Does Manchester Airport operate at night?
Manchester Airport has operated on a 24-hour basis for over 60 years. Heathrow and Gatwick Airports operate at night too and like us have a Night Noise Policy, although ours is much stricter in a number of areas. Our Night Noise Policy restricts the operations permitted so that the noise climate is much reduced from daytime levels. The Policy strikes a careful balance between the interests of our local community and the demand from our passengers to fly. For more information please see our Night Noise Policy.
Directions of our operations
Like all airports Manchester operates according to weather conditions, principally the wind direction. In order to ensure a safe takeoff and landing aircraft have to fly in to the wind. The prevailing wind direction in the UK is westerly so normally aircraft fly from northeast to southwest. In practice this means that normally aircraft land from the northeast over Stockport, Cheadle and Heald Green and takeoff towards and around Knutsford. In dual runway operations aircraft will usually land on to Runway 1 (23R) and depart from Runway 2 (23L).
When the wind direction changes, for safety reasons, our landing processes are reversed with aircraft landing from the southwest, lining up to the south of Northwich and over Knutsford and taking off towards Stockport. The wind direction and speed is measured on the ground and at higher levels and an easterly wind above ground level may determine our operating mode, as aircraft cannot descend amongst unfavourable winds. Aircraft will establish on their approach 3,000-4,000 ft above ground level and it may be the wind speed direction at these altitudes that determines our operating mode.In dual runway operations aircraft will usually land on to Runway 2 (05R) and depart from Runway 1 (05L). Easterly winds affect approximately 20% of our movements per annum in this way Runway Data Sheet .
Whenever weather conditions permit, it is our preference for aircraft to depart to the west, because this affects fewer people. This policy has been formalised as part of our Air Traffic Control procedures and in the form of a legally binding planning agreement with the Local Authorities.
Where do aircraft fly on departure?
Departing aircraft must follow a Preferred Noise Route (PNR) until they reach a certain height (called a ‘release altitude’), unless otherwise instructed by Air Traffic Control. To minimise disturbance to our local community, we have designed our noise routes to take aircraft away from built up areas wherever possible see our Runway Data Sheet.
Can departing aircraft fly outside the Preferred Noise Routes?
Some times for safety reasons Air Traffic Control will direct aircraft to fly outside the Preferred Noise Routes. This may be to fly around poor weather or the Police aircraft see our Runway Data Sheet.
Do arriving aircraft follow preferred noise routes?
No. Air Traffic Control (ATC) position and sequence aircraft on a descent pattern into the Airport from many directions relating to their point of origin. Aircraft inbound to Manchester usually follow a prescribed route known as a Standard Arrival Route (STAR). Sometimes aircraft will follow their STAR to a holding stack, or, more often be directed from 50/60 nautical miles out onto a heading to intercept the Instrument Landing System (ILS).
Firework, Sky Lantern & Balloons
Fireworks, Sky Lanterns and Toy Balloons can be dangerous to aviation. If you are organising a display or are intending to use Fireworks, Sky Lanterns or Toy Balloons close to Manchester Airport, please read this data sheet carefully Fireworks, Toy Balloons & Sky Lantern Data Sheet.
Air quality and air pollution
We have in place constant monitoring around the airport site see our Air Quality Data Sheet.
I live near the Airport can I apply for sound insulation?
We operate a Sound Insulation Grant Scheme for those properties most affected by aircraft noise. For more information please see Mitigation Schemes.