Park and Go: East Midlands Airport Parking - Airport History

Please find below a brief history of East Midlands Airport which we hope that you will find useful. If you wish to make a booking then please click on the appropriate link on your left. Alternatively you can call our office, where one of our helpful staff will only be happy to help.

East Midlands Airport is one of the fastest growing airports in the UK. Its excellent location in the centre of the country brings international business and travel opportunities to people living across the Midlands region and beyond.

East Midlands Airport started life as a Royal Air Force base. It opened to the public on 2nd April 1965 after it was decided that the region needed a new airport. The Royal Air Force Base was chosen by Derby City, Nottingham City, Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire County Councils as the site to replace 11 year old Burnaston airport, which only had a grass runway.

The Airport started life with the basic requirements of a 5,850ft runway, 60ft taxiway, new hangar floor and aprons and parking for 850 cars. As the volume of freight traffic and the airports financial status quickly rose an agreement was reached to create a new freight complex and to extend the terminal and both runways. Further changes were made as East Midlands Airport continued to grow. The late 70s saw another runway extension, soon to be followed by another upgrade for the terminal building.

  • Number of terminals: 1
  • Number of passengers: Over 2.5 million
  • Number of destinations: Over 50
  • Number of runways: 1

In 1985, a million passengers passed through the Airport for the first time and a year later Princess Anne opened a £3 million terminal extension. And in 1987, following Government legislation it became a public limited company and the local authorities ran the operation as an ‘arms length’ public sector enterprise. However the owning local authorities were finding it increasingly difficult to fund further proposed developments. So in 1993 and in the face of Government pressure to reduce public spending, a decision was made to become the first major regional airport to enter the private sector.

The Airport was purchased for a price of £24.3 million by the National Express Group, and during the 8-year period in which they owned East Midlands Airport they invested an additional £77 million. One of the major developments during that period was the completion of a £20 million runway extension. opening up huge opportunities for the Airport to be marketed as a long-haul operation. £3.5 million was also invested in a new air traffic control tower. The second highest in the country.

Tenant companies too showed their faith in the future growth of East Midlands Airport. In April 2000, international parcel courier DHL unveiled a new £35 million purpose-built facility on the Airport site - a clear statement of its intention to grow and prosper at East Midlands Airport. It was in the year 2000 that National Express Group made the decision to put East Midlands Airport alongside its sister Airport Bournemouth, up for sale.

In March 2001, the Manchester Airport Group completed the purchase of East Midlands Airport and Bournemouth International for £241 million. Since then the Airport has continued to perform well. Passenger figures in 2001 soared 7% to 2.38 million. Cargo operations too have continued to grow and East Midlands Airport is now widely recognised as the UK’s largest pure cargo airport. As well as DHL, TNT and UPS both have bases here and the Airport is also one of Royal Mail’s primary hubs.