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Liverpool John Lennon Airport is an international airport serving the city of Liverpoolmarker and North West England. Formerly known as Speke Airport and RAF Speke, the airport is located within the City of Liverpoolmarker adjacent to the estuary of the River Merseymarker some southeast of the centre of Liverpool, the airport is named after assassinatedmarker musician and peace activist John Lennon.

Until 2007 it was one of Europe's fastest growing airports, having increased its annual passenger numbers from 875,000 in 1998 to 5.47 million. The growth rate was 10.2% in 2007. 500,000 passengers were handled in one month, for the first time, during May 2007. Per CAA UK airport statistics, the number of passengers during 2008 reduced by 2.5% to 5.33 million (UK average reduction: 2.0%).

Liverpool Airport has a CAA Public Use Aerodrome Licence (Number P735) that allows flights for the public transport of passengers and for flying instruction.

History

Built in part of the grounds of Speke Hallmarker, Liverpool (Speke) Airport, as the airport was originally known, started scheduled flights in 1930 with a service by Imperial Airways via Barton Aerodromemarker near Ecclesmarker, Manchestermarker, and Birminghammarker to Croydon Airportmarker near Londonmarker. However, it was not "officially" opened until the summer of 1933. By the late 1930s, air traffic from Liverpool was beginning to take off with increasing demand for Irish Seamarker crossings, and a distinctive passenger terminal, control tower and two large aircraft hangars were built.

During World War II, the airport was taken over by the Royal Air Force and known as RAF Speke. Rootes built many bombers in a "shadow factory" here, including Bristol Blenheims and 1,070 Handley Page Halifaxes. Lockheed Aircraft Corporation assembled many types including Hudsons and Mustangs, that had been shipped from the United Statesmarker to Liverpool Docksmarker. The airport was also home to the Merchant Ship Fighter Unit.

On 8 October 1940, Speke was witness to what is thought to be the fastest air to air combat "kill" in the Battle of Britain and possibly of all time. Flight Lieutenant Denys Gillam took off in his Hawker Hurricane from Speke to be confronted by a Junkers 88 passing across him. As his undercarriage was still retracting he shot the Junkers down, and, along with Alois Vašátko and Josef Stehlík, all of 312 Squadron, was credited with the kill. The moment has been caught in a painting by Robert Taylor called "Fastest Victory".

Civil airline operations resumed on a normal basis after VE-day and passengers increased from 50,000 in 1945 to 75,000 in 1948, remaining ahead of Manchester Airportmarker. Ownership by the Ministry of Aviation proved to be a drag on the airport's progress thereafter and Manchester gained the lead from 1949, resulting in Liverpool's loss of the only ground-controlled radar approach unit available to North West airports, further hampering operation.

The city took over control of the airport on 1 January 1961 and prepared development plans. In 1966, a new runway was opened by Prince Philip on a new site to the southeast of the existing airfield. It enabled the airport to be open for business around the clock and is in use to this day. Control of the airport transferred to Merseyside County Councilmarker from Liverpool Corporation in the mid 1970s and then, ten years later, to the five Merseyside councils following the abolition of Merseyside County Council. A new modern passenger terminal, adjacent to the runway on the southern airfield site, opened in 1986, and this was followed by the closure of the original 1930s building.

The original terminal building dating from the late 1930s, famously seen on early television footage with its terraces packed with Beatles fans, was left derelict for over a decade after being replaced in 1986. However it has recently been renovated and adapted to become the Crowne Plaza Liverpool John Lennon Airport Hotelmarker, preserving its Grade II listed Art Deco style. The former apron of the terminal is also listed and retained in its original condition, although it is no longer connected to the airport or subject to airside access control. It is the home of several aircraft, including BAe Jetstream 41 prototype G-JMAC and Bristol Britannia G-ANCF, preserved by the Jetstream Club. The two art deco style hangars that flank the terminal and apron have also been converted for new uses. One is now a David Lloyd leisure centre, whilst the other has been adapted as the headquarters of the Shop Direct Group, and is now known as Skyways House.

In 1990 ownership of the airport was privatised, with British Aerospace taking a 76% shareholding in the new company. Subsequently the airport has become a wholly owned subsidiary of Peel Holdings Ltd. In 2000, work on a £42.5 million modern passenger terminal began, tripling its size and passenger capacity, and this development was completed in 2002. There have since been further extensions. The airport's strategy is to cater largely for 'low cost' operators, and consequently the layout of the terminal and gates requires passengers to walk unprotected from the weather to and from passenger aircraft. Destinations served are located throughout Europe, the 2007 scheduled services to the USAmarker and Canadamarker having been withdrawn.

2002 saw the airport being renamed in honour of John Lennon, a founding member of the Liverpudlian group The Beatles, twenty-two years after Lennon's death. A tall bronze statue of the local icon stands overlooking the check-in hall. On the roof is painted the airport's motto, a line from Lennon's song "Imagine": "Above us, only sky". In 2005 the Yellow Submarinemarker, a large-scale work of art, was installed on a traffic island at the entrance to the airport.

In September 2006 reconstruction started on the main runway and taxiways. This was the first time the runway had been reconstructed (as opposed to resurfaced) since it was opened in 1966. This work was completed in 2007. In addition to runway and shoulder work was the upgrade of the 40 year old airfield group lighting with a new system, intended to upgrade the runway to ILS Category III standards.In 2007 Liverpool Airport started the construction of a new multi-level car park and a budget Hampton by Hilton Hotel with an overhead bridge to the main terminal. In 2009 a announcement came from Peel Airports Group that they are considering new investors to continue its investment at its airports. The proposed developments for Liverpool Airport will see improvements in retail by creating additional shop units and a more advanced security area aiming at reducing waiting times. The new facilities are due to be completed in Autumn 2010.

Statistics

The old terminal building, used between the 1930s and 1986, in 2008.
The building is now a hotel.
The former apron is home to several preserved aircraft
The new terminal building, completed in 2002, viewed from the land side in 2006
Number of Passengers Number of Movements
1997 689,468 28,521
1998 873,172 28,585
1999 1,304,959 27,064
2000 1,982,711 32,442
2001 2,253,398 30,510
2002 2,835,871 32,764
2003 3,177,009 38,760
2004 3,353,350 39,736
2005 4,411,243 49,341
2006 4,963,886 47,792
2007 5,468,510 45,772
2008 5,334,152 43,708


Airlines and destinations

Scheduled airlines

Charter airlines

Others

Other flight-providing organisations at the airport include:

  • Merseyflight (Flying school)
  • Liverpool Flying School
  • Ravenair (charter and flying training)


Busiest International Routes out of Liverpool Airport (2008)
Rank Airport Passengers handled
1 Málaga Airportmarker 296,201
2 Dublin Airportmarker 290,303
3 Alicante Airportmarker 276,354
4 Amsterdam Airport Schipholmarker 255,905
5 Palma de Mallorca Airportmarker 211,624
6 Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airportmarker 179,560
7 Barcelona El Prat Airportmarker 166,284
8 Geneva Cointrin International Airportmarker 142,001
9 Nice Côte d'Azur Airportmarker 138,974
10 John Paul II International Airport Kraków-Balicemarker 133,492


Transport links

By road, the airport is readily accessible by the M53 and M56 motorways via the A533 / Runcorn Bridgemarker to the south, and the M57 and M62 motorways via the Knowsley Expressway to the north of the airport.

The airport does not have its own railway station. The nearest station is at Liverpool South Parkwaymarker, from which there are regular bus shuttle services to the airport. The station provides frequent rail services to central Liverpool, Crosbymarker, Hunts Crossmarker and Southportmarker, on the suburban Merseyrail network, together with longer distance direct links to Manchestermarker, Birminghammarker, Sheffieldmarker, Nottinghammarker, Granthammarker, Peterboroughmarker and Norwichmarker on the National Rail network.

There are also regular bus services linking the airport with the surrounding urban areas. Express shuttle services also operate to Liverpool and Manchester.

Taxi services are also provided at the airport.

Accidents and incidents



Bibliography

  • Liverpool Airport - an Illustrated History. Phil Butler. Tempus Publishing, Stroud, 2004. ISBN 0-7524-3168-4.


References

  1. Peter Adey, ""Above Us Only Sky": Themes, Simulations, and Liverpool John Lennon Airport," pp. 153-166 in The Themed Space: Locating Culture, Nation, and Self, ed. Scott A. Lukas (Lanham, MD, Lexington Books, 2007), ISBN 0-7391-2142-1
  2. Number of Movements represents total air transport takeoffs and landings during that year.
  3. UK Airport Statistics: 2007 - annual | Data | Economic Regulation


External links




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