A NEW Metrolink line to Manchester Airport will launch before the year is out – more than 12 months ahead of schedule.

Test trams will begin running on part of the line from June 23, with passengers able to use the new service later this year.

As part of the scheme, a new stop will be built at Sale Water Park, as well as a 300-space park and ride facility.

Several major purpose-built structures have been erected as part of the programme, including a viaduct over the Mersey Valley, two new bridges over the M60 and M56, and the Ringway Road dual carriageway and underpass at Manchester Airport.

Stops include Barlow Moor Road, Sale Water Park, Northern Moor, Wythenshawe Park, Moor Road, Baguley, Roundthorn, Martinscroft, Benchill, Crossacres, Wythenshawe town centre, Robinswood Road, Peel Hall, Shadowmoss and Manchester Airport.

Councillor Andrew Fender, chairman of the Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) Committee, said: “The sheer scale of the challenges this project presented make its early completion a truly phenomenal achievement.

He added: “My thanks go to everyone involved: the residents, the businesses, the local councillors and MPs, the contractors, the TfGM and city council officers, and Manchester Airport.”

Andrew Cowan, chief operating officer for Manchester Airports Group (MAG), said: “We’re delighted that the project will be completed ahead of schedule as the additional transport options open up Airport City to even more people across Greater Manchester, giving us greater connections to areas such as Salford and Oldham.

“We will be aiming to create thousands of jobs with the project and the addition of more transport links, alongside a fourth rail platform which is also under construction, continues to underscore that Manchester Airport is one of the best served in the UK by ground transport.”