Manchester Airport

Continent: Europe Country: United Kingdom Region: England
Manchester Airport
Location Manchester, England
Airport type Commercial
Website []
Overview map [,-2.279320&spn=0.029493,0.076484&t=h&hl=en Google Maps]
Tower 118.625 (24R/06L)119.40 (24L/06R)
Ground 121.85
Clearance 121.70 (delivery)
Approach 119.525
ATIS 128.175 (Arrivals) 121.975 (Departures)

Official Spotting Locations

MAN has 2 parallel runways, 24R / 06L (Runway 1) and 24L / 06R (Runway 2) . Aircraft movements are generally inbound on 24R and outbound on 24L. However the wind direction shifts approx 20% of the year and this flow is reversed. During the quieter period of each day from 12.00pm to 15.00pm, the airport reverts to single runway use and uses 24R / 06L (Runway 1) for both inbound and outbound flights

Multi storey car park

13th Floor of Multi storey car park - Terminal 1 - Views of Runway 1 and close views of aircraft parking and moving.

There is an aviation shop here, some pay telescopes and some thoughtfully provided camera holes in the security fences. Be warned however that this is a short-stay airport car park and is very expensive for vehicles!

Up to 30 mins £2.10 30 mins to 1 hour £3.10 1-2 hours £4.80 2-3 hours £7.00 3-4 hours £9.50 4-6 hours £14.00 6-16 hours £20.30 16-24 hours £25.20

A.V.P. - Aviation viewing park

The A.V.P is located approx 2/3 way along Runway 24R (Runway 1) and offers excellent views of both flying and taxiing aircraft. It has 3 raised platforms for better viewing and photography, a very good snack bar, Family picnic areas and clean Male and Female toilet facilities. There is also a well-stocked aviation shop selling books, binoculars and radios etc.

Signposted from main terminal areas and railway station. This area also contains Concorde,Avro 146,DC 10 nose section, Vixen jet fighter and Trident(partially re-assembled)aircraft.

The A.V.P is situated off the A538 between Junction 6 of the M56 motorway and the airport tunnels.

From the Junction 6 Roundabout follow signs for Wilmslow. After a very short distance you will see Sunbank Lane on the left with a sign post for “Concorde”. Turn left here and then immediately right at the crossroads onto Wilmslow Old Road and follow to the end.

You can get to the A.V.P by bus from the "The Station" at the Airport, which is situated mid-way between Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 . Journey time by bus is approximately 10 minutes. The Styal Shuttle bus 201 operates year round on weekends and Bank Holidays. Buses leave The Station at 08.25, then every hour 09.32 until 17.32. Buses leave the Viewing Park every hour 09.25 until 17.25.

From 25 March - 30 October 2005 buses operate at weekends and Bank Holidays. Buses leave The Station every half hour from 08.55 & 09.25 until 16.55. Buses leave the Viewing Park every half hour from 09.10 & 09.40 until 17.10.

Arriva North West operates a daily service (bus 19, 19A, 19B, 19C) stopping at the rear of the World Freight Terminal from where the Aviation Viewing Park is approximately a 10 minute walk. Arriva 19/19B leaves The Station every half hour from 07.25 - 22.55 daily. Arriva 19A/19C leaves the World Freight Terminal every half hour from 07.30 - 18.00 Monday - Saturday. Some evening and Sunday services operate from the World Freight Terminal.

Other Spotting Locations

South Side (Runway2) A disadvantage of the official Aviation Viewing Park (AVP) is that it faces into the sun until late in the day, making photography more difficult. Better photography is often offered by heading around to Runway 2 on the South side of the airport. Going there is easy by car. By public transport is possible too, but a bit of a handful.

The closest bus stop to Runway 2 is at the Moat House Hotel (Holiday inn) on the A538 Wilmslow road . Bus service no 288 runs along the A538 and there is a stop near to the AVP at the junction with Sunbank lane – from the AVP this means walking back towards the main road (approx ½ mile). From this bus stop it is then 2 stops along to the Moat House Hotel (Holiday inn). The bus runs every 30 mins.

By car, from the Junction 6 Roundabout off the M56, follow signs for Wilmslow along the A538. Approximately 1 mile along this road you will drive under the 2 runway tunnels. As you exit the 2nd tunnel you will come to a roundabout. Turn left at this roundabout and then turn immediatley right before the gate - Then park up on the left before the bridge, as this road becomes the Moat House hotel car park beyond the bridge. Do try to tuck your car into the hedge, as the hotel mini-bus screams up and down here every half-hour or so and its a narrow road!!

DO NOT park anywhere between the roundabout and the gate - you WILL get a ticket or a tow - even on the grass verge.

Once you have got to the Hotel,you have two options. There are raised viewing mounds running the length of runway 24L. These are segregated by the road tunnels which allow the A538 to go under the runways. So your choice is to cross the road and go left and past the new fire station to get to the mid point and beyond of runway 24L for views of aircraft rotating and taking-off OR go right to the start of runway 24L for close-up taxiing and line-up views of aircraft.

Runway 24L - taxi and line-up

From the Hotel entrance, turn right and walk through the car park, over the small stone bridge and up to the top of this road. On the right is a black cattle gate. Walk through the gate and follow this footpath for approx half-a-mile. The path finishes at the runway security fence and you will see long earth mounds either side of you which offer superb elevated views of the first 1/3 of runway 2.Further around to the right is an elevated mound which is directly infront of the link taxi-way between runway 1 and 2 - you can practically count the rivets on the aircraft as they line-up !!!

Runway 24L - rotation and take-off

The second option is to walk from the hotel back to the roundabout. On the other side of the road you just came in on, you will see a footpath of steep steps rising to the top of the hill. Follow this path for roughly 15 minutes past the side of the new fire station and up to the runway security fence.

From here, you can go left and follow the path parallel to runway 2 down into a vally and then back up again to raised mounds which offer superb views of aircraft rotating on runway 2 for take-off.

As an alternative, turn left after the fire station and follow the path downhill to the lowest lowest point of the valley. Then turn right and follow the river through the tunnel under runway2. As you exit the tunnel turn right up the hill for a viewing spot half way between runway 1 and runway 2

Please note that runway 2 is usually closed between 1200 and 1500 hours. Also check before making any journey which way the aircraft are flying!. For approx 20% of the year, the wind shifts and the flying changes direction.

Food Court

At the food court between terminal 1 and 2 there are a lot of large windows overlooking a few gates. Pictures can be had here from planes taxiing in the distance, as well as parked nearby.

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Locations to Avoid

None really - just be sensible - don't park in-front of crash gates and stay on the public side of the security fences and you will be ok.

The areas offered as alternatives to the AVP (the mounds and the area beyond the new fire station) are public footpaths and you wont get more than a passing glance from the security staff when they are patrolling airside.

The airport and council have always been fairly spotter-friendly so just read the notices and dont go or park where it says you shouldnt.

Regular Traffic

Most of the British airlines and the usual European airlines. Some long haulers like AA, CO, EK, PIA etc.

Facilities and Transportation

Public Transportation

Railway Station at Airport between Terminals 1 & 2. Services from most of the UK mainline stations. Bus Station adjacent to railway station.

Travel tips