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East Midlands Airport is an airport in the East Midlands of England, located at Castle Doningtonmarker in the District of North West Leicestershiremarker. It lies between the cities of Derbymarker ( southeast), Leicestermarker and Nottinghammarker, all within a radius of the airfield. It serves primarily as an airport for the local inhabitants of the counties of Derbyshiremarker, Nottinghamshiremarker, Leicestershiremarker, Staffordshire and South Yorkshire. Passenger numbers reached a record of 5,620,673 in 2008, up 3.8% from 2007 and making it the 10th busiest airport in the UK by passenger traffic.

The airport is owned by the Manchester Airports Group (MAG) which is controlled by the ten metropolitan boroughs of Greater Manchester and is the largest UK-owned airport group.

EMA has a CAA Public Use Aerodrome Licence (Number P520) that allows flights for the public transport of passengers or for flying instruction. EMA is the second largest cargo airport in the UK.

History

The airport was originally a Royal Air Force station, RAF Castle Donington, which was decommissioned in 1946. The site was purchased by a consortium of local government authorities in 1964, when a major programme of building work and runway investment was begun. The airfield was renamed East Midlands Airport to reflect the area it served, and it opened for passengers in April 1965.

Effectively, EMA replaced the smaller pre-war grass airfield at Derby Burnastonmarker, and the base's light aircraft later moved to a new site at Derby Egginton Airfield near Hilton. The original Derby Airport site at Burnaston has since been redeveloped into a Toyota car factory.

Derby Airways, which was in the process of being renamed British Midland Airways, moved its operations to the new airport and established its headquarters in nearby Donington Hall in Castle Donington, creating a network of domestic and international scheduled and charter flights at East Midlands. The airfield was established with basic requirements of a runway, a taxiway, a new hangar floor and aprons and parking for 850 cars. Financially, it was not an instant success. However the picture quickly changed with the increased volume of cargo traffic, soon demanding further development. In 1970, an agreement was reached on creating a new freight complex and both the runway and the terminal were extended.

Expansion was swift, with a further runway extension to 2283m and terminal upgrade in the late 1970s. During 1985, one million passengers utilized the airport for the first time, calling for yet another terminal extension. Following government legislation, the airport became a public limited company in 1987, distancing it from all-out control of the local authorities.

With growing passenger and cargo traffic, further expansion was proposed for East Midlands in 1992. However, despite the enthusiasm of the local authorities who owned the airport, the funds necessary were not raised, so in 1993 East Midlands became the first major regional airport in the UK to be privatised. National Express Group successfully purchased the airfield for £24.3m and began their investment into the airport facilities. A £20m, 610m extension to the runway was added to allow EMA to handle long haul flights, and a new air traffic control tower was constructed, the second tallest in the UK at the time. National Express investment would eventually total over £77m over an eight year period.

DHL Aviation opened a new £35m cargo facility on site in 2000, and in the same year a business park was constructed next to the airport. However, National Express Group announced its intention to concentrate on bus and rail provision, and sold East Midlands Airport, together with Bournemouth Airportmarker and Humberside Airportmarker, in March 2001 to Manchester Airports Group for £241m.

The arrival of low fares no frills carriers in 2002 resulted in a sharp jump in passenger numbers, rising 36% in that year to 3.23 million. Go Fly established a hub at East Midlands, and the operation has been strengthened since the airline's absorption by easyJet. The majority of bmi operations were ceded to a new low cost subsidiary, bmibaby, in 2002.

The DEMAND Campaign was formed in 2004 to campaign against night flights at the airport and against increasing levels of noise generally.

By 2006, annual passengers had reached 4.72 million, twelfth highest in the UK. The five-million mark was passed during April 2007 (per official statistics issued by the United Kingdom Civil Aviation Authority).

In September 2006 Plane Stupid blocked a taxiway at the airport for four hours, their spokesman Leo Murray said "The people of the past didn't know what the problem was. For the people of the future it's going to be too late. People in developing countries are powerless to do anything about it. If we don't do this, it's not going to get done."

Following increasing overcrowding of the terminal building the facilities have been extended and remodelled. The arrivals hall has been extended and a new transport interchange has been created and a new pier built to reduce 'across tarmac' walking to aircraft. A major extension is being created airside .

Identity

In a controversial move in 2004, East Midlands Airport was rebranded Nottingham East Midlands Airport, despite lying in Leicestershire, being in the Derby postal area and the nearest city being Derby. Furthermore, there was already a Nottingham Airportmarker, which is closer to Nottingham, even though it was a small airfield catering to general aviation.

The reasoning behind the name change was that many people from outside the UK and unfamiliar with the country's geography could not identify with the term 'East Midlands' and understandably did not know exactly where in the UK it was. The argument for adding 'Nottingham' to the name was that the city had greater international recognition through its size and historical connections. This assertion was disputed in the BBC's local news programme East Midlands Today which travelled to Amsterdammarker. Whilst there the BBC reporters asked the Amsterdam residents to identify the location of Nottingham on a map of the UK. The vast majority failed; however, many more Dutch locals had heard of "Nottingham" than "the East Midlands".

A BBC report on 18 October 2006 suggested that the airport may change its name once again and the change, to East Midlands Airport: Nottingham, Leicester, Derby came into effect on 8 December 2006.

Transportation

The airport has excellent connections to the motorway network due to its proximity to the M1 and M42 motorways, bringing the airfield within easy reach of the major population centres of the Midlands.

The closest railway station is East Midlands Parkwaymarker, which is away and linked by a shuttle bus running up to every 15 minutes between 0700 and 2330. The station opened on 26 January 2009 and is situated on the Midland Main Line providing regular rail services throughout the East Midlands, London and beyond.

Skylink branded bus services operate to and from Leicestermarker, Nottinghammarker, Derbymarker, Loughboroughmarker and Coalvillemarker. Nottinghammarker, Derbymarker and Loughboroughmarker buses pickup at the rail stations serving the areas (but not at East Midlands Parkway).

Airlines at the airport

East Midlands Airport has established itself as a hub for low fare airlines EasyJet, Bmibaby and Ryanair, and serves a range of domestic and European short haul destinations, however EasyJet announced in September 2009 that it would withdraw flights from the airport in 2010.. As a result of this redeployment, bmibaby announced plans to expand their operation by 40% by basing 3 more aircraft at the airport by summer 2010.

A major development towards the long haul programme came in 2005 with the introduction of holiday flights to the Dominican Republicmarker, Orlandomarker, and Cancúnmarker by First Choice Airways. The Indian resort of Goa has subsequently been added.

On Friday, 28 August low fares airline Jet2.com announced a move into the airport commencing with 7 routes across Europe from May 2010.

The airport is also the maintenance base of bmi.

Airlines and destinations

East Midlands is the tenth busiest airport in Britain by passenger numbers and is also Britain's second largest freight airport. East Midlands offers many low-cost and charter flights. The airport is one of the largest charter base in Britain and is Ryanair's third larest British base and is Bmibaby's largest base with eight of their aircraft based here. The airlines and destinations that opearte to and from East Midlands are displayed in the tables below.

Scheduled airlines

Charter airlines

Scheduled cargo airlines

Air Cargo

East Midlands Airport is the second largest cargo airport in the United Kingdom after London Heathrowmarker. In 2008 Heathrow handled 1.48 million tonnes of freight and mail and EMA handled 292,000 tonnes. In terms of cargo transported in dedicated aircraft, EMA with 292,000 tons was ahead of Heathrow, but over 1 million tons of freight are carried in passenger aircraft holds to/from Heathrow (per official statistics issued by the United Kingdom Civil Aviation Authority). DHL Aviation have a large purpose built facility at EMA, and courier companies United Parcel Servicemarker (UPS) and TNT also use the airport as a base. Lufthansa Cargo is also a regular user of East Midlands flying long-haul for DHL, and the airport is a primary UK air hub for Royal Mail.

Accidents and incidents

  • On 20 February 1969, Vickers Viscount G-AODG of British Midland Airways was damaged beyond economic repair when it landed short of the runway. There were no casualties.
  • On 8 January 1989, British Midland Flight BD092marker crashed on approach to East Midlands Airport, killing 47 people. The Boeing 737 aircraft had developed a fan blade failure in one of the two engines while en route from London Heathrow to Belfastmarker and a decision was made to divert to East Midlands. The crew mistakenly shut down the functioning engine, causing the aircraft to lose power and crash on the embankment of the M1 Motorway just short of the runway. No one on the ground was injured despite the aircraft crashing on the embankment of one of the busiest sections of motorway in the UK. The investigation into the Kegworth air disastermarker, as the incident became known, led to considerable improvements in aircraft safety and emergency instructions for passengers. The official report into the disaster made 31 safety recommendations.


Aeropark

The Aeropark to the north west corner of the airport has a number of static aircraft on display. The Aeropark and its exhibits are managed and maintained by the Aeropark Volunteers Association. It also offers an excellent viewing mound for aircraft arriving and departing from the main runway. Members are allowed free access to the Aeropark. Exhibits include:
Aeropark at East Midlands Airport.


References

  1. BBC News - "Airport to consider name change"
  2. BBC News - "Airport announces change to name"
  3. Raillink Timetable
  4. Skylink
  5. easyJet announces network redeployments


External links




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