• 62k passengers from Northern Ireland jetted off to the Northern hub’s 210 destinations last year
  • Long-haul routes the Northern Irish also prefer include Orlando, Punta Cana and Barbados
  • Infographics highlight the popular routes across Manchester Airport’s extensive catchment area
  • Top ten destinations for Northern Ireland are included below

As the financial year comes to a close, the UK’s third biggest airport, Manchester, unveils the most popular long-haul routes chosen by the 62k passengers from Northern Ireland who flew through its doors last year.


People of Northern Ireland are most likely to be jetting off to Orlando, Punta Cana, and Cancun. As well as providing holiday destinations, a lot of the routes link Northern Ireland with key economic hubs and trade opportunities across the globe.


The top ten most popular long-haul routes in Northern Ireland are:

  • Orlando operated by Virgin Atlantic, TUI and Thomas Cook Airlines
  • Punta Cana operated by Thomas Cook Airlines
  • Cancun operated by Thomas Cook Airlines and TUI
  • New York operated by Virgin Atlantic, United Airlines, Thomas Cook Airlines, and Jet2
  • Barbados operated by Virgin Atlantic, TUI and Thomas Cook Airlines
  • Varadero operated by Thomas Cook Airlines
  • Jamaica operated by Thomas Cook Airlines and TUI
  • Sal Island operated by Thomas Cook Airlines
  • Boston operated by Thomas Cook Airlines and Virgin Atlantic
  • Las Vegas operated by Thomas Cook Airlines and Virgin Atlantic

In recent years Manchester Airport has added numerous long-haul routes to its network that in the UK, can only be found at the Northern hub, or in London. These include Beijing, San Francisco, Boston, Muscat, Houston and Hong Kong to name a few.


It is for this reason why the airport pulls in so many passengers from a vast catchment area as people want to fly direct rather than hubbing through other airports or travelling down to the congested capital.

Many of these routes are providing vital connectivity to international markets for key sectors like tech, life sciences, energy and advanced manufacturing.


Manchester Airport’s long-haul routes are also bringing thousands of international tourists to Belfast each year, providing a boost to hotels, restaurants and visitor attractions.


The airport’s catchment spans north to Scotland, south to the Midlands, west to Wales and Merseyside, and east across Yorkshire.


Julian Carr, Aviation Director for Manchester Airport, said: “It is interesting to see the mix of destinations and how they differ from county to county across our vast catchment area.


“It is clear Manchester Airport is providing vital access to people across the North and beyond to key sites of economic opportunity, holidays and the chance to visit loved ones abroad.


“Whether people want to fly from Belfast to Boston, Derry to Dubai, or Lisburn to Las Vegas, we will continue to strive to offer and secure all our 27.8m passengers a broad range of destinations.”


As well as adding numerous destinations in recent years, 2018 will be the airport’s busiest ever year and will see the launch of direct flights to Seattle, with Thomas Cook Airlines, again making Manchester the only non-London airport in the UK with this route.  It will also see the biggest ever investment in the airport as the £1bn transformation continues at pace.


For further information please contact the Manchester Airport press office on 0161 489 2700 or via email at