Getting Flight Ready - Return to Flying

Updated 10/05/21

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 fully reopening 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.

Phased return to flying

We have worked on a phased return to flying activity, in consultation with the CAA and other regulatory bodies whilst also aiming to phase increases in activity to achieve a gradual and measured growth allowing us to complete various staff training and certification requirements.

  • Phase 1 – From Tuesday 30th March
    Solo pilots or individuals with a member of their household or bubble is permitted. Circuit flying will be limited to a maximum of three circuits per flight. No more than 3 aircraft will be permitted to fly circuit details at a time.

  • Phase 2 – From Tuesday 13th April
    Flying Training resumes. Circuit flying will be limited to a maximum of three circuits per flight. No more than 4 aircraft will be permitted to fly circuit details at a time. (Allocations will be provided to Flying Schools)

  • Phase 3 – From Tuesday 27th April 
    Circuit flying restrictions will be reviewed and if feasible will be relaxed. No more than 6 aircraft will be permitted to fly circuit details at a time. (Allocations will be provided to Flying Schools)

  • Phase 4 – From Tuesday 11th May
    Following review limitation on number of aircraft within the circuit may be removed, however during busy or complex periods we may request that aircraft vacate the circuit to manage traffic levels appropriately.

Opening Dates and Times

Monday - Closed (Except pre-approved emergency, military, essential services and commercial helicopters on request)

Tuesday to Sunday, 0900-1800hrs. (Unlicenced from 1700-1800hrs due reduced RFFS).

Please note that aerodrome will not be available to aircraft that require a licensed aerodrome between 1700-1800hrs (or as notified by NOTAM) due reduced RFFS.

We are currently investigating options to allow certain flying activities to take place on Monday's on an unlicensed basis. Further information will be published soon.

We also welcome visiting aircraft during our opening times above. Please PPR Inbound Online or email

Book Out, ATIS and Inbound PPR


Our Tower reception remains closed, therefore to assist with administration of landing fee payments/landing card allocations pleae book out online. This can be done anytime upto 15 minutes before flight.

Please visit 

After landing if you need to pay your landing fee or fuel, our preferred payment method is to do this online at the above link.

You can also call us on 0161 789 1362 and choose ‘Operations, Option 2’ 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.

All charges are payable on the day unless otherwise agreed. When paying online, we ask that all payments are completed by midnight. 

Pilots visiting the Airport and Heliport


Self responsibility


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.

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. Please respect social distancing guidelines when moving around the site.

Use of toilet facilities and general hygiene


Limited toilet facilities are available on site. 

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.

Airside Access


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

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 ‘Operation - Option 2’. 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.

Aircraft Fuelling


Avgas - All fuelling is 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 several 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 1700ft QFE. Circuit Height remains 1000ft QFE

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

See also - Additional FAQ

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


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