Dual Runway Use

Find out more about changes to Manchester Airport's use of its two runways

a380 on runway

How we operate

Manchester Airport has two runways. We can use both runways during the daytime but planning permission does not allow us to use Runway 2 between 10pm and 6am, unless we are doing maintenance on Runway 1 or there is an emergency.

Communities have asked us to keep the use of both runways at the same time (dual runway operations) to a minimum. As our movement numbers increased, between 2001 and 2020, we increased our hours for dual runway use to meet the needs of our business. With international travel severely restricted and passenger numbers down over 99%, in the initial phase of COVID-19 lockdown, we have not required dual runway operations. Since March 2020 we have used Runway 1 alone, except when maintenance works have taken place, when we have used Runway 2 alone.

In 2022 we anticipate traffic levels will have sufficiently recovered to again require ‘dual runway operations’. We have produced a datasheet that explains the differences that will be seen as normality returns to air travel.

What effect did these changes have?

Depending on where people live there may be no change, less or more aircraft. To help explain we provided information and opportunities to learn more:

  • Our Dual Runway data sheet.

  • Our Runway Data Sheet pages include a Runway Data Sheet that explains operations.

  • Also available on our Runway Data Sheet pages datasheets that show an experience of operations in 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019. There is a datasheet covering each of the seven Preferred Noise Routes (four westerly with combined Runway 1 and Runway 2 departures and three easterly) and an Arrivals sheet (2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019). These sheets show experienced frequencies, heights and noise contours experienced.

  • We hold Community Outreach sessions for where you can talk face-to-face to a member of our engagement team.

  • You can email with any queries community.relations@manairport.co.uk.

  • Or leave a telephone message on Freephone 08000 967 967 and we will come back to you.

If this is a return to normal, will there be changes in the future?

  • In February 2017 the Department for Transport published ‘Upgrading UK Airspace’. This document reviewed how modern aircraft can use new technology onboard aircraft for greater efficiency and reduced noise. The current departure routes for aircraft are based on navigation equipment on the ground. Modern aircraft can replace this method of navigation by using satellites. Satellite-based routes enable aircraft to follow the departure routes more accurately while maintaining safety.

  • The Manchester Airport Future Airspace project is following the seven stage, fourteen step process to modernise our skies. Our Manchester Airport Future Airspace project pages outline the process underway, and the progress made so far.