History of Nottingham East Midlands Airport
As with most modern day airports Nottingham east
Midlands airport started life as a RAF station. Raf Castle Donnington
as it was known was purchased in 1960 by a consortium of local
authorities and renamed East Midlands to reflect its geographical
Brtish Midland Airways which was based at Derby
airport moved its operation to the larger East Midlands airport
which because of its location was felt to have far greater potential.
Effectively East Midlands took over from Derby which is now the
site of the Toyota factory.
At this time the airport runway was only 5900 ft
in length and most of the traffic confined to internal UK flights
and short haul. At this time the airport due to its limited programme
struggled to get established with bigger rivals Birmingham and
Manchester carving up the lion’s share of the rapidly growing
packaged holiday market.
The establishment of a new freight terminal in
1970 helped by the need to extend the runway. Futher extensions
continued throughout the 70’s but the airport growth was
still well behind other airports. In 1985 the airport passed the
1 million passenger level and in 1987 the local authorities due
to legal requirements created a plc to operate the airport.
The local autorities effectively still controlled
the airport at arms length and funding was always an issue and
in 1993 National express group purchased the airport for £24
million. This company invested upwards of £77 million improving
the runways and terminal facilities. A 600 metre extension to
the runway allowed the airport to to compete with bigger rivals
and National express decided to cash in on their investment selling
the company to Manchester airport who also purchased Bournemouth
at the same time for £241 million.
Low cost airlines prefer the lower costs of regional
airports and following Luton airport and Stansted East Midlands
was a natural base for these airlines. Go Fly established a hub
at East Midlands, which has been retained and strengthened since
the airline's absorption by easyJet, and the majority of bmi operations
were ceded to a new low cost subsidiary, bmibaby, in 2002.
The airport was renamed Nottingham east Midlands airport in 2004
much too the chagrin off Leicester and Derby. The airport is nearer
to Derby and lies within Leicester however, Nottigham is internationlly
better known due to the exploits of Nottingham Forest and Robin