Liverpool John Lennon Airport

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"Liverpool Airport" redirects here. For the airport in Nova Scotia, Canada, see Liverpool/South Shore Regional Airport.
Liverpool John Lennon Airport
Liverpool John Lennon Airport Logo.svg
Liverpool Airport aerial Coleman.jpg
Owner Peel Airports
Operator Liverpool Airport PLC
Serves Liverpool, Merseyside, Cheshire, Shropshire and North Wales
Location Speke, Liverpool
Elevation AMSL 81 ft / 25 m
Coordinates 53°20′01″N 002°50′59″W / 53.33361°N 2.84972°W / 53.33361; -2.84972Coordinates: 53°20′01″N 002°50′59″W / 53.33361°N 2.84972°W / 53.33361; -2.84972
EGGP is located in Merseyside
Location in Merseyside
Direction Length Surface
m ft
09/27 2,285 7,497 Asphalt
Statistics (2013)
Passengers 4,187,493
Passenger change 12-13 Decrease6.2%
Aircraft Movements 55,839
Movements change 12-13 Decrease7.4%
Sources: UK AIP at NATS[1]
Statistics from the UK Civil Aviation Authority[2]

Liverpool John Lennon Airport (IATA: LPLICAO: EGGP) is an international airport serving North West England. Formerly known as Speke Airport, RAF Speke, and Liverpool Airport the airport is within the City of Liverpool on the estuary of the River Mersey some 6.5 nautical miles (12.0 km; 7.5 mi)[1] southeast of the city centre. The airport is named after Liverpudlian musician John Lennon of The Beatles. It has some domestic services and scheduled flights to locations across Europe.

Between 1997 and 2007 it was one of Europe's fastest growing airports, increasing annual passenger numbers from 689,468 in 1997 to 5.47 million in 2007.[2] Passenger numbers have since fallen and around 4.2 million passengers passed through the airport in 2013, making it the 12th busiest airport in the United Kingdom. It has a CAA Public Use Aerodrome Licence (Number P735) that allows flights for the public transport of passengers and for flying instruction.


The old terminal building, used between the 1930s and 1986, now the Crowne Plaza Liverpool John Lennon Airport Hotel
The interior of the terminal building in 2006

Built in part of the grounds of Speke Hall, Liverpool (Speke) Airport, as the airport was originally known, started scheduled flights in 1930 with a service by Imperial Airways via Barton Aerodrome near Eccles, Salford and Castle Bromwich Aerodrome, Birmingham to Croydon Airport near London. The airport was officially opened in mid-1933. By the late 1930s, air traffic from Liverpool was beginning to take off with increasing demand for Irish Sea crossings, and a distinctive passenger terminal, control tower and two large aircraft hangars were built.

During the Second World War, the airport was taken over by the Royal Air Force and known as RAF Speke. Rootes built many bombers in a "shadow factory" here, including Bristol Blenheims and 1,070 Handley Page Halifaxes. Lockheed Aircraft Corporation assembled many types, including Hudsons and Mustangs, that had been shipped from the United States to Liverpool Docks. The airport was also home to the Merchant Ship Fighter Unit.

On 8 October 1940 (one day before John Lennon's birth), Speke was witness to what is thought to be the fastest air-to-air combat "kill" in the Battle of Britain and possibly of all time. Flight Lieutenant Denys Gillam took off in his Hawker Hurricane from Speke to be confronted by a Junkers 88 passing across him. He shot the Junkers down while his undercarriage was still retracting, and, along with Alois Vašátko and Josef Stehlík, all of 312 Squadron, was credited with the kill. The moment has been caught in a painting by Robert Taylor called "Fastest Victory".[3][4]

Normal civil airline operations resumed after VE-day and passengers increased from 50,000 in 1945 to 75,000 in 1948, remaining ahead of Manchester Airport. Ownership by the Ministry of Aviation proved to be a drag on the airport's progress thereafter and Manchester gained the lead from 1949, resulting in Liverpool's loss of the only ground-controlled radar approach unit available to North West airports, further hampering operation.

During the post war years Speke Airport hosted an annual Air Display in aid of the Soldiers, Sailors, and Air Force Association, a charity for veterans. The displays were immensely popular and attracted a huge crowd. On one such occasion on 21 May 1956 sadly tragedy struck with the death of Léon Alfred Nicolas "Léo" Valentin billed as the Birdman when his balsa wood wings struck the opening of the aircraft from which he was exiting and he was hurtled into an uncontrollable spin. He attempted to deploy his emergency parachute but it became entangled and 'roman candled' leaving Leo to fall to his death. The local newspaper headlined the story with "The world has been robbed of a daring personality". Ironically, a few years earlier Valentin had been attributed with discovering the free-fall stable position still used by sports parachutists today for safe deployment.

The city took over control of the airport on 1 January 1961 and prepared development plans. In 1966, a new 7,500 ft (2,286 m) runway was opened by Prince Philip on a new site to the southeast of the existing airfield. It enabled the airport to be open for business around the clock and is in use to this day. Control of the airport transferred to Merseyside County Council from Liverpool Corporation in the mid 1970s and then, ten years later, to the five Merseyside councils following the abolition of Merseyside County Council. A modern passenger terminal adjacent to the new runway opened in 1986 and this was followed by the closure of the original 1930s building.[5]

The original terminal building dating from the late 1930s, famously seen on early television footage with its terraces packed with Beatles fans, was left derelict for over a decade after being replaced in 1986. It was renovated and adapted to become a hotel, opened for business in 2001, preserving its Grade II listed Art Deco style. It was part of the Marriott chain of hotels, but is currently the Crowne Plaza Liverpool John Lennon Airport Hotel after a renovation in August 2008.[6] The former apron of the terminal is also listed and retained in its original condition, although it is no longer connected to the airport or subject to airside access control. It is the home of several aircraft, including BAe Jetstream 41 prototype G-JMAC and Bristol Britannia G-ANCF, preserved by the Speke Aerodrome heritage Group.[citation needed] The two art-deco-style hangars that flank the terminal and apron have also been converted for new uses: one is now a David Lloyd leisure centre, the other the headquarters of the Shop Direct Group, called Skyways House.[6][7][8][9]

In 1990 the airport was privatised, with British Aerospace taking a 76% shareholding in the new company. Subsequently the airport has become a wholly owned subsidiary of Peel Holdings Ltd. In 2000, work on a £42.5 million passenger terminal began, tripling its size and passenger capacity, completed in 2002. There have since been further extensions. The airport's strategy is to cater largely for 'low cost' operators, and consequently the layout of the terminal and gates requires passengers to walk unprotected from the weather to and from passenger aircraft. Destinations served are throughout Europe, the 2007 scheduled services to the United States and Canada having been withdrawn.

2001 saw the airport being renamed in honour of John Lennon, a founder member of The Beatles, 21 years after Lennon's death - the first airport in the UK to be named after an individual.[10] A 7 ft (2.1 m) tall bronze statue stands overlooking the check-in hall. Liverpool airport officials were inspired by the layout and name of John Wayne Airport which boasts a 7 ft tall bronze statue of actor John Wayne which stands overlooking the check-in hall. On the roof is painted the airport's motto, a line from Lennon's song "Imagine": "Above us, only sky".[11] In 2005 the Yellow Submarine, a large-scale work of art, was installed on a traffic island at the entrance to the airport. In 2005 a brand-new apron exclusively for EasyJet was constructed to the east of the terminal with six stands and a pier with six boarding gates.

In late 2006, now-defunct Flyglobespan began daily flights to Tenerife South Airport, the Canary Islands, Spain, and the airport's first long haul flights to John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport near Toronto, Canada, and John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. A long series of problems with the service led to it being abandoned the next year.

In September 2006 reconstruction started on the main runway and taxiways. This was the first time the runway had been reconstructed (as opposed to resurfaced) since it was opened in 1966. This work was completed in 2007.[12] In addition to runway and shoulder work was the upgrade of the 40-year-old airfield group lighting with a new system, intended to upgrade the runway to ILS Category III standards.[12]

In 2007 construction of a multi-level car park and a budget Hampton by Hilton Hotel started. The hotel opened in October 2009.[13] In June 2010 Vancouver Airport Services announced that it reached an agreement with The Peel Group to acquire 65% share in its airports, including Liverpool.[14] Airside improvements include additional retail units and a more advanced security area aiming at reducing waiting times, completed in autumn 2010.[15]

In March 2009, KLM started flying from the airport to Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, initially with three flights daily.[16] An extra daily flight started on 10 May 2010.[17] However just over three years after the service began, KLM cancelled it in March 2012 citing the global economic downturn.[18]

April 2014 saw Peel repurchase the 65% stake it had sold in the airport giving it 100% ownership once more.[19]

During 2014 German carrier Lufthansa has been in talks with the airport bosses about possible new routes for 2015-2016. Final plans have not been agreed but it is likely that Lufthansa may introduce flights to Frankfurt or Munich.

A master plan is in place to be completed by 2030 which plans for the airport to grow significantly. This includes new terminal buildings and the introduction of permanent long-haul services.[20]

Airport directors[edit]

Captain Harold James Andrews was appointed as the first Airport Manager in July 1932, and he was effectively the first full-time professional co-ordinator for the whole project. Jack Chadwick took over many of the management functions post-war until 1961. That year there was a traffic increase of 42%, attributed to the first airport marketing campaign initiated by the new Airport Director, Wing Commander H.W.G.Andrews.[21] In the late 1960s, Brian Trunkfield MBE was a much-respected Assistant Director, and Keith Porter took over as Airport Director in the days when The Beatles were regular passengers.[22] Chris Preece, a former executive of British Aerospace, was Airport Director during much of the British Aerospace years of ownership, replaced by Rod Rufus and then Rod Hill, who brought in Direct Holidays, part of the MyTravel Group on a commercial deal which was to prove the market for easyJet. Neil Pakey took over as Managing Director in 2002, taking the airport through its major passenger growth years and renaming of it to John Lennon Airport. On selling the airport to Vancouver Airport Services in 2010, the former Operations Director for Vancouver Airport, Craig Richmond, took over, and on 1 March 2013, Matthew Thomas, also from Vancouver Airport Services (by then renamed Vantage Airport Group), was appointed to the role.[23]

Airlines and destinations[edit]


Liverpool John Lennon Airport handles flights to and from a wide variety of destinations across Europe and North Africa.[24]

Airlines Destinations
Blue Air Bacău (begins 31 March 2015),[25] Bucharest
Czech Airlines Prague (begins 18 May 2015)[26]
easyJet Alicante, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Belfast-International, Berlin-Schönefeld, Faro, Fuerteventura, Geneva, Isle of Man, Jersey, Kraków, Lanzarote, Larnaca, Lisbon, Madrid, Málaga, Nice, Palma de Mallorca, Paris-Charles de Gaulle
Summer seasonal: Bodrum, Bordeaux, Mahón, Nantes, Naples, Newquay, Rhodes, Zakynthos (begins 23 April 2015)[27]
Winter seasonal: Grenoble, Innsbruck, Salzburg
Flybe Belfast-City, Isle of Man
Ryanair Alicante, Barcelona, Bratislava, Carcassonne, Cork, Derry, Dublin, Faro, Fuerteventura, Knock, Kraków, Lanzarote, Limoges, Málaga, Malta, Oslo-Torp, Poznań, Tenerife-South, Vilnius, Warsaw-Modlin, Wrocław
Summer seasonal: Bergerac, Gran Canaria, Ibiza, Kos, Nîmes, Palma de Mallorca, Pisa, Porto, Reus, Rhodes, Szczecin
Wizz Air Gdańsk, Riga (begins 24 April 2015),[28] Warsaw-Chopin


Airlines Destinations
Atlantic Airlines London-Luton


Passengers & Aircraft Movements[edit]

Number of passengers[2] % Change
Number of movements[2] % Change
1997 689,468 - 83,354 -
1998 873,172 Increase 26.6 86,871 Increase 4.2
1999 1,304,959 Increase 49.5 75,489 Decrease 13.1
2000 1,982,711 Increase 51.9 76,257 Increase 1.0
2001 2,253,398 Increase 13.7 74,659 Decrease 2.1
2002 2,835,871 Increase 25.8 74,313 Decrease 0.5
2003 3,177,009 Increase 12.0 84,405 Increase 13.6
2004 3,353,350 Increase 5.6 85,393 Increase 1.2
2005 4,411,243 Increase 31.5 92,970 Increase 8.9
2006 4,963,886 Increase 12.5 91,263 Decrease 1.8
2007 5,468,510 Increase 10.2 86,668 Decrease 5.0
2008 5,334,152 Decrease 2.5 84,890 Decrease 2.1
2009 4,884,494 Decrease 8.4 79,298 Decrease 6.6
2010 5,013,940 Increase 2.7 68,164 Decrease 14.0
2011 5,251,161 Increase 4.7 69,055 Increase 1.3
2012 4,463,257 Decrease 15.0 60,270 Decrease 12.7
2013 4,187,439 Decrease 6.2 55,839 Decrease 7.4
2014 3,986,654 Decrease 4.8 52,249 Decrease 6.4

Route statistics[edit]

20 Busiest routes to and from Liverpool Airport (2012)[2]
Rank Airport Passengers handled  % Change
1 United Kingdom Belfast-International 447,571 Increase6
2 Republic of Ireland Dublin 276,600 Decrease11
3 Netherlands Amsterdam 246,467 Decrease27
4 Spain Barcelona 231,143 Increase27
5 Spain Alicante 226,838 Decrease27
6 Spain Malaga 226,254 Decrease25
7 Spain Palma de Mallorca 183,403 Decrease8
8 Portugal Faro 179,606 Decrease20
9 Isle of Man Isle of Man 174,618 Increase5
10 Switzerland Geneva 134,763 Increase1
11 Poland Kraków 110,169 Decrease3
12 France Paris-Charles de Gaulle 95,767 Decrease5
13 Spain Madrid 94,497 Decrease23
14 United Kingdom Derry 93,796 Increase9
15 Germany Berlin-Schönefeld 92,150 Decrease23
16 France Nice 87,230 Increase10
17 Republic of Ireland Knock 82,963 Increase16
18 Jersey Jersey 78,457 Increase9
19 Spain Lanzarote 70,118 Decrease13
20 Republic of Ireland Cork 68,289 Decrease35

Transport links[edit]

Liverpool South Parkway railway station was built to improve links to the airport
Long distance trains from Liverpool South Parkway

Liverpool John Lennon Airport is within Merseytravel Area C, like the remainder of Liverpool, for local public transport tickets. Plusbus tickets are also available, although they cannot be used on the Arriva 500 express route to/from Liverpool City Centre.[29]


By road, the airport is accessible from the M53 and M56 motorways via the A533 / Runcorn Bridge to the south, and from the M57 and M62 motorways via the Knowsley Expressway to the north.


The nearest station is Hunts Cross at 2.2 miles away. However, Merseytravel chose to redevelop Garston and Allerton Stations combined as Liverpool South Parkway (2.9 miles distance) at cost of £32 million and 100% over budget. Regular bus services, 80A & 86A, operate between the Airport and the station, operated by Arriva. It has regular trains to many places throughout England, as at September 2012:

Train Operator From To Via (principal stations) Frequency (up to)
Merseyrail Southport Hunts Cross Bootle New Strand & Liverpool Central Every 15 mins
Northern Rail Liverpool Lime Street Manchester Oxford Road Widnes & Warrington Every 30 mins
Northern Rail Liverpool South Parkway Blackpool North Liverpool, Wigan, Preston Every 60 mins
First Transpennine Express Liverpool Lime Street Scarborough/Middlesbrough/Newcastle Warrington, Manchester, Leeds, Huddersfield & York (Darlington and Durham towards Newcastle) Every 60 mins
East Midlands Trains Liverpool Lime Street Norwich Warrington, Manchester, Sheffield, Nottingham, Peterborough & Ely Every 60 mins
London Midland Liverpool Lime Street Birmingham New Street Runcorn, Crewe, Stafford & Wolverhampton Every 30 mins

[30] [31]

Tickets can be purchased/collected from a Northern Rail self-service ticket machine on Level 1 of the Terminal Building, adjacent to the Information Desk. These tickets do not include the cost of the bus to Liverpool South Parkway railway station.[32] Pre-booked tickets cannot be collected at Liverpool South Parkway.

Bus & Coach[edit]

Regular bus services link the airport with surrounding urban areas. Frequent express services operate to Liverpool (bus) and Manchester (coach).

Route No. From To Via Frequency (up to) Company Notes
80A[33] Liverpool ONE Bus Station Airport Garston Every 20 mins Arriva/Stagecoach
81/81A/181[34] Bootle New Strand Airport Walton Every 20 mins Arriva/Stagecoach 181 Limited Service
82A[35] Liverpool ONE Bus Station Runcorn Liverpool JL Airport Every 30 mins Arriva
86A[36] Liverpool ONE Bus Station Airport Liverpool South Parkway Every 15 mins Arriva
89/89A[37] St Helens Bus Station Airport Huyton, Halewood Every 20 mins Arriva
Express 500[38] Liverpool City Centre Airport Albert Dock Every 30 mins Arriva/Stagecoach Only 1 late evening service towards Liverpool City Centre is operated by Stagecoach
Semi-Fast 500[39] Liverpool City Centre Airport Speke, Aigburth 1 service per day Stagecoach Only 1 late evening service towards Liverpool. More stopping places than the "Express" 500 service.
883[40] Huyton Airport Halewood Every 1 Hour HTL Buses
Coach [41] Manchester Shudehill Interchange Airport Manchester Sackville Street Every 1 Hour Terravision


There are shops and cafes both landside and airside within the passenger terminal, including a payable lounge and a Wetherspoon pub.


The Hampton by Hilton Liverpool John Lennon Airport

The original terminal building dating from the late 1930s, famously seen on early television footage with its terraces packed with Beatles fans, was left derelict for over a decade after being replaced in 1986. It was renovated and adapted to become a hotel, opened for business in 2001, preserving its Grade II listed Art Deco style. It was part of the Marriott chain of hotels, but is currently the Crowne Plaza Liverpool John Lennon Airport Hotel after a renovation in August 2008.[6]

The Hampton by Hilton Liverpool John Lennon Airport is one of three Hilton Worldwide hotels in Liverpool. It is situated directly opposite the main terminal building, and is the second largest hotel serving the complex after the Crowne Plaza.[42] The 160-room hotel is also home to a bar, fitness centre/health club, business centre and three conference rooms.[42] The hotel was constructed as part of a £37 million development by Peel Holdings at John Lennon Airport (which also included a multi-storey car park), the Hampton by Hilton is also the first hotel to be built actually attached to the airport's terminal building.[43]

Accidents and incidents[edit]

  • On 10 May 2001 Spanair Flight 3203 (McDonnell Douglas MD-83 EC-FXI) was substantially damaged when the starboard undercarriage collapsed on landing. All 51 people on board evacuated via the escape slides. It was repaired and returned to service.[46]

See also[edit]


  • Phil Butler Liverpool Airport - an Illustrated History. Tempus Publishing, Stroud, 2004. ISBN 0-7524-3168-4.
  • Gabi Dolff-Bonekämper: Berlin-Tempelhof in: Berlin-Tempelhof, Liverpool-Speke, Paris-Le Bourget. Années 30 Architecture des aéroports, Airport Architecture of the Thierties, Flughafenarchitektur der dreißiger Jahre. Éditions du patrimoine, Paris 2000, ISBN 2-85822-328-9, S. 32–61.
  • Bob Hawkins (ed.): Historic airports. Proceedings of the international "L'Europe de l'Air" conferences on Aviation Architecture Liverpool (1999), Berlin (2000), Paris (2001). English Heritage, London 2005, ISBN 1-873592-83-3.


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  2. ^ a b c d e "CAA: UK Annual Airport Statistics". UK Civil Aviation Authority. Retrieved 23 March 2015. 
  3. ^ "Shooting down of a Ju88 by No 312 Squadron". RAF Millom Aviation & Military Museum Group. Retrieved 21 January 2009. 
  4. ^ Taylor, Robert. "Fastest Victory". Retrieved 10 September 2008. 
  5. ^ "Liverpool John Lennon Airport History". Liverpool John Lennon Airport. 2004. Archived from the original on 11 March 2005. Retrieved 15 November 2005. 
  6. ^ a b c "Recent History and Current Developments". Friends of Liverpool Airport. 2011. Retrieved 12 November 2011. 
  7. ^ "Liverpool Marriott Hotel South". Marriott International Inc. Retrieved 15 November 2005. 
  8. ^ "The Jetstream Club". The Jetstream Club. Retrieved 9 September 2008. 
  9. ^ Roberts, Patricia (14 July 2005). "Home shopping jobs go west". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 9 September 2008. 
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  11. ^ Peter Adey, ""Above Us Only Sky": Themes, Simulations, and Liverpool John Lennon Airport," pp. 153-166 in The Themed Space: Locating Culture, Nation, and Self, ed. Scott A. Lukas (Lanham, MD, Lexington Books, 2007), ISBN 0-7391-2142-1
  12. ^ a b "Tarmac's John Lennon Airport resurfacing". Contract Journal. Retrieved 20 April 2012. 
  13. ^ "Liverpool John Lennon Airport Hampton by Hilton Hotel". Business Traveller. 2009. 
  14. ^ "Vancouver Airport Services Announces Agreement to Invest in Liverpool John Lennon Airport". Liverpool Airport. 2009. 
  15. ^ "Peel Airports considers partners at Liverpool John Lennon Airport". Liverpool Airport. 2009. 
  16. ^ "Media Enquiries - Liverpool John Lennon Airport". Retrieved 13 July 2014. 
  17. ^ "Fourth daily flight from Liverpool". 3 March 2010. Retrieved 13 July 2014. 
  18. ^ "BBC News - KLM scraps Liverpool John Lennon Airport services". 14 December 2011. Retrieved 13 July 2014. 
  19. ^
  20. ^ Master Plan
  21. ^ Butler, Phil (2008). Liverpool John Lennon Airport An Illustrated History. Tempus Publishing. pp. 21,74,124. ISBN 978 0 7524 4511 3. 
  22. ^ "Liverpool Parks Police Report - The Airport Constabulary". FOLA-Friends of Liverpool Airport. Retrieved 29 January 2013. 
  23. ^ "John Lennon Airport Appoint new Chief Executive". Liverpool Daily Post. 16 January 2013. Retrieved 29 January 2013. 
  24. ^ Liverpool John Lennon Airport Destination Map
  25. ^
  26. ^
  27. ^
  29. ^ "PLUSBUS | Liverpool PLUSBUS". Retrieved 13 July 2014. 
  30. ^ Google Maps
  31. ^ Neild, Larry (30 March 2006). "Cost of Liverpool rail hub doubles to £32m". Liverpool Daily Post.
  32. ^ "Getting To and From Liverpool John Lennon Airport by Train". Retrieved 13 July 2014. 
  33. ^ [1][dead link]
  34. ^ [2][dead link]
  35. ^ [3][dead link]
  36. ^ [4][dead link]
  37. ^
  38. ^ [5][dead link]
  39. ^ [6][dead link]
  40. ^ [7][dead link]
  41. ^
  42. ^ a b "Hampton by Hilton Liverpool/John Lennon Airport". Hampton Inn. Retrieved 8 June 2010. 
  43. ^ "Hilton to open Liverpool's first on-airport hotel". Business Traveller. Retrieved 8 June 2010. 
  44. ^ "Accident description". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 7 October 2009. 
  45. ^ "Report on the accident to Cessna Citation I, registration G-UESS at Stornoway Airport on 8 December 1983". Air Accidents Investigation Branch. Retrieved 25 April 2010. 
  46. ^ "EC-FXI Accident description". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 11 September 2011. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Liverpool John Lennon Airport at Wikimedia Commons