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East Midlands Airport History

East Midlands Airport, 1946-1964-present, was both a military and a commercial airport and has now grown to be the second largest cargo airport in the UK after Heathrow. Airparks offer a range of great East Midlands Airport parking options at the airport.

The Beginning of East Midlands Airport

Situated in North West Leicestershire, the East Midlands Airport is the main airport used by the passengers of Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, and Leicestershire, as well as its surrounding counties including North Yorkshire and Staffordshire. With over 20 different airlines based there, East Midlands is now counted as one of the biggest airports in the UK.

Military Heritage of East Midlands Airport

The Airport was originally an RAF base, RAF Castle Donington, used during the Second World War. In 1946 it was decommissioned and purchased by the Local Government Authorities. It wasn’t until 1964, however, when plans were put in place to start building a new runway and to turn the airbase into an airport. They were able to open up to the public the following year in 1965, now renamed East Midlands Airport.

East Midlands Ownership

The local authorities who had purchased the airport continued to hold on to it until 1993 when, despite growing cargo and passenger traffic, the funds were not raised for extra expansion, and so East Midlands Airport became privatised. The National Express Group bought the airport for £24.3m, and so was able to begin investing into the airport’s expansion. However, in 2000 National Express decided to concentrate their business on bus and rail provision and sold the airport to Manchester Airports Group in March 2001.

Airlines operating from East Midlands

There are some major airlines which currently operate from the East Midlands Airport including Thomas Cook, Thomson Airways, Ryanair, BMI, and, as well as several minor ones. Each airline flies to a number of destinations, although not many fly international. However, there was a major development in 2005 to the Long Haul programme, and so flights to the Dominican Republic, Orlando, Cancun, and Goa have been introduced by First Choice Airways.