- Exeter Airport was first opened on 31st May 1937 and operated from a "tented" terminal before the permanent buildings were complete.
- The first commercial charter flight into Exeter was on Coronation Day 1937 when a Leopard Moth of Air Dispatch landed. From here a steady growth in air services developed to the Channel Islands.
- The Secretary of State for Air, the Rt Hon. Sir Kingsley Wood officially opened the airport on 30th July 1938. It was just a 90 acre grass field with a runway of maximum length 870 yards and a single story terminal building and one 90 feet wide hangar with a door height of 14 feet. The original cost to the City of Exeter was £35,000.
- May 1939 saw the Great Western and Southern Air Lines begin a daily service to Bristol-Exeter-Plymouth-Land's End-Isles of Scilly.
- Soon after the outbreak of war, civil schedules were withdrawn. Exeter had an outstanding record during the war years becoming an R.A.F. Sector Station and headquarters of the Polish day-fighter Wing No 2.
- On 1st January 1947, Exeter Airport was transferred to the Ministry of Civil Aviation and the management and operation of the airport returned to Exeter Airport Ltd under lease from the Ministry of Defence.
- In 1949 the No. 10 Reserve Flying School was formed and this was followed by the formation of the No. 3 Civil Anti-Aircraft Co-operation Unit which was run under contract from the Ministry of Defence.
- In 1952 Exeter Airport Ltd attracted into the airport the first post-war civil airline, Jersey Airlines, who were followed by British Westpoint Airlines, Mayflower Air Services, South West Aviation and Morton Air Services.
- Schedule services gradually developed as airlines appreciated the high level of service and facilities and excellent weather factor at Exeter Airport.
- In 1971 military use of the airport was transferred to the Royal Air Force and it deciding it was the obvious airport to serve the region, the former Devon County, Exeter City and Torbay Borough Councils purchased Exeter Airport from the Ministry of Defence.
- Exeter Airport Ltd presented recommendations on the future developments ensuring that the Airport would play a part in the future U.K. air traffic plan. The development project was accepted and major works were completed.
- In 1974 Devon County Council took over sole ownership of the airport.
- In 1985 the principle scheduled airline, Jersey European Airways, made the airport its operating, engineering and administrative headquarters.
- 15th July 2000 Exeter International Airport was officially renamed. This coincided with the first inbound Concorde flight which landed with guests and VIPs from Heathrow Airport.
- Today, passenger numbers are rising at such a rate at Exeter that a new terminal is needed to meet future demand and since the funding of the multi-million pound project is beyond the means of the local authority, private sector investment is needed.
- The existing terminal facility will reach maximum capacity in the next few years and outline plans have been submitted to East Devon District Council for the proposed development of a new passenger terminal to be located on the north side of the airfield.