- Started as an aerodrome in 1931.
- Had expanded by 1935 and scheduled flights began to Newcastle, Blackpool, Edinburgh and the Isle of Man.
- In 1939, scheduled flights were stopped and the airport developed so that it could be used as a test ground for new military aeroplanes during the war.
- Civil flights recommenced in 1947.
- By 1955, several more European destinations had been added to the airport's scheduled flights.
- A new runway was opened in 1965, but in the same year the terminal building was destroyed in a fire.
- The new terminal was opened in 1968, and in 1976 the first package holiday flight left Leeds Bradford.
- Improvements to the runway and terminal facilities were begun in 1982, with the hope of turning the airport into a category B regional airport. This work was completed in 1985.
- The airport was made a company in 1987, with shares distributed between the West Yorkshire metropolitan councils.
- Time restrictions were relaxed in 1994, meaning that the airport could operate flights throughout the night as well as during daytime hours.