Ever wondered what happens to your luggage after you put it on the carousel at Manchester Airport?

Ever wondered what happens to your luggage after you put it on the carousel at Manchester Airport?

You put your bag on a little rubber travellator. Then you hope for the best.

Arriving at your hotel in one piece with all of your luggage intact is the first step to any good holiday. Despite this, once checked-in and labelled, our belongings disappear and usually aren't thought of again until landing.

For most of us, what happens in the bowels of Manchester Airport has been a mystery. Until now.

Away from the eyes of passengers, the airport's snaking network of luggage conveyer belt systems operate 24 hours a day everyday - taking suitcases, golf clubs, baby buggies and other precious cargo to planes ready for loading.

Now the airport has revealed it's invested in a multi-million pound new state-of-the-art baggage conveyance system - and lifted the lid on exactly what happens when the check-in desk conveyer belt curtains close over our bags.


From 2025, and after a huge transformation programme, the airport's Terminal 2, which will more than double in size, will serve around 70 per cent of all the airport's passengers, with the old T1 then closing.

Baggage at the airport -Credit:Sean Hansford | Manchester Evening News
Baggage at the airport -Credit:Sean Hansford | Manchester Evening News

Bosses said that in order to provide a 'seamless service', the vast new conveyor belt system has been built by Dutch specialists Vanderlande specifically for the airport. Incredibly, it features more than two miles of conveyor belts and can process 3,000 bags per hour.

The baggage conveyer belt system went live at the start of March and according to the airport's figures, it has already processed more than 100,000 bags through to planes.

The maximum distance a bag can travel at the airport from check-in to being taken onto an aircraft is some 582 metres equivalent to the length of almost six football pitches.

And on average, a bag will take around 10 minutes to get through the system before being picked up by ground handling agents and put onto an aircraft.

A suitcase on the system -Credit:MAG
A suitcase on the system -Credit:MAG

The new baggage hall, when completed next year, will be so big that it will even have it's own road network, complete with a five mph speed limit for trucks and other equipment.

Revealing the new machine, the airport has released fascinating video footage showing a suitcase's journey from T2 check-in through the innards of the terminal before it is directed to the correct area air-side for loading onto baggage trucks then out onto the airfield's apron to be placed on board a plane.

Manchester Airport Managing Director Chris Woodroofe said the public don't often see what goes on within the real workings of the airport.

He said: "We are proud to serve the people of the north. On the surface that means offering an unrivalled range of more than 200 destinations, great service so that passengers never wait more than a few minutes to get to security and world class facilities in our terminals."

The baggage hall -Credit:MAG
The baggage hall -Credit:MAG

"But beneath the surface there is a huge amount of work that goes into making that happen. We're in the middle of a £1.3bn programme that is completely transforming the airport. A key component of that is this new baggage system that will help make sure things continue to run smoothly behind the scenes."

"So while passengers will see the difference as they pass through Terminal 2 equally important changes have been made in the parts of the airport that most people will never see, meaning that as demand for travel continues to increase, the service we offer our passengers continues to improve."

And it appears the new baggage system will be used like never before - as figures show passenger numbers at the airport are continuing to rise.

Manchester Airport experienced its sixth consecutive record-breaking month in March with 2.1 million passengers passing through the northern travel hub. It makes it the airport's busiest March on record, boosted by an early Easter with many travellers jetting off for the school holidays.

The figure was up 12 per cent on the previous March and surpassed the 2019 pre-pandemic level of two million passengers. It continues the airport's record-breaking streak with 1.9million passengers flying in February.