LONDON – Manchester Airport has had a busy week up to now, announcing two routes, featuring two carriers out of the airport.

The Return of Bangladesh…

The first route was announced on Monday when Biman Bangladesh Airlines will return to the airport on January 4 next year.

Services from Sylhet will commence on a three times per week service using its Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft.

This route is set to be an important market for the airport, where more than 55,000 people a year travel from Manchester Airport’s catchment area to Dhaka and Sylhet, with 600,000 people travelling onwards in the Biman network.

Furthermore, there is around 70,000 Bangladeshi people that live in the catchment area too, so there is significant demand for this route when it launches.

Airport CEO Andrew Cowan commented on the route news from Dhaka expressing the reasons why for this route launch.

“We have known for some time there is significant demand for a direct service to Bangladesh and so we are delighted to be confirming this news today.

“Manchester Airport is the UK’s gateway to the north of England and within our catchment area, there are many long-standing Bangladeshi communities for whom this will make a massive difference.

He also said that businesses in the north of England would also benefit.

“We know there are many northern companies with a desire to trade in Bangladesh, while we also look forward to welcoming business and leisure visitors from that part of the world.

“This long haul route is the latest we have added to Manchester in recent years, as we continue to work hard to connect the north to key international destinations.”

This route isn’t exactly a new one as Biman had previously operated services from Dhaka to Manchester and then onwards to New York until 2012.

airBaltic Makes Manchester Third UK Destination…

airBaltic has announced it will expand to Manchester, launching direct flights from Riga.

Services will commence on March 29 next year, offering up to four flights per week using its Airbus A220-300 aircraft.

This means airBaltic will join the likes of SWISS who also send in the A220 into Manchester.

Martin Gauss, the CEO of airBaltic commented on the news, advertising the Latvian capital and what the airline has to offer with this route.

“Riga is a dynamic city and a key business centre of the Baltic states and has a lot to offer to both business and leisure travellers. It is also a very convenient transfer point with excellent connections within our wide route network.”

“Our passengers will be able to travel to both cities for very attractive prices in the economy or our full-service business class on the new and comfortable Airbus A220-300 aircraft.”

This makes Manchester the third UK destination in the airBaltic network after London Gatwick year-round and summer-seasonal services to Aberdeen.

The UK market seems to be a sticking point for the carrier as it aims to carry 17% more passengers on these routes than last year.

Another statistic that benefits airBaltic is that almost one-fifth of all passengers travelling to and from the UK with the airline choose Riga as a transfer airport.

The most popular destinations among those transfers are Tallinn, Vilnius, Helsinki, Turku, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Tbilisi and Odessa.

This route will join another set of future services the airline plans to offer such as Riga to Trondheim, Bergen and Yerevan as well as from Tallinn to Nice.

Expansion Plans Paying Off?

With the first part of the Manchester Transformation Programme (MANTP) already opened up to the public, it remains clear that the extended capacity on offer is beginning to pay off.

It is not just reattracting previous airlines that have visited in the past, but it is also doing what the airport paid over £1bn to do. To attract new airlines and new markets.

If this is a pattern that remains consistent, we could see past carriers potentially return, but more importantly, new airlines offering new and upcoming markets that could benefit not just the Northern Powerhouse, but also the UK economy as a whole in respect to trade, tourism and more.

It will be interesting to see whether any further route announcements will be made as MANTP continues to develop and build.

In time, we can only wait for these routes to launch and see what sort of feedback it therefore receives.