East Midlands Airport Guide

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  • East Midlands airport was opened by Prince Philip in 1965 on the site of a Royal Air Force base. It had a 5,850ft runway, 60ft taxiway, new hangar floor and aprons and parking for 850 cars.
  • It was not an instant financial success as an airport but this quickly changed as freight traffic increased development was needed.
  • In 1970 it was agreed that a new freight complex should be developed and the runway and terminal extended.
  • The runway was extended again in the late 70s and the terminal building upgraded soon after.
  • 1 million passengers passed through the airport in 1985 and 1986 saw Princess Anne opening a £3 million terminal extension.
  • In 1987 the airport became a public limited company.
  • In 1992 another major terminal extension was proposed but the local authorities could not fund the development.
  • As a result, in 1993 the local authority shareholders took the decision to become the first regional airport to enter the private sector.
  • The airport was bought for £24.3 million by the National Express Group who recognised the potential of East Midlands Airport.
  • In the next 8 years they invested an additional £77 million in the airport infrastructure and passenger facilities.
  • Developments included a major extension to the runway, allowing the airport to be marketed as a long- haul operation and a new air traffic control tower.
  • In 1999 work began on a new business park which now hosts hotels, office blocks and major business headquarters.
  • In 2000 DHL showed faith in the airports development and opened a £35 million purpose built facility on the airport site.
  • In 2000 National Express Group put the airport up for sale and in March 2001 Manchester Airport Group completed the purchase of East Midlands Airport for £241 million.
  • The airport has continued to prosper since then with passenger figures in 2001 at 2.38 million.
  • East Midlands airport is the UK's largest pure cargo airport with DHL, TNT and UPS having bases there as well as being a primary hub for Royal Mail.