UK Airport Expansion Plans

Posted by Steve Thomas on Friday, August 16, 2019

While London Heathrow airport often hogs the limelight, other UK airports are also undergoing expansion to cope with future demand. Edinburgh Airport recently completed and opened its new terminal expansion in June 2019, and others are following suit before capacity problems arise. Here’s the latest developments on UK airport expansions and the potential aviation jobs impact.

Manchester Airport Transformation Programme

Manchester Airport is investing £1bn to increase the size of it’s existing airport facilities by 150%. Terminal 2 – which is undergoing expansion until 2020 and refurbishment until 2022 – will double in size and become the primary airport building. Three new piers for aircrafts are being built, with provision for a fourth in the future, with Pier 1 having recently opened in April 2019 and Piers 2 and 3 expected to be complete in 2022 and 2024 respectively. New baggage handling systems, a new multi-storey car park, and road upgrades are all part of the transformation programme, providing excellent opportunities for aviation engineers, civil engineers, project managers and quantity surveyors who want to be based in the North.

Birmingham International Airport Terminal Extension 3

While still in the tendering stage, Birmingham International Airport is planning to build a £15m terminal extension as part of it’s Master Plan. The current departure lounge of the North terminal will be expanded by nearly 40% and feature plenty of glass to maximise the amount of natural light within the terminal. An expanded check-in area will be created, as well as new retail facilities, all of which will require quantity surveyors, project managers, commercial managers and construction site managers. Baggage handling systems engineers will also be called for to help deliver baggage improvements and new sorting systems for enhanced efficiency. If you are looking for an aviation job in the Midlands, Birmingham Airport is one to watch.

Gatwick Airport Expansion

Gatwick is currently finalising its Master Plan, due to be published imminently. While no doubt disappointed that Heathrow Airport’s third runway has been chosen as the government’s preferred option for increasing aviation capacity, Gatwick has other options in the pipeline. Having quickly overtaken it’s forecast passenger growth – now at 45m passengers per annum (mppa), originally forecast for 2030 – it’s clear that some expansion will be necessary, and soon. 

One option is to install new aviation technologies on the main runway to help improve efficiency and, therefore, capacity. Another option is to use the existing standby runway in parallel with the main runway. The agreement to not use the two runways simultaneously ends this year, but upgrades to runway lighting, navigation databases, and other associated aviation infrastructure will need to be undertaken first, as well as some minor runway reconfiguration works. Should this option get the green light, expect to see demand rise for aviation engineers, project managers, and commercial managers in London. On top of this, Gatwick Airport is also holding on to some land just in case a second (or third) runway becomes an option, so don’t rule out future construction work at Gatwick.

Bristol Airport Expansion

Currently seeking planning permission is the proposed expansion of Bristol Airport to handle 12mppa. The plans include two extensions to the existing terminal building, a new service yard and multi-storey cark park, and reconfiguring the existing taxiways and internal roads at the airport. Somerset is a beautiful part of the country for any civil engineers, project managers, quantity surveyors and commercial managers looking for aviation jobs in the South West.

Aviation Jobs Across the UK

So, no matter where you want to be based, if you are looking for an aviation job there is plenty to keep you busy for several years to come. Whether you want to work on the London Heathrow megaproject or even abroad at Hong Kong International Airport, the aviation sector is flourishing both nationally and overseas. Feel free to get in touch to discuss any upcoming aviation vacancies we have, or set up our job alerts service to be kept in the loop.

About the Author 

Steve Thomas
Construction Recruitment Director, UK & Canada
I am responsible for the Maxim Recruitment office in the UK where our team of recruitment consultants specialise in the recruitment of quantity surveyors, commercial managers, delay, dispute and claims consultants for civil engineering and building contractors and specialist construction consultancies.  I am also responsible for growing our recruitment operation in Canada and the USA where we are increasingly busy.  I have over 20 years’ experience in construction recruitment and enjoy working on both contingency and search/headhunting assignments for our repeat clients.
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