Did you know you could fly to every major city in the world, either one stop or non-stop from Manchester Airport? Over a million people haven’t heard and will be the focus of Manchester Airport’s attention during September.
Starting this week, a national advertising campaign called ‘So Far, Yet So Near’ is launching to win back the estimated 1.5m passengers from the airport’s catchment area that fly long haul from other airports. The awareness campaign will include the unveiling of an outdoor advertising campaign focussing on destinations in America, the Far East and India and using Geolocation a first for Manchester airport, on website including Skyscanner, on the beach and Expedia.
The airport ran a similar campaign in 2008, which was designed to highlight to residents of the airport’s catchment area about the range of long haul destinations that were served, by the UK’s largest regional airport. In November 2008, 68% of people knew that it was easy to connect from Manchester to a long haul destination but at the last survey taken in March, this had dropped to 60%. These opinions are consistent across the core and extended catchment areas excluding Cheshire, which is the only county to have seen a rise in awareness.
With regards to specific regions, awareness of direct flights to the USA has dropped by 9% with those unsure of what’s available rising by 9%. Awareness of flights non stop from Manchester to the USA has dropped by 12%, with an increase of 10% saying they are not aware and a further 2% stating they are unsure of what is available. Awareness around Australia has also decreased showing a dip of 12% and when questioned about accessibility and connections to cities in the Far East there was also a decrease in awareness.
Andrew Harrison, Manchester Airport’s new Managing Director, welcomed the new attempts to win back passenger share saying: “As it’s my first week in the job, I wanted to start with something that’s close to my heart. Just last year I said that 50% of travellers from the North wanting to fly to Dubai were driving to London rather than take flights from Manchester. With two daily services and one of them being an A380, there’s no need to do that anymore and with this campaign we want to win back the one million or so passengers we’re losing from our catchment area and remind them about the range of routes we offer from Manchester. We want to continue to grow our long haul offering at Manchester and we will achieve this by increasing the awareness and gain the support of our passengers”
Previous research has shown that people from the North West region are frequently travelling to long haul destinations but aren’t aware that Manchester serves destinations including New York, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Singapore, Chicago, Philadelphia and Lahore amongst others in the top destinations which Manchester services on a daily basis. Other destinations like Toronto, Hong Kong, Sydney, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, Mumbai and Shanghai can be reached by connections from US or European points.
Andrew Harrison continued: “Research has shown that people are driving, getting the train right passed Manchester to travel to a long haul destinations, this campaign will remind people that you can get almost anywhere in the world from Manchester with direct or one stop services on a daily basis.”
Emirates is just one of the airlines to have rapidly grown over recent years and since 1990 the airline has flown over four million passengers and more than 100 million kilos of cargo to and from the region. Etihad has increased its capacity by an additional 2,100 seats per week on its Abu Dhabi route. Additionally, Singapore returned to a daily service, seven days a week, from the start of September showing that confidence is returning to the market and to Manchester following a period of global recession. Destinations in the USA are well served by Virgin, US Airways, Delta, Continental, and American Airways, amongst others and efforts are under way to add a direct West Coast USA and India service within the aviation development strategy.
The ‘So Far, Yet So Near’ campaign will run for four weeks and coverage will appear in national publications and on national broadcasters from this week onwards. To see more about the destinations from Manchester Airport, visit the website at www.manchesterairport.co.uk.