Exeter International Airport

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Exeter International Airport
Exeter International Airport logo.png
Airport type Public
Operator Exeter and Devon Airport Limited
Serves Exeter, Devon
Location East Devon
Elevation AMSL 102 ft / 31 m
Coordinates 50°44′04″N 003°24′50″W / 50.73444°N 3.41389°W / 50.73444; -3.41389Coordinates: 50°44′04″N 003°24′50″W / 50.73444°N 3.41389°W / 50.73444; -3.41389
Website exeter-airport.co.uk
EGTE is located in Devon
Location in Devon
Direction Length Surface
m ft
08/26 2,076 6,811 Asphalt
Statistics (2013)
Passengers 741,465
Passenger change 12-13 Increase5.7%
Aircraft Movements 31,458
Movements change 12-13 Increase1.2%
Sources: UK AIP at NATS[1]
Statistics from the UK Civil Aviation Authority[2]

Exeter International Airport (IATA: EXTICAO: EGTE) is an airport located at Clyst Honiton in the District of East Devon close to the city of Exeter and within the county of Devon, South West England.

In 2007 the airport handled over 1 million passengers for the first time, although passenger throughput subsequently declined. In 2013 it handled 741,465 passengers, a 5.7% increase compared with 2012.[2] Exeter has a CAA Public Use Aerodrome Licence (Number P759) that allows flights for the public transport of passengers or for flying instruction. The airport offers both scheduled and holiday charter flights within the United Kingdom and Europe.


Exeter International Airport is located 4 miles (6.4 km) east of the city of Exeter and is approximately 170 miles (270 km) south west of London. To the south, it is connected by the A30 dual carriageway which can be accessed from the east and the M5 in the west, just 1.5 miles (2.4 km) away. The M5 enables good links with Bristol and the Midlands.

There is no railway station at the airport, and the closest station is Pinhoe railway station. Exeter St Davids railway station has a bus link and is therefore easier for passengers using the airport.


The airfield had originated as a grass field for club flying before being constructed in 1937 and formally opened on 30 July 1938 as Exeter Airport at a cost of about £20,000.

Wartime use[edit]

  • Media related to RAF Exeter at Wikimedia Commons
Aerial photograph of RAF Exeter, 20 March 1944.

During World War II RAF Exeter was important RAF Fighter Command airfield during the Battle of Britain, with some two dozen different RAF fighter squadrons being stationed there for varying periods through 1944, and just about all the operational fighter types of those years had been present.

RAF Exeter was also used by the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) Ninth Air Force as a D-Day troop transport base with Douglas C-47 Skytrain transports dropping paratroops near Carentan to land on the Normandy Beachhead. It was also known as USAAF Station AAF-463.

Battle of Britain[edit]

RAF Exeter was home to the following Squadrons of No 10 Group during the Battle of Britain:

  • No 213 Squadron from 18 June 1940
  • No 87 Squadron from 5 July 1940
  • No 601 Squadron from 7 September 1940

Despite extensive efforts at camouflage, including painting the runways, Exeter attracted the Luftwaffe on a number of occasions during the early years of the conflict and a few of the administrative and technical buildings were destroyed.

USAAF use[edit]

Exeter met the requirement of basing USAAF troop carrier groups close to where units of the 101st Airborne Division were located and within reasonable range of the expected area of operations.

440th troop carrier group[edit]
5 June 1944 photograph of C-47s of the 95th and 98th Troop Carrier Squadrons at RAF Exeter with freshly applied black/white invasion stripes to aid in aircraft identification from the ground. There was insufficient space to park all the aircraft on the concrete, so many were parked on grass turf.

The 440th Troop Carrier Group arrived on 15 April 1944 with over 70 C-47/C-53 Skytrain aircraft. There was insufficient hardstandings to accommodate all the aircraft so many had to be parked on the turf, some areas being supported by tarmac.

The 440th was a group of Ninth Air Force's 50th Troop Carrier Wing, IX Troop Carrier Command. The 98th TCS remained at Exeter until 7 August when it began operating from RAF Ramsbury.

On 11 September the headquarters of the 440th TCG was established at the group's new base at Reims, France (ALG A-62D), and the last of the air echelon left Exeter two days later.

Postwar use[edit]

Walruses of an RAF air-sea rescue flight were the next tenants and these were joined by a glider training unit early in 1945.

Post-war, Exeter was reclaimed by Fighter Command and a French Supermarine Spitfire squadron, No. 329, which came and stayed until November 1945. Meteors and Mosquitos made a brief appearance the following spring.

No. 691 Squadron's target-towing Vultee A-31 Vengeances, which had been present for more than a year, proved to be the last RAF flying unit of the Second World War period based at Exeter.

When No. 691 Squadron departed in the summer of 1946, the station was made available for civil use, being officially transferred to the Ministry of Civil Aviation on 1 January 1947 although there was still some reserve RAF activity until the 1950s.

Scheduled services to the Channel Islands began in 1952 and charter flights to various locations followed. A new terminal building was opened in the early 1980s and various other improvements, including a runway extension, were carried out over following years to establish Exeter as an important airport in the West Country.

Exeter was a joint RAF/Civil airfield in the 1960s. We have cine film from 1964 with Meteors operating from the airfield.

The former Swiss Air Force Hawker Hunter F.58A J-4104, now "Miss Demeanour", moved to Exeter airport in 2004.[citation needed]

On 5 January 2007 a majority share of the airport was sold by Devon County Council to Regional and City Airports Ltd, a consortium led by construction firm Balfour Beatty. On 26 June 2013 the airport was bought by the Patriot Aerospace division of Rigby Group, which also owns Coventry Airport.[3]

Airlines and destinations[edit]


Airlines Destinations
Air Europa Seasonal: Gran Canaria
Air Malta Seasonal: Malta
Flybe Amsterdam, Belfast-City, Dublin, Edinburgh, Guernsey, Jersey, London-City, Málaga (resumes 29 March 2015), Manchester, Newcastle upon Tyne, Paris-Charles de Gaulle
Seasonal: Alicante (begins 29 March 2015), Bergerac, Chambéry, Deauville (begins 25 June 2015), Dubrovnik, Geneva, Glasgow-International, Rennes, Salzburg
Isles of Scilly Skybus Seasonal: Isles of Scilly
Nouvelair Tunisie Seasonal: Enfidha
Onur Air Seasonal: Dalaman
Thomas Cook Airlines Seasonal: Palma de Mallorca
Thomson Airways Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, Sharm El-Sheikh, Tenerife-South
Seasonal: Barbados, Bodrum, Corfu, Dalaman, Faro, Ibiza, Larnaca, Malta, Menorca, Palma de Mallorca, Rhodes (begins 27 May 2015)[4]


Airlines Destinations
Royal Mail
operated by West Atlantic
East Midlands
Royal Mail
operated by Titan Airways

Capital Aviation[edit]

Capital Aviation[5] is based at Exeter and offers a number of commercial services. The company have a fleet of turboprop aircraft, including the Beech 200 Super King Air which offers fast and comfortable transport for up to nine passengers. These aircraft are mainly used on a private hire/charter basis. Capital also provides emergency medical transport and cargo/mail services.


Jack Walker House, Flybe head office
Busiest routes to and from Exeter Airport (2013)[2]
Rank Airport Passengers handled % Change
2012 / 13
1 United Kingdom Manchester 84,618 Increase32
2 Spain Palma de Mallorca 47,356 Increase13
3 United Kingdom Edinburgh 36,497 Decrease10
4 Spain Malaga 35,430 Increase20
5 Netherlands Amsterdam 35,356 Increase5
6 Spain Alicante 35,271 Increase21
7 France Paris Charles de Gaulle 35,036 Steady0
8 Jersey Jersey 33,070 Decrease7
9 Republic of Ireland Dublin 30,513 Decrease1
10 United Kingdom Newcastle 29,945 Steady0

Flight training[edit]

There are two flight training organisations based at the airport:

  • Aviation South West
  • Airways Flight Training

These two FTO offer a range of training from the Privates Pilot Licence to the Commercial Pilots Licence and Instrument Rating.

See also[edit]


 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Air Force Historical Research Agency.

  • Freeman, Roger A. (1978) Airfields of the Eighth: Then and Now. After the Battle ISBN 0-900913-09-6
  • Maurer, Maurer (1983). Air Force Combat Units Of World War II. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-89201-092-4.

External links[edit]

Media related to Exeter International Airport at Wikimedia Commons