Manchester Airports Group (MAG) and HS2, the high-speed rail link believe the new link to the North is “key” for a connected Britain and could bring more passengers within reach of the airport.

Charlie Cornish, CEO of Manchester Airport Group (MAG) and HS2 CEO Mark Thurston met at Manchester Airport to discuss progress on the development of the line to Manchester and the proposed station at Manchester Airport. The HS2 will link over 25 towns and cities from Scotland to the South East.

The leaders discussed the potential for a new station at Manchester Airport to bring together HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR) services to “help spread the benefits of high-speed rail connectivity across the North.” Manchester Airport Group are encouraging work on the northern leg of HS2 to be accelerated, to allow the benefits of better connectivity in the North to be felt sooner.

Phase one of HS2, between the West Midlands and London is scheduled to be completed by 2026, with plans to extend to Crewe by 2027 and to Leeds and Manchester by 2033. Works on the first phase of HS2 are underway at over 250 work locations.

The leaders said both recognise “that providing quicker and easier access from across the UK to the country’s third largest airport will bring huge benefits for millions of business and leisure passengers and enable them to take advantage of an expanding network of global connections.”

The arrival of HS2 and NPR at Manchester Airport will offer the opportunity to create a new station and neighbourhood, the airport argues, as well as the potential for 20,000 new jobs over the next ten years. The leaders suggest the integrated HS2/NPR station will bring more passengers within reach of the airport and therefore increase the number of new long-haul routes.

Charlie Cornish is currently chairing the Manchester Airport Station Board, working with HS2, the government and other stakeholders to agree plans for a station.

“The positive discussions we’ve had today demonstrate the benefits we all see of having improved rail links to the North,” commented MAG CEO Charlie Cornish. “A hub station at Manchester Airport will be vital, helping us expand further our network of international routes, which connect people and businesses to destinations all over the world, attracting inward investment to the Northern and UK economy.”

“What we need to talk about now is how we’re going to ensure this HS2 line will link up with Northern Powerhouse Rail to ensure the whole of the North can benefit, of which the Manchester to Leeds line announced by the Prime Minister a couple of weeks ago is just the start.”

HS2 will also play a role as facilitator of NPR, which would maximise connectivity across the North to cities such as Leeds, Liverpool, Bradford and Sheffield. The leaders suggest connecting these lines at a new hub station at Manchester Airport is needed to improve connectivity both North to South and East to West, and that the full potential of each scheme will be maximised by taking an integrated approach.

Cornish continued: “It is imperative that both of these lines are delivered, connected by a hub station at Manchester Airport, to ensure the benefits of both lines are available to the widest section of the North’s population and business community.”

“The HS2 line to Manchester will be an important milestone in the journey to creating better transport links, and vital to rebalancing the UK economy,” he concluded.

Mark Thurston, CEO of HS2 Ltd called HS2 a “once in a generation opportunity to better connect the North to the Midlands and bring Britain together.”

Thurston said with the new Manchester Airport station, the trains would allow more people across the country to use the airport and added: “HS2 also has a crucial role in delivering Northern Powerhouse Rail’s plans and will act as the backbone for the integrated rail network the North deserves. We will build the infrastructure needed to enable faster and more frequent services between Liverpool, Manchester Airport and Manchester.”

Image: HS2 CEO Mark Thurston (left) with Manchester Airport Group CEO Charlie Cornish.

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