Getting Flight Ready

Updated 28/05/20

Guidance and advice for our pilots and operators.

This guide explains the policies and procedures that are being implemented at City Airport | Manchester Heliport to enable a smooth transition as we return to flying.

There will be several changes and limitations to how we will operate. When reopening the airport, we have to consider not only the needs of our customers, but also the safety of staff, regulatory requirements and the financial impact on the business.

All businesses must comply with the Government “COVID-Secure” guidelines, which include keeping staff numbers to the absolute minimum, and adapting the workplace and procedures to facilitate social distancing. Finally, there is a significant cost associated with opening the airport, and initially our income will remain reduced, especially while flight training remains prohibited.

These measures represent a cautious approach, following best practice and are aimed at all pilots using the facilities.

Additional information can be found in our Getting Flight Ready - FAQ

Phased return to flying

We have worked on a phased return to flying activity, in consultation with the CAA and other regulatory bodies.

  • Phase 1 – Partial opening
    Limited flying activity with reduced opening days and hours and minimal staffing. All activity pre-booked. Site closed to public.

  • Phase 2 – Extended opening
    Extended opening days and hours with slightly increased staffing. All activity pre-booked. Site closed to public.

  • Phase 3 – Return of Flying School training activities
    Additional activity by flying schools. Site may open to public depending on Government advice.

  • Phase 4 – Near normal activities
    At this stage we anticipate the majority of flying activities can take place. There may still be some reduced opening hours and days, driven by demand.

In order for us to re-open, we have assessed the risks to employees and site users. New internal procedures are in place which aim to ensure we comply with Government guidelines. The following information ensures we can be COVID secure for everybody at the airport.

Please note that at times, we may have reduced Rescue and Fire Fighting capability and so use of the aerodrome will be unavailable to any aircraft which require a licensed aerodrome without specific arrangement.

From June, we are moving to Phase Two Opening.

We have added some additonal dates that we will be open for flying, and during June we will be adding further days to those listed below. We are also aiming to reduce or remove the slot closures and further relax requirements for flying within a particular timeframe. 

Fri 29th May

Sat 30th May

Wed 3rd June

Thur 4th June

Sun 7th June 

Wed 10th June

Thurs 11th June

Sat 13th June

Sun 14th June

Opening Times each set day

Site opens for access at 9am. 

Movements may take place between the following times: (see below for details on submitting Departure PPR)




Please note that no aircraft (except pre-authorised and emergency services) are permitted to take-off/land outside these times.

Request Departure PPR


In order that we manage workload and to assist with administration of landing fee payments/landing card allocations, and so ensure we can safely manage the number of aircraft and people on site we are asking all flights to submit a Departure PPR. We ask that this is done no later than the night before the flight.

To submit your Departure PPR, please visit 

Visiting the Airport and Heliport


Self responsibility


We ask that no persons visit City Airport | Manchester Heliport if you have any signs of COVID-19 symptoms, or have been in contact with anyone else who does.

Outdoor spaces


The Airport provides plenty of space to allow for social distancing to be in place.  All our outdoor seating areas are well spaced out allowing the facilities to be enjoyed. Our Runway26 Café remains closed at this time.


Please respect 2 meter social distancing when moving around the site.

Use of toilet facilities and general hygiene


Please note that there are presently no public toilets available at the Airport.

Use hand sanitiser stations where available. We recommend all pilots carry their own sanitiser with them for use as they move around the site.

Airside Access


We will only be allowing airside access to flight crew or operational staff directly involved with aircraft and flights.

We anticipate the airfield may be busier than normal with a larger number of pilots requiring to fly to regain currency.


Please respect social distancing whilst airside.

Please note there is strictly no admittance to the Tower Reception, Fuel/RFFS Annex or Tower. If you require assistance, please telephone 0161 789 1362 and choose ‘Ops’.

Aircraft Fuelling


Avgas - All fuelling will be self-service. When using the Self Service Fuel Pumps, consider the safety of yourself and others.

Use disposable gloves when handling the fuel equipment and dispose in the bins provided after use.

Jet A1 - Pilots must remove fuel caps. The fueller will then depense the fuel.  Do not touch any elements of the fuel installation or equipment. After fuelling, pilots must replace fuel caps. You do not need to sign the fuel docket but verbally confirm the correct amount and your name to the fueller.


Booking In/Out and Landing Fees


Our Airport Reception will be closed and the Tower is closed to all visitors.

There is no requirement to 'book out' or 'book in' as we will have your details from your slot request.

Obtain the ATIS by visiting

After landing if you need to pay your landing fee, please call us on 0161 789 1362 and choose ‘Operations’ to pay by card over the phone. If we are unable to answer your call, please leave a message and we will call you back when able.

Risks to consider


Many of us may not have flown for a number of weeks or even months. This presents various additional risks which should be considered in relation to skill fade and lack of currency.

Whilst most competent pilots will have no issues with handling the aircraft, all tasks associated with flying should also be undertaken to the same degree of care as previously.

Consider all aspects of your flight in terms of threat and error management.


Make sure your licence and medical remain valid – utilising the various exceptions and extensions provided by the Civil Aviation Authority.

Flight preparation


Take time to plan your flight, check NOTAMS carefully, know your frequencies, brief weather conditions and prepare for all eventualities

What has changed – be aware of recent changes.

In our local area these include:

  • Overhead Join height - Fixed Winged overhead joins are now at 1500ft QFE. Circuit Height remains 1000ft QFE

  • VRP changes - Removal of Haydock. Addition of Wigan Lakes and Winter Hill Mast. (From 21st May)

Aircraft preparation


  • Take time to check your aircraft, use checklists and avoid distractions.

  • Consider whether existing fuel within the tank remains suitable for use. Check carefully for water and sediment.

  • If you require purchase of Oil, please call us on 0161 789 1362 and choose Operations and we will arrange this for you.

Further Reading

There are various sources of additional useful information relavant to pilots returning to flying. Here are a number of them.

Click the icon to download our Getting Flight Ready information.

By doing your bit you can help make our return to flying safe and enjoyable for all.


Tel: +44 161 789 1362

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Open from 8.15am (British Summer Time) or from 9am (Winter) 

Close at Sunset or 8pm (whichever earlier)


City Airport, Liverpool Road, Eccles, Manchester. M30 7SA

How to get to us


© 2020 City Airport Ltd

City Airport & Heliport is managed by City Airport Ltd. Registered in England and Wales.
Company Number 05241149 VAT Number GB 991 2815 95.

Peel Holdings Land and Property (UK) Limited | Registered in England & Wales 6497115

Peel L&P | Peel Dome | Intu Trafford Centre | TRAFFORDCITY | Manchester | M17 8PL