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Manchester Airport celebrates 80th birthday

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In 1938 the aiport was officially opened by an air display from the Royal Air Force

Manchester Airport has announced a wide-ranging programme of activity to celebrate its 80th birthday with passengers, communities and colleagues past and present.

The airport’s “oak” anniversary celebrations will emphasise its regional roots and global branches, telling the story of its evolution from a single wooden hut in 1938 to the UK’s third largest airport today.

Activities took place either side of Manchester Airport’s official birthday, on June 25, and also looked forward to how the gateway will be transformed through the £1bn investment programme currently underway.

The airport is also set to open up the archives and curate a special exhibition of artefacts from across the decades. These include old airline memorabilia, uniforms and antique luggage scales, some not being seen for many years. These will go on display at the airport’s Runway Visitor Park for its thousands of visitors to see, free of charge.

Manchester Airport has also partnered with airline KLM, who operated the first commercial flight on 27 June 1938 to Amsterdam via Doncaster. The Dutch national carrier is planning a range of activities to celebrate this milestone with its passengers.

The airport has made a pledge to plant 80 oak trees around the region, working community organisations to decide the locations for them.

Andrew Cowan, CEO of Manchester Airport said: “Marking 80 years is a milestone everyone at the airport is incredibly proud of. As we look back, it is clear to see Manchester is a totally different airport to when it first opened in 1938, but we have never lost sight of our local roots and the important role we play in the lives of those living and working around us.

“As passenger numbers have grown, along with the number of places we fly to, so have the benefits we deliver to the region, in terms of the number of jobs created, businesses supported through our investment or the trade and tourism links we provide.

“I look forward to the coming years and seeing the airport develop through our £1bn transformation programme that will see Manchester continue to be a world-class airport for all of the North.”

The Leader of Manchester City Council, Sir Richard Leese, said: “Manchester Airport is integral to the city’s prosperity and future growth, helping us to attract investment from around the globe and create jobs, while connecting international visitors with everything we have to offer.  It’s also a really important local employer, so it’s fitting that staff from the Airport will be joining us for the Manchester Day parade, as part of the 80th anniversary celebrations for this vital asset to Manchester.”