
With the help of a vigorous and dedicated management team and the backing of both shareholders and employees, he has steered the airport to a position of major strength in the international aviation hierarchy. As a major international airport, Manchester ranks 16th in Europe and by the mid 1990's Gil is confident it will be firmly in the top ten European airports."
Piper PA-38 Tomahawk N4277E clears Customs after its arrival from the U.S.A. on 8th January, 1979. It was ferried across the Atlantic by 71 year old H. Dubois and routed Ft. Lauderdale, Bangor, Gander and Shannon. With just a 112 hp engine, it was
thought to be the first PA-38 to be ferried across instead of coming in a crate. It carried the incorrect US. registration N4277on the starboard side, but this was removed on the 9th January and the aircraft became G-BMSF for the Manchester School of Flying.
At first sight somewhat off course, Beagle 206 VH-FDFofthe Royal Australian Flying Doctor Service (New South Wales Branch) landed at Manchester on 18th January for attention from Air Kilroe. It continued on its delivery flight to Fort Lauderdale on the 23rd via Stornoway.
Military aircraft movements, especially cargo, are commonplace at Manchester. A less common duo, Portuguese Air Force C-130H Hercules 6803 and French Air Force Noratlas No. 148, are seen parked on the south bay on the 2nd August, 1979. The C-130 arrived to collect a consignment of guard dogs while the Noratlas was on a training detail from France.
The airport fire service has an operational record that is the envy of airports around the world. In addition to holding emergency drills daily the firemen have an annual inspection as part of the Civil Aviation Authority licensing requirements for the airport. Watched by chief fire officer Jack Houraghan and accompanied by sub officer Ken Hodgetts i/c watch, CAA Northern Division's inspecting officer Sid Allen reviews (from left) firemen Mike Brown, Richard
Many motorists driving between Hale and Wilmslow have been surprised at the sudden appearance of an aircraft taxying across the top of a tunnel in front of them! In this case, Transamerica Boeing 747 N742TVheads for Runway 06 to operate a Jetsave flight in summer, 1980. The tunnel was built as part of the runway extension works in 1968. Compare this view with the May, 1966 picture of a BOAC Cunard VC-10 landing.
Longden, Roland Seibert, Martin McGrail, Don Craven, Bill Southwalk (partly hidden) and Ian Edwards on 3rd January, 1980.
G-ASGA taxies out to operate flight BA81 to Toronto via Prestwick on the 30th April, 1980, marking the last scheduled VC-10 departure from Manchester. The aircraft
returned the next morning before positioning to Heathrow. Hangar 1 behind is still in use, while work has yet to commence on extending the apron.
Dan Air established an engineering base for its BAC One-Eleven and H.S. 748 fleets in Hangar 4 on 1st January, 1976, also handling contract work for other operators. During 1981, they undertook a major engineering project converting their H.S. 748 G-BIUV(ex Polynesian Airlines 5W-FAN) to a freighter, inserting a 103"x 67" cargo door. The first such conversion off the production line, the 5.5 tonne capacity aircraft was one of their 19 strong fleet based at Manchester.
In even the most serious business, there - (%
must be time to relax and Christmas is \ y
always a good excuse. Regarded by many as 1 the best Christmas party was that given by THF's Excelsior Hotel, perhaps not surprising considering their line of business. Caught by the camera at the 1980 party were (from the left) Mike Dennehy general manager, ACS passenger catering (now of their retail services division), Lord Mayor, Councillor Mrs. Winnie Smith, Gordon Sweetapple, airport director, Lady Mayoress Mrs. Agnes II Riley and ex airport director Jack Jackman. H
Although the U.K'.s major diversionary airport during the winter when fog and bad weather doses other airports, diversions in early August are uncommon. However, fog in the South of England on the morning of the 4th in 1981 resulted in this scene, which included six Laker wide bodied jets, Airbus A-300B4 G-BIMC on Pier B making its first visit.
The first business jet to be based at Manchester was Lear jet 35A G-LEAR which was delivered to Northern Executive Aviation on 22nd December, 1979 direct from the manufacturers. It was pictured with the rest of the NEA fleet, Piper PA-31 Turbo Navajo G-BIYO, Piper PA-E23 Aztec 250 G-BBIFand Piper PA-30 Twin Comanche 160 G-AXDL on 5th November, 1981 outside their base in south side Hangar 522.
Queen's Flight aircraft are a common sight at Manchester, carrying members of the Royal Family to and from engagements. H.M. Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip embark on Andover CC2 XS790 after a visit to Chester and Warrington on 5th May 1982. The picture includes airport chief executive Gil Thompson, committee chairman Gordon Thomas and Lord Lieutenant of Greater Manchester, William Downward.
The £8.6m. scheme to extend Manchester's runway by an extra 800 feet to 10,000 feet involved considerable civil engineering works, including the diversion of the River Bollin and the filling in of the 80ft. deep valley. It followed the massive £ 13.5m runway refurbishment project to reprofile and strengthen the existing runway to bring
it up to the highest specifications. H. R. H. Princess Anne officially opened the extension on 7th October, 1982 by cutting a ribbon placed across the runway centre line. Later she made the first cut in a 22ft. long, 4501b, cake commissioned from THF Airport Services depicting the runway
Air Manchester only lasted tor a few months in 1982. It was set up quickly in the wake of the Laker collapse and never had an Air Operators Certificate, using that of British Air Ferries instead. The registration G-SURE reflects the involvement of travel company Sureways.
The first visit was on 18th May, 1982 although operations did not commence until 3rd June with flight VF8012 to Ibiza carrying eight passengers, returning the same day with just five passengers. Their last flight took place on 30th October.
A unique sight at Manchester as British Airways line up all three of their Trident variants to await Shuttle loads back to Heathrow on 7th May, 1982. Nearest to camera on Gate 44 is Trident 2 G-AVFE, on Gate 46 is Trident 3 G-AWZL and on Gate 48 Trident 1 G-ARPZ.
The end of the beginning. Fairey's Hangar No. 1, opened by the Lord Mayor of Manchester, Alderman Joseph Grime on 2nd June, 1937 was the first permanent structure at Ringway. By 1982 it had been declared unsafe and was demolished, the site later earmarked as part of Qualitair's new
Jumbo hangar. Seen through the remains of the hangar on 24th October, 1982 is the only Flying Tiger Boeing 747F to visit Manchester, N805FT which had diverted from Heathrow on flight FT010 from Boston.
After many years of negotiation with the British Government, Qantas began their Manchester-Australia service on 1st April, 1983 using Boeing 747 VH-EBM. Routing Manchester-Amsterdam-Bahrain-Bangkok-Sydney-Melbourne, the passengers were
'seen off' by Emu who, with Rod Hull, was flown in all the way from the freight apron in Squirrel G-MAGY. In the background, a CP Air DC-10 prepares for departure on a charter to Toronto.
British Airways introduced the Boeing 757 to Manchester on 22nd February, 1983, when G-BIKB arrived from Heathrow on the Shuttle as a back-up to the Trident 3 seen on stand 46 in the background. It did a low
flypast prior to landing and then carried out a 'familiarisation flight'for civic dignitaries. The first official 757 Shuttle service took place on 16th March.
NASA Boeing 747 NASA905 and Orbiter 'Enterprise' fly past the airport on 7th June, 1983 on their way back to the U.S.A. from the Paris Air Show. ATC vectored the aircraft onto finals, despite the pilots request to fly
south-north over the airfield, a manoeuvre that would have disappointed the thousands of spectators who arrived to witness the occasion.
Dan Air contracted their Link City service to Metropolitan Airways which started at the end of March, 1982. The agreement changed a twice weekly service linking Manchester with Bournemouth, Birmingham, Cardiff and Newcastle using H.S. 748's to a twice daily Monday-Friday DHC-6 Twin Otter schedule. G-BHFD is seen at Gate 41 on 23rd May, 1984. The service ceased the following year.
Following the successful acquisition of the duty and tax free concession by THF Retail Services Division from Finnigans, the concept and marketing of the concession altered dramatically. The initial scheme, pictured here during 1983, has since been totally redeveloped in the light of experience and increasing traffic. It is an interesting comparison with the shop in 1965.
The first stage of a £20m. development passenger to use the new facilities. She is company of airport committee chairman
programme for Manchester's terminal seen here viewing the concourse in the Gordon Thomas and chief executive Gil
facilities was the extended and refurbished performed byH.R.H.The Duchess of Kent Thompson.
check-in hall. The official opening was on 28th June, 1984, who checked in the first
ATCOII Pete Leather utilizes Manchester's new ground movement radar in the visual control room on 7th November, 1985. The £400,000system which complements the Cat IIIB runway lighting system by enabling aircraft to taxi safely in poor visibility was officially commissioned by John Dent, chairman of the Civil Aviation Authority the same day Some things, however, never change; the flight progress strips are the same as seen in the 1956 picture.
Having been true to British aircraft types, including the Comet and BAC One-Eleven, Dan Air, in common with other U.K. operators, had to turn to America for the new generation aircraft. Boeing 737-2E7 G- BLDE, exArkia 4X-BAC, taxies out for another IT. flight on a sunny 19th September, 1985. Behind is the near complete 28m. high ground operations tower, which was formally opened as part of the International departure lounge extensions (IDLEX) development by Transport Minister Nicholas Ridley on 5th August, 1985.
MANCHESTER INTERNATIOMAi AIRPORT
Airport Publicity and promotion activities have grown in importance as traffic and new opportunities have increased. From the appointment of the first press and public relations officer in October, 1974, the airport has built up a comprehensive team ready to exploit every promotional opportunity. For example, the April 1985 caption reads: Toasting the eleven new scheduled services starting this week from Manchester Airport are (left to right) Chief Executive of Manchester Airport, Gil Thompson; Roland Harris of British Airways; George Culpan of Lufthansa; John Varrierof Dan Air; and Chairman of Manchester International Airport Authority, Councillor Keith Barnes.
Singapore Airlines Boeing 747-300 Combi 9V-SKM inaugurates the first regular Manchester-Singapore operation on 1st April, 1986 after two years of negotiation with H.M. Government. The flight operates twice weekly, but an increase in frequency to
a daily basis was requested in early 1988. After the arrival ceremonies (the aircraft was six hours late due to an engine problem) an enterprising Servisair redcap (aircraft dispatcher) gave all the crew Manchester United scarves!
An unprecedented amount of publicity was birdstrikes. His Range Rover (ex Airport Fire
achieved on the appointment in 1986 of Service) bears an interesting logo on the
'The Bird man', Dr. Call urn Thomas, who was door! to reduce the incidence of potentially lethal
Once a year, an interesting variety of British and foreign civil and military aircraft night stop at Manchester. They are display aircraft bound for the annual Barton Air Show and require the facilities available. Two interesting visitors making the firstand no doubt lastvisit of type were West Germany Navy F-104G Starfighters 26 + 63 and 23+17. pictured overnighting in Hangar 5A on 3rd May, 1986.
Concorde G-BOAG on its first visit docked on stand 29 on the Pier C satellite during the official opening day, 21 st July, 1986. The Concorde, put on the regular London Shuttle service, brought Minister of Transport John Moore and Sir Colin Marshall,
Chief Executive of British Airways, to perform the opening ceremony. The £5.6m project, with four gates and twin airbridges, increased the airport's total international passenger departure throughput to 2,400 per hour.
A quiet moment on 28th August, 1986 during the high season, although the number of parked cars gives an indication of passenger numbers. An American Airlines Boeing 767 is on Taxiway One while a British Airways Boeing 757 completes push back from stand 47; work has yet to commence on the new domestic pier. The line of the old Runway 20/02 can be seen to the right of the picture, running past the fire station towards the Pier C satellite. The patchwork on the old apron is where the original concrete has been relaid.
The entire Cal Air DC-10 fleet (G-BJZD, 'IE and G-GCAL) shared Pier C together on Friday afternoons in summer 1986, operating flights to Orlando and the Mediterranean. The cargo terminal is clearly visible beyond the extended apron.
Nostalgia and commercialism came
together on the 11th April, 1987 when Air Atlantique's DC-6B G-SIXC made its first commercial flight for the airline when it operated an extra newspaper service to Dublin.
BEA formed its Super One-Eleven Division based at Manchester on 1st April, 1971 building up to a total fleet of 18 aircraft. It was disbanded on 31st March, 1977. All but the major Check 4 maintenance was undertaken in Hangar 5A, which the airline occupied exclusively. Line maintenance continued, illustrated by this March, 1987, view of G-AVMZ in Bay 1, which was the only part of the hangar retained by British Airways by 1988. The remainder had been taken over by Dan Air as an overflow from their Hangar 4.
2s: ■ ' ... ' -HI u '5
Euravia's first commercial flight took place on 5th May, 1962 with L-749 Constellation G-ARVP flying from Manchester to Palma. Following a change of equipment to Bristol Britannias, a change of name to match, and then the standardisation for many years on the Boeing 737, Britannia Airways became a major IT. operator. By 1983 they flew more passengers through Manchester than any other airport, including their Luton base. Celebrating their 25th anniversary at Manchester during June, 1987 are (from left) Barry Stubbs, senior station officer, Stan Miller, Servisair operations director, John Willis, Servisair managing director, Ron Smith, station engineer, Cathy McDonald, line coordinator, Gil Thompson, chief executive, Manchester Airport, Derek Davidson, chairman, Linda Williams, line coordinator, Robert Parker-Eaton, customer services director, David Hopkins, managing director and John Murray, senior pilot.
The airport handled 1,000,000 passengers in a single month for the first time in June, 1987. Mrs Christine Maxwell from Adlington, Chorley accompanied by husband Stewart, daughter Joanne and son Christopher was the millionth passenger. The Maxwell family arrived at the airport to catch their holiday flight to Corfu with Britannia Airways. To their astonishment they were given a champagne send off by the chairman and chief executive of Manchester Airport pic Councillor Robert Howarth and Gil Thompson along with Bugs Bunny and Mickey Mouse.
Aeroflot started a weekly scheduled service to Moscow on 26th My 1987 with Tu 154's as the nominated type, although Tu134's often appeared. One Tu134, CCCP65697, went technical with engine failure and an 11-76 arrived on 24th November with a replacement engine, marking the first visit of the type. Storm clouds appeared not just over the Tu 134, for the mechanics sent to replace the engine did not have visas and were sent home. The aircraft remained for several days and an SAS exercise planned for this time was cancelled.
The transcendation of Manchester Airport into truly intercontinental status occurred during the mid-1980's, commencing with the arrival of Qantas on 1 st April, 1982 with their Sydney service. A typical view of Pier C on 6th December, 1987 shows Air Canada's TriStar C-FTNK for Toronto, British Airway Boeing 747-236B G-BDXB for New York and Singapore Airlines 747-312 'Big Top'9V-SKN taxiing out for the first leg of its service to Singapore.
For the first time in almost forty years, Hangar 6 was used again for aircraft in December, 1987. Air Kilroe took out a lease on part of the hangarmoving from their south side homewhere their Kingair 200
G-OAKM is seen being pushed in. Originally used for parachute training, the hangar became the export cargo shed until the opening of the present west side facility.
American Airlines commenced their daily Chicago operation on 1st May, 1986, after H.M. Government relented following a protracted battle and granted a temporary operating licencewhich is still in effect. American carriers are not permitted access
to Manchester under the 1979 Bermuda 2 bilateral agreement which caused American, Pan Am and Northwest to abandon plans for services in summer 1987. Here, extended range Boeing 767 N321AA departs from Runway 24 on 10th January, 1988.
BAe 125-700B 7T-VCW of the Algerian occurrences were common in the 1970's,
Transport Ministry arrives at Manchester on but most aircraft now clear through
15th January, 1988, to clear Customs en Liverpool or Luton. Note the steelwork for
route to Chester for maintenance. Such the new domestic pier being erected.
Long haul holidays have been given a boost byAirtours ofHaslingden who based two ; Boeing 747 aircraft at Manchester for summer 1988. A complicated arrangement " 1 ||1 allowed the aircraft to be used by various
^ '; ■ - - - ■'/':^:%'3l^^^^^i'--J * • - St". a/r//nes- Pictured on 26th May 1988 LX-GCV
UQNAIR '^^fe^^^^fe^p^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^J (left) carries Orionair titles on the nose and
an Airtours sticker on the tail (Orionair operated to Orlando) while LX-FCV (right) has just arrived on its delivery flight and carries Carribean Airways titles for its flights to Barbados. Lionairis the charter division of Luxembourg-based Cargolux.
The first Manchester-based passenger airline for many years, Air 2000 heralded their arrival on 3rd April, 1987 when their first Boeing 757, G-OOOA, delivered direct from Boeing Field, Seattle, was greeted by invited guests including John Moore M.P. and the Hallé orchestra in the Pier C Satellite. Another major IT. operator at Manchester, Air Europe commenced regular operations through the airport in October 1979, introducing Boeing 737-300series equipment in 1987. A typical summer scene on 3rd June, 1988 shows, from camera, Air Europe Boeing 737-353 G-BMTH and Air 2000 Boeing 757's G-OOOA and 'B with a Dan Air One-Eleven on south bay and a British Airways Boeing 757 on the new taxi link 2 on arrival from Heathrow.
The wheel turns a full circle. Manchester Airport's fiftieth anniversary celebrations reached a peak on Saturday 25th June, 1988, when a large number of guests, most of whom had links with the airport over many years, revisited 'Ringway', to be joined by some historic aircraft including Hornet Moth G-ADND, the first aircraft ever to land, and Kirby Kite 1 BGA400, the first glijder impressed into service by the Glider Training School.
Growth of Trafficai Manchester Airport1938 to 1987
Chronology of Some Key Events in the History of Manchester Airport
Manchester Corporation appoint a sub-committee to investigate the most suitable site for a municipal airport. 10 October, 1928
Barton recommended by subcommittee as best site for Manchester's airport. 31 October, 1928
Sub-committee's recommendation of Barton accepted by Manchester City Council. 9 November, 1928
Appointment of Aerodrome Special Committee to
mastermind construction and operation of Barton
2 April, 1929
First landing at a municipal airfield in the U.K. Manchester's temporary Wythenshawe airport. Capt. A.N. Kingwill in D.H.60X Moth G-EBZU.
22 April, 1929
Aerodrome licence issued for Wythenshawe.
1 January, 1930
Opening of permanent airport at Barton.
16 June, 1930
First scheduled airline service to Barton (Imperial Airways Argosy 1 G-AAEJ Croydon-Birmingham-Manchester-Liverpool).
23 January, 1934
Inspection of Barton by Captain Ivan Smirnoff of KLM Royal Dutch Airlines. Rejected as unsuitable for proposed Holland-Northern England service. 25 July, 1934
Manchester City Council approve proposal for new
airport at Ringway by one vote.
28 November, 1935
Preparation of Ringway site commences.
17 May, 1937
First confirmed landing at Ringway (Duncan Menzies in Hornet Moth G-ADND).
2 June, 1937
Fairey Aviation hangar one and western part of airfield officially opened by Lord Mayor, Alderman Joe Toole. 24June, 1938
Arrival of first airliner (KLM DC-2 PH-AKPfrom Amsterdam).
25 June, 1938
Official opening of terminal, control tower, hangar and full airfield by Air Minister Sir Kingsley Wood.
27 June, 1938
Scheduled air services commence from Ringway
(Railway Air Services D.H.89A Rapide G-ACPRto
18 January, 1939
Illuminated fog line and other bad weather/nightc lighting aids brought into use. 1 March, 1939
No. 613 (City of Manchester) Squadron, Auxiliary Air Force officially formed at Ringway. 24 July, 1939
First flight of Avro Manchester bomber prototype L7246.
I September, 1939
Scheduled services cease prior to formal declaration of war on 3rd September. 21 June, 1940
Arrival of first personnel for Central Landing School (later Parachute Training School).
28 November, 1940
Luftwaffe drop bombs on airfieldno damage. 9 January, 1941
First flight of Avro Lancaster bomber prototype BT308.
26 April, 1941
Winston Churchill inspects Parachute Training Squadron.
Mid 1941-Late 1942
Construction of three Bellman hangars, runways, taxiways, four additional hangars for Fairey's and three south side hangars. 18 May, 1942
First flight of a Ringway built Fairey Barracuda. 5 July, 1942
First flight of Avro York military transport prototype LV626.
9 June, 1944
First flight of Avro Lincoln bomber prototype PW925. 8 August, 1945
No. 613 Squadron disbanded at Cambrai/Epinoy. 5 January, 1946
First civil aircraft movement post war (Olley Air Services Rapide G-AGSI).
II January, 1946
Negotiations commence with Ministry of Civil Aviation regarding Ringway's future and control. 28 March, 1946
Departure of No. 1 Parachute Training School.
10 May, 1946
No. 613 Squadron reformed at Ringway. 16 June, 1946
First post war scheduled service (Air France Dakota F-BAXD to Paris). 1 February, 1947
British European Airways becomes operational. 20 May, 1947
KLM re-introduce service to Amsterdam (Dakota PH-TBP). Uuly, 1947
First Aer Lingus service (Dublin-Manchester-Amsterdam with Dakota EI-ACT). 20 September, 1947
First visit by a civil helicopter (Westland Sikorsky S.51 demonstrator G-AJHW). 24 April, 1948
Air Show. First recorded visit by jet aircraft (Meteor F.4 VT125of245Sqdn.). 1 August, 1948
First visit by large four-engined airliner (Douglas DC-4 NC79993 of Transocean Airlines).
12 December, 1948
Swiss Airlines introduce Zurich service (Dakota HB-IRN). 7 February, 1949
Opening by Lord Pakenham of new airport terminal in wartime buildings
13 May, 1949
First service by pressurised airliner (KLM Convair 240 PH-TED). 15 June, 1949
Sabena commenced Manchester-Brussels service (Dakota).
31 December, 1950
Arrival of approach radar unit. 6 November, 1951
Completion of main runaway extension from 4,200 to 5,900 feet. 1 April, 1952
Twenty-four hour airport operation introduced. 3 November, 1952
Agreement reached that Manchester Corporation should retain control of Ringway. 29 November, 1952
First transatlantic flight from Ringway (Skyways York G-AHFG to Kingston, Jamaica). 20 March, 1953
First visit of turbine-powered airliner (BEA Viscount V.701 G-ALWE).
28 October, 1953
Introduction of first scheduled transatlantic service (Sabena Douglas DC-6B 00-CTH from Brussels to Manchester and New York). 7 April, 1954
Arrival of first Canadair Sabres for overhaul byAirwork Ltd.
11 April, 1954
First schedules with turbine powered airliners (BEA and Aer Lingus Viscounts). Air France follow in July. 7 May, 1954
BOAC commence London-Manchester-Prestwick-New York route (Boeing Stratocruiser G-ALSC). Uune, 1954
Airport name officially changed from Manchester (Ringway)to Manchester Airport.
29 September, 1954
Millionth post-war passenger through Ringway.
30 March, 1955
Agreemenfsigned between Manchester Corporation and Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation.
29 May, 1955
First inclusive tour operated from Manchester (Air Kruise Dakota G-AMYVto Ostend). 23 April, 1956
First scheduled service to Canada (Lufthansa Super Constellation D-ALIN to Montreal and Chicago). 10 March, 1957
Nos. 613 and 663 Royal Auxiliary Air Force Squadrons
Work commences on new terminal foundations. 23 April, 1958
Main runway extension from 5,900 feet to 7,000 feet becomes operational.
30 July, 1958
First visit of pure jet airliner (French Caravelle demonstrator F-BHHI). 16 April, 1959
BOAC introduce the Bristol Britannia on schedules to
20 April, 1960
First scheduled jet service (Sabena Boeing 707 OO-SJD from New York). Westbound service commences 1st June. Uune, 1961
First European jet service (Air France Caravelle F-BHRD to Paris).
22 October, 1962
Official opening of new terminal by HRH Prince Philip (brought into use 3rd December). April, 1963
First New York services originating at Manchester (BOAC
31 March, 1964
Sabena obliged to withdraw New York service after 10 years operation.
6 May, 1965
Excelsior Hotel opened by Lord Mayor, Dr. William Chadwick.
7 June, 1965
BAC One-Eleven introduced on schedules (Aer Lingus EI-ANE to Frankfurt). IJuly, 1965
BEA commences jet services from Manchester (Trident 1's to Paris). 1 April, 1966
SAS Scandinavian Airlines starts Copenhagen-Manchester-Dublin service (Caravelle SE-DAC). 27 April, 1966
First visit by Russian designed aircraft (llyushin IL-14M OK-BYU).
6 October, 1967
Heaviest passenger load to date: 261 persons in Trans International Douglas DC-8-61 N8961T. September, 1968
Last scheduled Dakota service from Manchester (Cambrian Airways CS246/7 to Bristol and Cardiff).
7 January, 1969
Main runway extended from 7,900 feet to 9,000 feet (a further 200 feet added by August, 1969). 29 April, 1969
First scheduled non-stop transatlantic jet service from Manchester (BOAC Super VC-10 G-ASGD to New York). 27 July, 1970
Dan Air 'City Link' services commence Bristol-Cardiff-Manchester-Newcastle (Nord 262 G-AYFR). 17 August, 1970
First visit of Boeing 747 (BOAC G-AWNC). 1 April, 1971
BEA Super One-Eleven Division begins operations. 16 August, 1972
First visit of Lockheed TriStar (Court Line N305EA leased from Eastern).
23 November, 1972
First visit of Douglas DC-10 (Laker Airways G-AZZC).
2 April, 1973
Laker Airways operate first ever transatlantic ABC flight on any route (DC-10 to Toronto). 31 May, 1973
Introduction of nose-in parking on International Pier 'B'.
27 February, 1974
Record UK civil cargo load95.75 tons in World Airways Boeing 747 N747WA. 25 March, 1974
Official opening of Intercontinental Pier 'C, multi-storey car park and terminal extensions. 1 April, 1974
Airport management vested in Manchester Airport Joint Committee, following local government re-organisation. 12 June, 1974
Commencement of first regular Boeing 747 operation from Manchester (WardairCF-DJC). 7 January, 1975
First and only hijack of aircraft from Manchester (British Airways One-Eleven G-AVMP).
28 April, 1975
Wardair Boeing 747 C-FDJC arrives with record load of 432 adults and 30 children. 25 July, 1975
Manchester Airport Joint Committee renamed Manchester International Airport Authority: Airport adopts title of Manchester International Airport. 1 January, 1976
Dan Air establish major engineering base. 14 November, 1976
First visit of Concorde (British Airways G-BOAA). 22 May, 1977
First scheduled Boeing 747 service (British Airways G-AWNE to New York via Prestwick). 1 February, 1978
Publication of White Paper on Airport Policy. 14 March, 1978
Last Aer Lingus Continental European service through Manchester (EI620/1 Boeing 737 to and from Copenhagen). 30 March, 1978
British Airways discontinues all freight services (including
Jacksons Brickworks chimney demolished. April, 1979
Work commences on runway refurbishing project with night closures.
28 October, 1979
British Airways commences London Shuttle services
22 December, 1979
First executive jet based at Manchester (NEA Learjet 35 G-LEAR).
31 March, 1980
British Airways ends Viscount services through
30 April, 1980
Last regular VC-10 service (BA81 to Toronto, Super VC-10
First scheduled service to Warsaw Pact country (LOT Polish Airlines Tu-134 to Warsaw). July, 1980
First month with over half a million passengers.
29 August, 1980
Runway resurfacing work completed on schedule. December, 1980
First based helicopter (Air Kilroe Jet Ranger). 3 January, 1981
First Laker Skytrain service (DC-10 to Miami). January, 1981
Category NIB operations authorised. 27 March, 1981
Air France withdraw the Caravelle from Manchester-Paris route.
11 December, 1981
Seventeen wide body airliners on the ground during
British Airways announce closure of their Manchester engineering base. July, 1982
First month to have in excess of 10,000 movements. 7 October, 1982
HRH Princess Anne officially opens 10,000 ft. runway extension (operational from 17 August). October, 1982
Demolition of Hangar One due to instability. 26 March, 1983
British Airways cease all transatlantic flights from Manchester. 1 April, 1983
Qantas commence twice weekly service to Australia (Boeing 747 VH-EBM).
26 February, 1984
First Boeing 767 operation (Britannia Airways BY426A to Faro).
31 March, 1984
First Airbus A310 (British Caledonian G-BKWT). 2 April, 1984
First scheduled A310 service (Cyprus Airways 5B-DAQ to Lanaca).
28 June, 1984
Redeveloped booking hall opened by HRH The Duchess of Kent. April, 1985
British Airways restore schedules to New York, Geneva, Munich and Malta and start service to Lanaca. 22 April, 1985
El Al commence scheduled service to Tel Aviv (B767 4X-EAD). 5 August, 1985
International departure lounge extension (IDLEX) and operations tower opened by Transport-Minister Nicholas Ridley.
22 August, 1985
British Airways Boeing 737 disaster at Manchester (G-BGJL). Fifty five killed. 1 April, 1986
Manchester Airport pic formed. Singapore Airlines commence twice weekly service (Boeing 747-300 9V-SKM).
28 April, 1986
Air Canada commence Toronto service (Boeing 747 C-FTOE).
I May, 1986
American Airlines commence Chicago service (Boeing 767 N319AA). 21 July, 1986
Pier C satellite extension opened by Transport Minister John Moore. September, 1986
Cargo terminal opened by Industry Minister Peter Morrison.
29 November, 1986
Fifty three diversions land in 12 hours.
II April, 1987
First service by Air 2000 (G-000A to Malaga).
30 June, 1987
One million passengers in one month for the first time.
Over 500 movements in 24 hours for the first time. 26 July, 1987
Aeroflot commence Moscow service (Tu-154
25 October, 1987
British Airways commence schedule to Orlando and
Barbados (Boeing 747).
Air Kilroe move into Hangar 6.
Go ahead for development of second terminal. 28 March, 1988
Aer Lingus recommence Continental European services through Manchester (Boeing 737 EI-ASG to Hamburg). 19 April, 1988
Manchester Ringway Developments pic announced. June, 1988
Qualitair announce construction of £15m. engineering hangar.
25 June, 1988
Golden Jubilee celebrations involving over 300 guests.
Manchester Airport Archive Preserving the Past for the Future
The Airport Archive is being developed as a centre of reference for historians and researchers on all aspects of the contributions made by Manchester's airports to the well-being of North West England.
The Archivist, Brian R. Robinson, is most anxious to obtain information with regard to every form of activity and will be very glad to receive notes of personal recollection and all manner of record and pictorial material which may be donated or loaned for copying.
Manchester Airport Archive Hangar 6 Annex Manchester M22 5PA Tel. 061-489 3668
CHAIRMEN OF MANCHESTER AIRPORT PLC AND ITS PREDECESSORS
Alderman Sir William Davy Alderman R.A.D. Carter Alderman W.R.Sutton Alderman G.F.Titt Alderman S. Woollam Councillor A. Ellison Alderman J.E. Fitzsimons Alderman T.F. Regan Alderman L.W Biggs Councillor F. Siddall Alderman T.F. Regan Alderman J.E. Fitzsimons Alderman T.W. Farrell Alderman C. Lamb Alderman H. Stockdale Alderman Sir Lionel Biggs Alderman H. Stockdale Alderman Sir Lionel Biggs Alderman C. Lamb
1928-1931 1932-1933 1934-1936 1937-1939 1940-1942 1943-1945 1946-1948 1949-1951 1952-1954 1955-1957 1958
1959-1961 1962-1965 1965-1967 1967-1968 1968-1969 1969-1970 1970-1971 1971-1975 1975-1976 1976-1977 1977-1978 1978-1979 1979-1980 1980-1981 1981-1982 1982-1983 1983-1984 1984-1985 1985-1986 1986-1987 1987-1988 1988-
Counci Counci Counci Counci Counci Counci Counci Counci Counci Counci Counci Counci Counci Counci
Nor G.C.Thomas HorF.J. Balcombe Nor W.Walsh Nor F.J. Balcombe llor W.Walsh Nor K. Franklin llor G.C.Thomas HorK. Franklin llor G.C.Thomas HorK. Barnes llor G.C.Thomas HorK. Barnes llor R.L Howarth llor A. McCardell
Commencement date Sam Hill April 1937*
George Lamb August 1943*
Ken Thompson** May 1950
George Harvey, MRAeS January 1954 JackJackman, DFC November 1968
Gordon Sweetapple, FRAeS May 1974 Gil Thompson, OBE June 1981
*Died in office **Acting
AIRLINES OPERATING DURING 1988
Aer Lingus (El)
Air Atlantis (AIA)
Air Bridge Carriers (ABR)
Air Canada (AC)
Air Ecosse (SM)
Air Europa (UX)
Air Europe (AE)
Air France (AF)
Air Fu mess (GB)
Air Jugoslavia (J R)
Air Malta (KM)
Air Portugal (TP)
Air U.K. (UK)
Air 2000 (AMM)
Amber Airways (DMD)
American Airlines (AA)
American Transair (TZ)
Avio Genex (JJ)
Baltic Airways (HOT)
Britannia Airways (BY)
British Airways (BA)
British Island (BIA)
British Midland (BD)
Business Air Travel (GNT)
Caribbean Airways (IQ)
Cyprus Airways (CY)
Dan Air (DA)
Emery Air Freight (EB) Finnair(AY) Guernsey Airlines (GE) Hispania (XF) Iberia (IB) JAT(JU)
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines (KL)
London City Airways (I I)
Lot Polish Airlines (LO)
Manx Airlines (JE) Monarch (MON) Oasis (AAN) Orion (KG) Orion Air (HS) Qantas (QF) Royal Air Maroc (AT) Ryanair(FR) Sabena (SN) SAS(SK)
Singapore Airlines (SQ) Suckling Aviation (CB) Swissair (SR) Tarom (RO)
Trans Jamaican Airlines (JQ) Tunis Air (TU) Universeair(UNA) Wardair(WD) Worldways (WG)
AIRCRAFT TYPES Airbus A300 Airbus A310 BAe One-Eleven BAe146 BAe 748 Bandeirante Boeing 727 Boeing 737 Boeing 747 Boeing 757 Boeing 767
Britten Norman Islander
De Havilland Canada Dash 7
Fokker F-27 Friendship
Fokker F-28 Fellowship
A typical summer Wednesday in 1988 on the Pier CSatellite with CalairDC-10 G-GCAL, AerLingus Boeing 737EI-BDY, Qantas Boeing 747VH-EBW, WardairBoeing 747 C- FDJC with tail of American Airlines Boeing 767 N323AA visible behind.
The official party at the Golden Jubilee celebrations on Saturday, 25th June, 1988 gather on the apron in the shadow of Chester built Lancaster PA474 of the RAF's Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.
Inside front cover
Interocean's DC-4 LX-IAL parked on the unfinished domestic apron in November, 1960 awaits its next passenger load.
Inside back cover
Diversions feature during winter months and test Manchester's ability to handle extra traffic at short notice. February, 1985 sees Boeing 747's of British Airways G-BDPV, Air India VT-EBN and 'FJ, Pan Am N750PA and Air New Zealand ZK-NZW