I think it is more than Mancunians that are being atracted to EK. One of my former staff members went to Tokyo via DXB with EK from MAN last year and she lived in Sheffield.
With direct links by rail from CL, Hull, York and Leeds they do have a bit of an edge. One thing as well is that on the tourist market they get the opportunity to have a day in both directions in DXB which is additional sightseeing. DXB or LON!?!