What we know about mass flight cancellations at Manchester Airport

Manchester Airport has warned travellers not to come to terminals 1 and 2 after a major power fault damaged vital equipment. Here's what we know so far.

Passengers queue outside Terminal 1 after an overnight power cut led to disruptions and cancellations at Manchester Airport in Manchester, Britain, June 23, 2024. REUTERS/Phil Noble
Passengers queue at terminal 1 after a power cut led to severe disruption at Manchester Airport. (Reuters)

All flights have been cancelled from two terminals in Manchester Airport after a “major power cut” led to huge queues and disruption to baggage processing.

Passengers have been advised against coming to terminals 1 and 2 until further notice, while travellers flying from terminal 3 have also been warned to expect delays.

Meanwhile, a number of arriving flights were being diverted to other airports, with one Singapore Airlines flight from Houston Texas diverted to London Heathrow.

Another from Singapore was forced to land in London Gatwick, while an Etihad Airways flight from Abu Dhabi Zayed International Airport was diverted to Birmingham Airport.

Manchester Airport said: “We apologise for any inconvenience and aim to restore normal service as soon as possible.”

With the airport continuing to face huge queues of frustrated travellers, here's what we know so far about the power outage and why it has caused so much disruption.

Manchester Airport was hit by a major power outage in the early hours of Sunday morning, and although its back-up generator kicked in, the incident still resulted in a series of faults to the security and baggage systems.

In a statement, the airport's managing director Chris Woodroofe said: "There was a big power spike in our electrical system due to a failure early on this morning, and that's damaged some really key equipment.

"That's meant that terminal 1 and terminal 2 haven't been able to depart aircraft today, and as a result, they haven't had aircraft be able to land as arrivals because there's no space to park those aircraft.

"It's a very difficult situation, I couldn't be more sorry and the good news is that we very much expect this to be recovered over the afternoon and evening so that we're back to normal operations tomorrow."

While the airport was able to restore power via its generators, security systems that communicate with Border Force and the baggage systems are "not designed to be turned off and take time to get back up and running", the Telegraph reported.

Passengers queue outside Terminal 1 after an overnight power cut led to disruptions and cancellations at Manchester Airport in Manchester, Britain, June 23, 2024. REUTERS/Phil Noble
Travellers have now been advised to stay away from terminals 1 and 2 until further notice. (Reuters)

At 6.30am on Sunday the airport advised passengers due to travel to terminals 1 and 2 to contact their airlines for up-to-date information before showing up. At 7:45am, the airport announced the power had been restored, but still warned passengers to expect cancellations.

An hour later the airport advised against anyone travelling to terminals 1 and 2 until further notice, although passengers were still advised to come to terminal 3 despite the prospect of delays.

There have been instances where some people’s baggage was not on flights. Some passengers who had already checked in were scheduled to depart, but operator the Manchester Airports Group warned that due to the morning's disruption, "some baggage may not be on those flights".

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"We will work with airlines and handling partners to reunite affected passengers with their luggage as soon as possible", it added.

EasyJet, which operates flights from terminal 1, said there were “very long queues” for security and disruption to hold baggage processing, meaning passengers could board flights only with cabin luggage.

It said: “Although outside of our control, we would like to apologise for any inconvenience experienced as a result. We are doing all we can and working closely with the airport team to minimise the disruption.”

It is not clear exactly what caused the original power outage that preceded the power spike that damanged equipment at Manchester Airport.

We also don't know what arrangements are in place to reunite travellers who left without their luggage, and what sort of compensation they could be entitled to.

While Woodroofe has said he expects operations to return to normal by Monday, it is unclear how much of a knock-on effect the weekend's chaos will have on travel next week.