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PORTFOLIO of articles by Aidan O'Rourke

EWM 1 - Manchester Airport runway approval and other stories from January 1997

My very first Eyewitness in Manchester update was published on my aidan.co.uk site on Saturday 18th January 1997. The main news item was the announcement of the go-ahead for Manchester Airport's second runway. It was an exciting time, only a few months after the bomb, in the early stages of Manchester's reconstruction. Scroll down to see the article in approximately its original layout.


Issue number 1 Saturday 18th of January 1997


Manchester Airport Terminal 2, 17 Jan 1997

This week's big news is the government go-ahead on Wednesday for the second runway at Manchester Airport. Bosses at Ringway predict that 50,000 jobs will be created, and hail the runway as the most signficant building project for Manchester since the opening of the Ship Canal.

The runway, intended to be in operation by the year 2000, will allow Manchester to handle up to 30 million passengers a year, turning it into the "Heathrow of the North". Airport representatives stress that the environmental impact will be minimised by special measures such as strict noise monitoring and replacement tree planting.

Hill House, built 1620, to be demolished and partly reconstructed in another location
Hill House, to be demolished and partially rebuilt in another location

Many are bitterly disappointed by the decision, including the Manchester Airport Joint Action Group, the management at Liverpool Airport, and most residents of the village of Mobberley, situated near the end of the planned runway.

Anti-runway campaigners will respond with an appeal, and soon, tree dwellers may be in residence at Arthur's Wood, located south of the Airport, and also threatened with destruction.

The Airport was in the news earlier in the week for an entirely different reason. Michael Jackson & entourage boarded an executive jet there last Sunday night. The pop star had been castle-hunting in Scotland, and had travelled by bus down the M6.

A family in Hyde may soon be flying out of Manchester, on one-way tickets. After 12 years living in the UK, the Chung family, from Hong Kong, has been ordered by the Home Office to leave. The Chungs are claiming political asylum on the grounds they may be persecuted in Hong Kong, once it returns to Chinese rule. A decision is expected next month.

The so-called rainy city has had almost no rain this month. The cold snap, which brought snow around the New Year, ended abruptly last weekend. The week then saw a gradual fall in temperatures, with early fog and clear afternoon skies. Today started off sunny with temperatures reaching 12C/53F, but clouded over later.

Text and photos by Aidan O'Rourke

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