Regional political and business leaders have backed a report showing how further investment and government support for Manchester Airport could nearly triple its contribution to the UK economy and support 85,000 new jobs by 2050.

The report from engineering consultant Arup, which modelled four scenarios for the Northern economy with different levels of policy support and growth, found the airport could secure direct flights to 50 new cities including Sydney, Tokyo, Montreal, Mumbai, Riyadh, San Francisco and Cape Town.

It added that 25 new short-haul routes could also be unlocked, with total passenger volumes rising to as high as 60m per year – compared with their current level of 27m.

The report showed the airport’s gross value added to the UK economy could rise to £16.3bn from £5.7bn and the number of jobs it supports to 165,000 from 80,000.

Campaigners called for the government to invest in a new high-speed rail network in the North connecting the airport to locations including Leeds, Sheffield, Liverpool and Bradford.

They said the network could bring more than 260,000 businesses within 90 minutes of the airport, compared with 70,000 currently.

The report added that 6,500 jobs and £930m of economic value could be created through a sustainable aviation fuel pipeline and production capability serving Manchester Airport and the wider country.

Manchester Airports Group chief executive Ken O’Toole said“Any government serious about rebalancing the country would want all major cities and towns to have fast and easy rail access to the world through their nearest international gateway – and here in the North that is Manchester Airport.

“That is why it is critical plans for a new east-west high speed network, with the Airport at its heart, are delivered as soon as possible. This report spells out the size of the prize and we look forward to work with business and political partners in the North, as well as whoever goes on to lead the country, to ensure that vision becomes a reality.”

The group is currently delivering the final £440m phase of a £1.3bn transformation programme at the airport, which is due for completion in 2025.

Henri Murison, chief executive of business-led think tank the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, said“The government’s number one priority from its Network North commitments needs to be delivering the legislation for the link between the airport and Manchester Piccadilly, as part of an accelerated delivery programme for Northern Powerhouse Rail.

“Investment and jobs will flow in as soon as we have certainty on the route beyond to Yorkshire as well as to Liverpool, in the same way we have seen in other regions.”