Direct San Francisco flights to drive Manchester’s economy?

Direct San Francisco flights to drive Manchester’s economy?

A new direct flight route from the north-west city to San Francisco has been announced, welcomed as “huge news for start-ups” by Manchester business leaders.


  • From 2017 air passengers will be able to travel direct from Manchester to San Francisco with Virgin Atlantic
  • Business leaders in the city have hailed the new link between the north-west and Silicon Valley as “huge news for start-ups”
  • It follows the launch of a direct route from the region to Beijing in 2016 at a time when Manchester is on the brink of sustained economic investment

Air travellers will soon be connected from Manchester in England’s north-west to San Francisco on the US East Coast in just 11 hours – and it could help to drive the city’s booming tech and start-up industries.

From summer 2017 Virgin Atlantic will fly three times a week direct from Manchester to northern California, slashing the current journey time between the two cities, which has two to three connections, by more than half.

While holidaymakers will undoubtedly be enamoured by San Francisco’s many tourist attractions, it’s the prospect of its business hubs, including Silicon Valley and Mountain View, being closer to Manchester that’s excited business leaders in the city.

“It will provide a direct link to the world’s leading location for tech and biomedical start-ups, which is now home to some of the biggest brands on the planet, like Google, Twitter and Uber,” commented Ken O’Toole, Managing Director of Manchester Airport.

Manchester has one of the UK’s fastest growing tech industries, triggering huge numbers of young workers to live in the city. And Al Mackin, a Manchester-based tech entrepreneur, declared this as “huge news for the north-west start-up scene”.

He added: “We now have faster and easier access to the most important startup region in the World. Opening this gateway gives Manchester exposure in San Francisco, and having a link with a flagship carrier like Virgin is really good news for the city and the region.”

It follows the launch of a new direct flight route between Manchester and Beijing, which will begin this year with Hainan Airlines.

Connecting the region to more of the world’s biggest economic centres comes at a time when Manchester is at the start of a period of significant and sustained economic investment, driven by the government-led Northern Powerhouse.


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