The new terminal, part of the £1.3bn Manchester Airport Transformation Programme, has been recognised in the airports category of the prestigious Prix Versailles, an award for cutting-edge architecture, as judges called the design of the facility “inspiring”.

The terminal was designed by architects Pascall+Watson, who have welcomed the award. It opened in 2021 and was judged as part of the 2022 cohort for the Prix Versailles, the awards for which were announced this month.

The Prix Versailles was launched in 2015 and is recognised by UNESCO. The awarding criteria include innovation, creativity, reflection on local, natural and cultural heritage and ecological efficiency.

Recognition for Manchester’s new Terminal 2 comes as work progresses in earnest on the next phase of its transformation.

More than 1m working hours have been clocked up since the project was announced in 2015. The new Terminal 2 opened in 2021 and millions of passengers have now enjoyed its mix of stylish, modern facilities, locally based food and drinks outlets like San Carlo, Archies and Se7en Brothers and internationally renowned retail outlets.

The next phase will see Terminal 2 expand to nearly double its current capacity meaning that by 2025 around 80% of the airport’s passengers will use it.

More than 500 jobs will be created in the construction alone, while independent analysis shows that around 16,400 extra jobs will be generated by 2040, as a result of the economic activity stimulated by the expansion.

Terminal 2 is one of six airports recognised by the Prix Versailles from the 2022 cohort. Others included Los Angeles International Airport’s West Gates Terminal, Helsinki Airport’s Terminal 2 and Chengdu Tianfu International Airport in China.

Jérôme Gouadain, Secretary General of the Prix Versailles, said: 

“Manchester Airport today joins the World’s Most Beautiful Airports List thanks to the remarkable architectural work on Terminal 2 and recognised during the 2022 edition of the Prix Versailles. 

“Focusing on the purity of lines and a perfectly mastered interior design, the airport combines lightness and conviviality. Inspiring.” 

Chris Woodroofe, Managing Director of Manchester Airport, said: 

“We’re proud to serve the people of the North, not only by connecting them to the world via a route network unrivalled by any UK airport outside London – but also by offering them an airport experience that matches any major international capital city. 

“The Prix Versailles naming Terminal 2 as one of the most beautiful airport terminals in the world is recognition of the hard work and expertise that has gone into creating a truly world-leading facility for the people of the region. 

“And the most exciting thing is that we’re not even finished yet. More than 1million working hours have gone into the Manchester Airport Transformation Programme so far but there’s much more to come. 

“We’re moving into phase two now and over an epic 18 months between now and 2025 we’ll see work finish on the project. By that time, around 80% of our passengers will go through Terminal 2 so while many may not have experienced it yet, the chances are you will do in future.” 

Julian Carlson, Pascall+Watson Director, said: 

“We are delighted that the collaborative efforts of Pascall+Watson and the MAG Team in designing and executing Manchester Airport’s new Terminal 2 have been acknowledged by Prix Versailles. 

“This transformation project has allowed us to create a modern aesthetic while revitalising and expanding existing facilities for future use. 

“Terminal 2 not only enhances the passenger experience but has also been successfully completed within an active operational airport environment.” 

Manchester Airport has also been shortlisted for the Best UK Airport in the annual Travel Weekly awards.

The second phase of the Manchester Airport Transformation Programme is already well underway. Work has begun to build a new pier at Terminal 2 that almost doubles the number of gates to aircraft available.

New screening machines have been added to some of the security lanes in Terminal 2, beginning the process that will soon see the limits on liquids in hand luggage scrapped. New check in desks have opened in the new section of Terminal 2 to ensure capacity isn’t affected as work begins on the older half of the building.

Tenders are also live for 27 new retail and food and drink outlets that will feature in the redeveloped section of Terminal 2 as well as an artwork modelled on the iconic chandeliers that used to hang in Terminal 1.

Key partners in the project include architect Pascall + Watson, programme managers and construction lead Mace, airfield designer Jacobs, structural engineer Buro Happold and baggage system lead Vanderlande among others.

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