BBC spends £1.3m on Manchester flights

MediaCityUK Around 2,300 staff work in the Salford offices

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The BBC has spent £1.3m on flights to and from Manchester since May 2011, when it opened offices in nearby Salford.

The figure was revealed after a Freedom of Information request, which also reported that staff from around the UK spent more than £312,000 on air travel to and from Manchester between April and September this year.

The data refers to flights purchased via the BBC's central booking agents and does not include claims made via expenses.

Since May 2011, staff in the BBC North division spent £540,000 on air travel to and from Manchester.

Other big spenders include members of BBC News, whose flights cost at least £297,000, while workers in BBC Television spent a minimum of £155,000.

Biggest hub outside London

The revelation comes soon after the BBC revealed its senior managers claimed £170,975 in expenses between April and June this year, most of which related to domestic travel.

A BBC spokeswoman said flight costs among management had fallen by 24% since 2009.

She added: "Spend on flights is subject to rigorous scrutiny and staff are encouraged to use alternatives to travel such as video conferencing wherever possible, but when travel is necessary staff should use the lowest cost of travel and fare.

"BBC North at MediaCityUK is the BBC's largest creative hub outside of London, and is home to 24 BBC departments, including Children's, Sport, Radio 5 live and BBC Breakfast."

In February, it was revealed that the BBC spent £1.98m on centrally-booked travel between London and Salford in the financial year 2011/12.

The majority was spent on rail travel but the corporation said at the time that "a significant part of the BBC's expenditure is in respect of payments for talent, guests and contributors".

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