East Midlands Airport

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East Midlands Airport
East Midlands Airport logo.png
East Midlands2.JPG
Airport type Public
Owner/Operator Manchester Airports Group
Serves Nottingham, Leicester, Derby
Location Castle Donington, Leicestershire
Hub for
Elevation AMSL 306 ft / 93 m
Coordinates 52°49′52″N 001°19′40″W / 52.83111°N 1.32778°W / 52.83111; -1.32778Coordinates: 52°49′52″N 001°19′40″W / 52.83111°N 1.32778°W / 52.83111; -1.32778
Website eastmidlandsairport.com
EGNX is located in Leicestershire
Location in Leicestershire
Direction Length Surface
m ft
09/27 2,893 9,491 Asphalt
Statistics (2013)
Passengers 4,334,117
Passenger change 12-13 Increase6.3%
Aircraft movements 76,563
Movements change 12-13 Increase2.6%
Sources: UK AIP at NATS[1]
Statistics from the UK Civil Aviation Authority[2]

East Midlands Airport (IATA: EMAICAO: EGNX) is an international airport in the East Midlands of England, located at Castle Donington in North West Leicestershire. It lies between the cities of Nottingham (15 miles (24 km)) Leicester (18 miles (29 km)) and Derby (14 miles (23 km)). It mainly serves the counties of Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Staffordshire and South Yorkshire. Passenger numbers peaked in 2008 at 5.6 million, but had declined to 4.3 million in 2013 making it the 11th busiest airport in the UK by passenger traffic. A major cargo hub, it was the second busiest UK airport for freight traffic in 2013.[2]

EMA has a CAA Public Use Aerodrome Licence (Number P520) that allows flights for the public transport of passengers or for flying instruction. The airport is owned by the Manchester Airports Group (MAG), the largest British-owned airport operator which is controlled by the ten metropolitan boroughs of Greater Manchester with Manchester retaining the controlling stake.


The airport was originally a Royal Air Force station, RAF Castle Donington, which was decommissioned in 1946. The site was purchased by a consortium of local government authorities in 1964, when a major programme of building work and runway investment was begun. The airfield was renamed East Midlands Airport to reflect the area it served, and it opened for passengers in April 1965.[citation needed]

EMA replaced the smaller pre-war grass airfield at Derby Burnaston, and the base's light aircraft later moved to a new site at Derby Egginton Airfield near Hilton. The original Derby Airport site at Burnaston has since been redeveloped as a Toyota car factory.[citation needed]

Derby Airways, which was in the process of being renamed British Midland Airways, moved its operations to the new airport and established its headquarters in nearby Donington Hall in Castle Donington, operating a network of domestic and international scheduled and charter flights at East Midlands. The airfield was established with basic requirements of a 5,850 ft (1,780 m) runway, a 60 ft (18 m) taxiway, a new hangar floor and aprons, and parking for 850 cars. Financially, it was not an instant success. However, the picture quickly changed, with the increased volume of cargo traffic soon demanding further development. In 1970, an agreement was reached on creating a new freight complex, and both the runway and the terminal were extended.[citation needed]

Expansion was swift, with a further runway extension to 2,283 m (7,490 ft) and terminal upgrade in the late 1970s. During 1985, one million passengers used the airport for the first time, which necessitated yet another terminal extension. Following government legislation, the airport became a public limited company in 1987, distancing it from all-out control by the local authorities.[citation needed]

With growing passenger and cargo traffic, further expansion was proposed for the airport in 1992. However, despite the enthusiasm of the local authorities who owned the airport, the funds necessary were not raised, so in 1993 East Midlands became the first major regional airport in the UK to be privatised. National Express Group purchased the airfield for £24.3m and began to invest in airport facilities. A £20m, 610 m (2,000 ft) extension to the runway was added to enable the airport to handle long-haul flights, and a new air traffic control tower was constructed, the second tallest in the UK at the time. National Express investment would eventually total over £77m over an eight-year period.[citation needed]

Britannia Airways Boeing 737 operating holiday charters in 1982

DHL Aviation opened a new £35m cargo facility on site in 2000, and in the same year a business park was constructed next to the airport. However, National Express Group announced its intention to concentrate on bus and rail provision, and sold East Midlands Airport, together with Bournemouth Airport, in March 2001 to Manchester Airports Group for £241m.

The arrival of low-cost carriers in 2002 resulted in a sharp jump in passenger numbers, rising 36% in that year to 3.23 million. Go Fly established a hub at East Midlands, and the operation has been strengthened since the airline's absorption by easyJet. The majority of BMI operations were ceded to a new low cost subsidiary, bmibaby, in 2002.

The DEMAND Campaign was formed in 2004 to campaign against night flights at the airport and against increasing levels of noise generally.[3]

By 2006, annual passengers had reached 4.72 million, twelfth highest in the UK. The five million mark was passed during April 2007.

In September 2006 Plane Stupid blocked a taxiway at the airport for four hours. Their spokesman Leo Murray said, "The people of the past didn't know what the problem was. For the people of the future it's going to be too late. People in developing countries are powerless to do anything about it. If we don't do this, it's not going to get done."[4]

Following increasing overcrowding at the terminal building, the airport facilities have been extended and remodelled. There are new short-stay car parks, but there are charges for drop-off outside the terminals. The arrivals hall has been extended, a new transport interchange has been created, and a new pier has been built to reduce 'across tarmac' walking to aircraft.


The air traffic control tower at East Midlands airport, located at the south of the airfield, next to the terminal.

East Midlands Airport has established itself as a hub for low fare airlines such as, Jet2.com and Ryanair and tour operarors like Thomson Airways which serve a range of domestic and European short-haul destinations. It is also a base for BMI Regional, Flybe, Monarch and Thomas Cook Airlines. EasyJet ceased operating from the airport on 5 January 2010.[5] As a result of this redeployment, Bmibaby announced plans to expand its operation by 40% by basing three more aircraft at the airport by summer 2010.[citation needed]

A major development towards the long-haul programme came in 2005 with the introduction of holiday flights to the Dominican Republic, Orlando, and Cancún by First Choice Airways. The Indian resort of Goa has since been added.[citation needed]

On 28 August 2009, low fares airline Jet2.com announced that its seventh base would be at East Midlands Airport, starting with seven routes across Europe from May 2010 and two new winter routes from 20 December 2010 and have grown further since.[citation needed]

BMI had its maintenance base at the airport.

Other airlines operating from the airport include Aurigny Air Services, Eastern Airways and summer holiday charters by Freebird Airlines, Onur Air and BH Air.

Until 1982, when the head office moved to Donington Hall,[6] British Midland had its head office on the airport property.[7]

It was announced on 13 April 2011 that Bmibaby would close its Manchester and Cardiff bases, moving an additional service to East Midlands Airport with increased frequencies and new routes for summer 2012.

It was announced only just over a year later, on 3 May 2012, that Bmibaby would be closed down and cease all operations in September 2012 with a number of services being dropped from June. The parent company, International Airlines Group, cited heavy losses and the failure to find a suitable buyer as the reasons for the decision.[8] In light of the announcement, Flybe and Monarch announced they would establish a base at the airport, and low-cost airline Jet2.com confirmed they would also expand their operations from the airport with new routes and an additional aircraft from Summer 2013.

Ryanair has also expanded its East Midlands base with a series of new routes and frequency increases on existing routes. They will now serve the airport with 7 based aircraft, 40 destinations, over 320 weekly flights and roughly 2.3 million passengers a year, making it the largest airline at the airport, accounting for about 50% of passenger traffic with East Midlands now being Ryanair's third largest UK airport after London-Stansted and Manchester, both now also owned by MAG.

Since July 2013 Thomson Airways also operates with their Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft out of East Midlands, serving long haul holiday destinations such as Orlando or Cancun.[9]

Airlines and destinations[edit]


Airlines Destinations
Aer Lingus Regional
operated by Stobart Air
Dublin (begins 2 April 2015)[10]
Aurigny Air Services Guernsey
BH Air Seasonal charter: Burgas
BMI Regional Brussels
Eastern Airways Aberdeen
Flybe Amsterdam, Belfast-City, Edinburgh, Glasgow-International, Jersey
Freebird Airlines Seasonal charter: Dalaman
Jet2.com Alicante, Budapest, Lanzarote, Madeira, Málaga, Prague, Tenerife-South
Seasonal: Antalya (begins 21 May 2015), Bodrum, Chambéry, Corfu, Dalaman, Dubrovnik, Enfidha (begins 27 May 2015), Faro, Fuerteventura, Funchal, Geneva, Gran Canaria, Heraklion, Ibiza, Jersey, Kos, Larnaca, Malta (begins 22 May 2015), Menorca, Murcia, Palma de Mallorca, Paphos, Pisa, Reus, Rhodes, Zakynthos
Onur Air Seasonal charter: Dalaman
Ryanair Alicante, Bergamo, Berlin-Schönefeld, Dublin, Faro, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Knock, Kraków, Lanzarote, Limoges, Łódź, Malaga, Riga, Rzeszów, Tenerife-South, Treviso, Warsaw-Modlin, Wrocław
Seasonal: Barcelona, Bergerac, Carcassonne, Chania, Corfu, Dinard, Ibiza, Malta (begins 30 March 2015),[11] Minorca, Murcia, Palma de Mallorca, Pisa, Rhodes, Rome-Ciampino, Valencia
Thomas Cook Airlines Enfidha, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, Tenerife-South
Seasonal: Antalya, Bodrum, Corfu, Dalaman, Ibiza, Larnaca, Minorca, Palma de Mallorca, Paphos, Rhodes, Rovaniemi, Skiathos, Zakynthos
Thomson Airways Alicante, Fuerteventura, Funchal, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, Málaga, Palma de Mallorca, Sharm el-Sheikh, Tenerife-South
Seasonal: Antalya, Boa Vista, Bodrum, Barbados, Burgas, Cancún, Chambéry, Corfu, Dalaman, Faro, Enfidha, Heraklion, Ibiza, Kos, Larnaca, Minorca, Naples, Orlando-Sanford, Paphos, Rhodes, Salzburg, Skiathos, Thessaloniki, Zakynthos


Airlines Destinations
Atlantic Airlines Jersey, Basel/Mulhouse
DHL Aviation Belfast-International, Bergamo, Brussels-International, Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky, Copenhagen, Dublin, Edinburgh, Frankfurt, Leipzig/Halle, London Heathrow, Madrid, New York-JFK, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Shannon, Vitoria
DHL Aviation
operated by AeroLogic
operated by Atlantic Airlines
Aberdeen, Cologne/Bonn
operated by Swiftair
Icelandair Cargo Liège, Reykjavík-Keflavík
Royal Mail
operated by Atlantic Airlines
Aberdeen, Belfast-International, Cardiff, Isle of Man, Edinburgh, Bournemouth
Royal Mail
operated by Jet2.com
Belfast-International, Edinburgh, Exeter, Newcastle uponTyne
Royal Mail
operated by Loganair
Royal Mail
operated by Titan Airways
RVL Aviation Dublin, Guernsey, Isle of Man
TNT Airways Belfast-International, Liège
UPS Airlines Cologne/Bonn, Louisville, Philadelphia
UPS Airlines
operated by Star Air (Maersk Air)
Cologne/Bonn, Belfast-International, Edinburgh

East Midlands Airport is the second largest cargo airport in the United Kingdom after London Heathrow. In 2012 Heathrow handled 1.56 million tonnes of freight & mail compared with 300,000 tonnes at East Midlands.[2] DHL Aviation have a large purpose-built facility at EMA, and courier companies United Parcel Service (UPS) and TNT also use the airport as a base to import/export freight to Belfast and Liege.


Busiest routes to and from East Midlands Airport (2012)[2]
Rank Airport Passengers handled  % Change
2011 / 12
1  Spain, Alicante 300,247 Increase 11
2  Spain, Palma de Mallorca 295,543 Increase 6
3  Spain, Málaga 263,153 Increase 30
4  Spain, Tenerife South 205,974 Increase 6
5  Portugal, Faro 193,135 Increase 14
6  Ireland, Dublin 177,587 Increase 2
7  UK, Belfast City 163,930 Decrease 13
8  Spain, Arrecife de Lanzarote 126,504 Increase 19
9  Spain, Barcelona 94,891 Increase 265
10  Spain, Ibiza 79,978 Increase 18
11  Spain, Murcia San Javier 79,174 Decrease 8
12  Spain, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria 72,896 Increase 3
13  UK, Edinburgh 72,656 Decrease 34
14  Spain, Fuerteventura 71,494 Decrease 13
15  UK, Glasgow-International 70,677 Decrease 32
16  Poland, Wrocław 67,546 Increase 3
17  Turkey, Dalaman 66,030 Decrease 12
18  Cyprus, Paphos 62,170 Decrease 7
19  Spain, Mahon de Minorca 60,725 Increase 9
20  Tunisia, Enfidha 54,544 Increase 303

Transport links[edit]


The airport has excellent connections to the motorway network as it is near the M1 and M42, bringing the airfield within easy reach of the major population centres of the Midlands.


The nearest railway station is East Midlands Parkway, which is 4 miles (6.4 km) away. The shuttle bus service linking the station and the airport has ceased but one can take a taxi at a reduced fare if it is booked at least 12 hours in advance.[13]

Although very much still in the initial stages of planning, a proposed route for the High Speed 2 rail line from London Euston to the north of England via Birmingham could bring the Leeds branch very close to East Midlands Airport with proposals for a station to serve the airport and the Nottingham and Derby catchment areas.[14]


There are frequent Skylink services operated by Kinchbus and Trent Barton. Kinchbus run buses from Leicester to Derby via Loughborough and Trent Barton operate a route from Nottingham to Loughborough via Beeston and Long Eaton. Both services operate every 20 minutes during the day and hourly throughout the night, seven days a week.[15][16]

East Midlands Aeropark[edit]

The Aeropark at East Midlands Airport

The East Midlands Aeropark to the north west corner of the airport has a large number of static aircraft on public display.

The museum and its exhibits are managed and maintained by the Aeropark Volunteers Association (AVA). It also offers two viewing mounds for watching aircraft arriving and departing from the main runway. AVA Members are allowed free access to the Aeropark. Exhibits include:

Accidents and incidents[edit]

  • On 31 January 1986, Aer Lingus Flight 328, a Short 360, en route from Dublin, struck power lines and crashed short of the runway. None of the 36 passengers and crew died but two passengers were injured in the accident.[18]
  • On 8 January 1989, British Midland Flight BD092 crashed on approach to East Midlands Airport, killing 47 people. The Boeing 737 aircraft had developed a fan blade failure in one of the two engines while en route from London Heathrow to Belfast and a decision was made to divert to East Midlands. The crew mistakenly shut down the functioning engine, causing the aircraft to lose power and crash on the embankment of the M1 Motorway just short of the runway. No one on the ground was injured despite the aircraft crashing on the embankment of one of the busiest sections of motorway in the UK. The investigation into the Kegworth air disaster, as the incident became known, led to considerable improvements in aircraft safety and emergency instructions for passengers. The official report into the disaster made 31 safety recommendations.
  • On 29 April 2014 An Air Contractors Boeing 737-400 freighter, registration EI-STD performing freight flight QY-1748 from Paris-Charles de Gaulle to East Midlands with 2 crew and 10 tonnes of freight, had safely landed on East Midland's runway 27 and slowed to taxi speed. While attempting to turn off the runway parts the left main landing gear collapsed disabling the aircraft on the runway. There were no injuries but the runway needed to be closed for most of the day.


  1. ^ "East Midlands – EGNX". Nats-uk.ead-it.com. Retrieved 8 November 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c d "CAA: UK Annual Airport Statistics". UK Civil Aviation Authority. Retrieved 1 April 2014. 
  3. ^ "Campaign News". DEMAND Campaign. Retrieved 7 October 2008. 
  4. ^ Alice O'Keeffe (6 November 2006). "Planet saved?: Why the green movement is taking to the streets". New Statesman. Retrieved 14 January 2008. 
  5. ^ "easyJet announces network redeployments". Corporate.easyjet.com. Retrieved 8 November 2010. 
  6. ^ "the eighties." British Midland International. Retrieved on 28 December 2011.
  7. ^ "World Airline Directory." Flight International. 26 July 1980. 295. "Head Office: East Midlands Airport, Castle Donington, Derby, Great Britain. 37172."
  8. ^ "BMI Baby has delivered high levels of operational performance and customer service, but has continued to struggle financially, losing more than £100m in the last four years,"
  9. ^ http://communicationcentre.thomson.co.uk/News/Thomson-s-first-long-haul-787-Dreamliner-from-East-Midlands-Airport-takes-flight-17d.aspx"East Midlands is now one of only four UK airports to currently operate the revolutionary Thomson 787 Dreamliner aircraft – along with London Gatwick, Manchester and Glasgow airports. Thomson Airways will fly the state-of-the-art aircraft from the East Midlands on long haul routes to Sanford, Florida and Cancun in Mexico."
  10. ^ New EIR route to DUB
  11. ^ "New East Midlands-Malta Route Launched & Extra Flights For Summer 2015". Ryanair. Retrieved 15 August 2014. 
  12. ^ "2013 summer schedule". Aero Logic. Retrieved 13 August 2013. 
  13. ^ "Train services to and from East Midlands Parkway – East Midlands Trains". East Midlands Trains. Retrieved 19 May 2011. 
  14. ^ Department for Transport Report on HS2 - see paragraph 4.26
  15. ^ "Skylink". Skylink. Retrieved 2 October 2014. 
  16. ^ "Skylink Derby". Kinchbus. Retrieved 2 October 2014. 
  17. ^ "Accident description". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 7 October 2009. 
  18. ^ "ASN Aircraft accident Shorts 360-100 EI-BEM East Midlands Airport (EMA)". Aviation-safety.net. Retrieved 8 November 2010. 
  19. ^ "ASN Aircraft accident Fokker F-27 Friendship 200 G-BMAU East Midlands Airport (EMA)". Aviation-safety.net. Retrieved 8 November 2010. 
  20. ^ "Terrorist Bombers May Have Targeted Aircraft". Fox News. 7 April 2010. Retrieved 1 November 2010. 
  21. ^ "How many more bombs out there?: Device found in Dubai had been on two PASSENGER flights, airline reveals". Daily Mail. 1 November 2010. Retrieved 1 November 2010. 
  22. ^ Rayner, Gordon (31 October 2010). "Cargo plane bomb plot: al-Qaeda terrorists 'threatened another Lockerbie'". Telegraph. Retrieved 1 November 2010. 
  23. ^ "Al-Qaida claims responsibility for cargo bombs". MSNBC. 5 November 2010. Retrieved 8 November 2010. 

External links[edit]