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Edinburgh Airport is located at Turnhousemarker in the City of Edinburghmarker, Scotlandmarker, and was the busiest airport in Scotland in 2008, handling 9,006,702 passengers. It was also the seventh busiest airport in the UKmarker by passengers and the fifth busiest by aircraft movements. It is located west of the city centre and is situated just off the M8 motorway.

The airport is owned and operated by BAA, which also owns and operates six other UKmarker airports, and is itself owned by an international consortium led by the Spanishmarker Ferrovial Group.

The airport is a base of EasyJet, Flyglobespan and Ryanair.

The present terminal building, designed by Robert Matthew, was constructed in 1977 and has been upgraded in recent years, with new car parking facilities and an extended arrivals hall. A new control tower was completed in 2005.

There are plans for expansion of the airport, with passenger numbers expected to reach 26 million per annum by 2030.


Turnhouse Aerodrome was the most northerly British air defence base in World War I used by the Royal Flying Corps. The small base opened in 1915 and it was used to house the 603 Squadron from 1925, which consisted of DH 9As, Westland Wapitis, Hawker Harts, and Hawker Hind light bombers. All the aircraft used a grass air strip.

In 1918 the Royal Air Force was formed and the airfield was named RAF Turnhouse and ownership transferred to the Ministry of Defence.

When the Second World War broke out, fighter command took control over the airfield and a runway of 3,900ft was paved to handle the Vickers Supermarine Spitfire.

When the war ended the airfield still remained under military control, but by the late 1940s the first commercial services were launched. In 1947, British European Airways started a service between Edinburgh and Londonmarker using Vickers Vikings followed by the Viscount and Vanguard series.

View of the control tower from the terminal building
In 1952 the runway was extended to 6000ft to handle the Vampire FB5; and an aircraft carrier Catcher Net (never used) to protect traffic on the adjacent A9 road. In 1956 a new passenger terminal was built to offer improved commercial service and five years later it was extended. The Ministry of Defence transferred ownership to the Ministry of Aviation in 1960 to offer improved commercial service to the airport. Flying was temporarily diverted to East Fortune, which had its runway extended to accommodate the airliners of the period. In 1971 the British Airports Authority took over the airport and immediately started to expand it by constructing a new runway and terminal building.

Although the original main runway 13/31 (which is now 12/30) served the airport well, its alignment had the disadvantage of suffering from severe crosswinds and the other two minor runways were very short and could not be readily extended, so movements were transferred to a new runway (07/25 which has since become 06/24) in an addition completely outside the original airfield boundary. This runway, completed in 1977 is 8399ft in length, and was able to take all modern airliners including Concorde. A new terminal was built alongside the runway to cater for the additional traffic. The old terminal and hangars were converted into a cargo centre.

The only international services from Edinburgh during the 1980s were to Amsterdammarker and Dublinmarker, but in the following years links were opened to destinations in Francemarker and Germanymarker. By the end of the decade BAA had been privatised and funds were used to extend the current terminal building and create parking aprons.

In 2005, a new 57 metre tall air traffic control tower was completed at a cost of £10m (€16m).

An extension to the terminal opened in September 2006 called the "South East Pier". This extension initially added six gates (14 - 19) on a new pier to the South-East of the earlier building next to departure gates 12 & 12b. A further 4 gates (20 - 23) were added to the South East Pier at the end of 2008 as well as a very controversial Gate 13 between the earlier terminal building (Gate 12b) and the newer gates in the South East Pier.

History of Edinburgh Airport's passenger numbers:
Year Passengers
1995 3,280,000
1996 3,810,000
1997 4,160,000
1998 4,540,000
1999 5,090,000
2000 5,494,000
2001 6,038,341
2002 6,930,649
2003 7,481,454
2004 8,017,577
2005 8,456,739
2006 8,611,345
2007 9,047,558
2008 9,006,702
2020 20,000,000 (projected)
2030 26,000,000 (projected)

Airlines and destinations

Scheduled airlines

Charter airlines

Cargo airlines

Access and ground transportation

The airport is easily reached by the M9 and M90 motorways and is close to the Fife Circle and Edinburgh-Glasgow railway lines, although it has no station on either line. Express bus services link the airport to Edinburgh City Centre, Inverkeithing railway station and Ferrytoll Park and Ride in Fife. Lothian Buses provide public transportation to the airport.

2008 traffic statistics

Gate lounge area in the South East Pier Extension at Edinburgh Airport
Busiest international routes out of Edinburgh Airport (2008)
Rank Airport Passengers handled % Change Airlines Served (2008)
1 Amsterdam Airport Schipholmarker 465,654 7.32 easyJet, KLM
2 Dublin Airportmarker 449,562 1.12 Aer Lingus, Ryanair
3 Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airportmarker 278,694 16.03 Air France, easyJet
4 Frankfurt Airportmarker 166,003 5.87 Lufthansa
5 Newark Liberty International Airportmarker 156,039 1.69 Continental Airlines
6 Alicante Airportmarker 151,067 39.32 easyJet, Flyglobespan, Monarch, Ryanair
7 Geneva Cointrin International Airportmarker 120,502 2.64 easyJet, Flyglobespan
8 Palma de Mallorca Airportmarker 112,618 10.57 Air Europa, easyJet, Flyglobespan, Ryanair, Thomson
9 Madrid Barajas Airportmarker 105,916 19.86 easyJet, Iberworld
10 Málaga Airportmarker 96,735 14.78 Flyglobespan, Ryanair
11 Munich Airportmarker 90,179 29.07 easyJet
12 Milan Malpensa Airportmarker 88,562 67.68 easyJet
13 Faro Airport marker 69,854 11.94 Flyglobespan
14 Barcelona Airportmarker 65,532 30.65 Flyglobespan
15 New York Kennedy Airportmarker 61,101 n/a Delta Air Lines

Future plans

In April, 2008 work began on the resurfacing of the main runway. This project, at a cost of £16m, was due to be completed by the end of November, 2008 and will prolong the life of the runway for a further 15 years.. In the end, the work was completed around 10 days ahead of schedule and on budget..

A £40m extension to the departure lounge is to be built, with work commencing in December, 2008.

Edinburgh Trams is due to connect to the airport in 2011.

£250m is to be spent on the airport over the next decade. BAA has made provision in its Master Plan for the airport for an extension to the current runway 06/24, which would allow larger aircraft to serve longer haul destinations. There are plans to expand further by adding a new runway and terminal by 2020 which would accommodate up to 20 million passengers per annum. BAA projects that by 2030 Edinburgh Airport will be handling 26 million passengers per annum. Development has recently begun at Edinburgh Airport on a £40 million departure lounge extension project which will see the current lounge double in size as well as a new security search area and a greater choice bars, restaurants and shops. The departure lounge opened on 18/11/09 .


On 27 February 2001, a Loganair Shorts 360 (G-BNMT) operating a Royal Mail flight to Belfastmarker, crashed into the Firth of Forthmarker shortly after taking off from Edinburgh at 1730 GMT. Both crew members were killed, and there were no passengers on board. A fatal accident inquiry later blamed a build up of slush in the aircraft's engines before the crash. Protective covering had not been fitted to the engine intakes while the aircraft was parked for several hours in heavy snow at Edinburgh.


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