Getting Flight Ready - Return to Flying
Guidance and advice for our pilots and operators and aircraft visitors.
This guide explains the policies and procedures that are in place at City Airport | Manchester Heliport to enable a smooth transition as we increase our flying activities. When reopening the airport, we have had 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 until normal activities have fully resumed.
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 3a – Return of Flying School training activities
Additional activity by flying schools, additional opening days. Site remains closed to the public.
Phase 3b – Opening to the public (current phase)
Our site will reopen for acces to the public with some limitations. Flying Schools will recommence undertaking of Trial Lessons / Pleasure Flights.
Phase 4 – Near normal activities
At this stage we anticipate the majority of flying activities can take place with some reduced opening hours driven by demand and business viability. This may include some additional ability for home based aircraft to operate outside normal opening hours on a pre-approved indemnity basis.
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.
We'd like to thank all our customers for their patience and co-operation as we continue our phased approach to increase opening, and for maintaining social distancing whilst on site. During this time, we continue to operate with a skeleton team who have been working extremely hard to ensure the airfield remains maintained, that we remain compliant with appropriate rules and regulations and can ensure a continuing safe operation.
Our phased opening plan is designed to ensure that we can balance our opening hours and operating costs with levels of activity that generate sufficient revenue. This is a very challenging time for our business, and this phased approach is designed to ensure our longevity and return to normal operations during the continuing Covid19 pandemic.
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. Please see NOTAMs where necessary.
Opening Dates and Times
Our current opening dates/times (local):
(plus Bank Holiday Monday 31st August 0900-1800hrs)
Please note that aerodrome is not available to aircraft that require a licensed aerodrome between 0900-0930 and 1730-1800hrs (or as notifiedd by NOTAM) due reduced RFFS.
Pilot booking Out
Our Tower reception remains closed, therefore to assist with administration of landing fee payments/landing card allocations, our Pilot Booking Out process is now completed online. This can be done anytime upto 15 minutes before flight.
To Book Out, please visit www.cityairportandheliport.com/bookout
Obtain the ATIS by visiting
After landing if you need to pay your landing fee or fuel, 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. We ask that all payments are completed before the Airport closes each day.
Pilots visiting the Airport and Heliport
If you have any signs of COVID-19 symptoms, or have been in contact with anyone else who does, please DO NOT visit the airport under any circumstances.
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 social distancing guidelines when moving around the site.
Use of toilet facilities and general hygiene
Limited toilet facilities are available on site for use by aircrew only.
Use hand sanitiser stations where available. We have installed hand sanitiser units at the Avgas fuel pumps and around the site. We recommend all pilots carry their own sanitiser with them for use as they move around the site.
We will only be allowing airside access to pilots or operational staff directly involved with aircraft and flights.
Please respect social distancing whilst on site.
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’. Please note we may be unable to answer the phone immediately during our opening periods due to reduced staffing and increased workload so please leave a message and we will return your call as soon as we can.
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.
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.
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:
Manchester Low Level Route changes - www.nats-uk.ead-it.com/aip/current/misc/BRIEFING_SHEET_MANCHESTER_LOW_LEVEL.pdf
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)
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.
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.