Manchester Airport today launched 'Airport City', a plan to dramatically grow its property programme based on a new business park.

The airport's MAG Developments revealed that it has exchanged contracts to buy a 30 acre site north of the airport from Burford.

This, combined with the existing, council-owned Manchester Business Park adjacent to the site will create a 60 acre site capable of holding up to 2m sq ft.

This could be in a variety of uses. MAG declined to comment, but is understood to have paid more than £15m for the site.

Manchester City Council chief executive Sir Howard Bernstein said: 'The airport is one of the most important assets for the north of England.

'The platform for growth is stronger than it has ever been.'

Manchester Airport is also bidding to buy Gatwick Airport.