Birmingham Airport Parking

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 growth.

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 Airport plc.

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.


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