History of Birmingham Airport
The airport was opened in 1939 by Birmingham Council to meet the
needs of the 2nd largest city in the UK. Birmingham and the surrounding
area was the heartland of engineering and heavy industry in this
country and an airport was fundamental to its status and continued
As with most civilian airports the Air Ministry requisitioned
the airport at the outbreak of the Second World War. The airport
re-opened for civilian activities in 1956 still under government
control and it was not until 1960 that the City of Birmingham took
over responsibility. Ownership of the airport changed hands in name
only as the seven councils of Birmingham, Coventry, Sandwell, Solihull,
Walsall and Wolverhampton changed from Metropolitan to eventually
West Midlands Airport Committee.
This once again changed when all airports with a turnover of £1
million were required to incorporate and became Birmingham International
From an operational viewpoint in 1968 budget holidays to Spain
started in ernest and Doug Ellis a local businessman and founder
of Horizon holidays was at the forefront of this development. Birmingham
airport was extensively used for diversions from Gatwick and Heathrow
airport when these became fog bound in the winter.
The airport started to grow both passenger levels and freight
and a second terminal was built in 1984 called the eurohub, which
doubled the airports capacity to 3 million.
The airport was privatized in 1993 with the councils retaining
49%, modern airports need to have access to funding and this was
seen as the best way forward.
Given the size of the city, passenger levels should at least be
similar to Manchester who will see over 20 million passengers this
year compared to Birmingham with only 9 million. The rapid growth
of Nottingham East Midlands which is not too far away has without
taken traffic which Birmingham airport could otherwise expected.