||It has been suggested that RAF Pembrey be merged into this article. (Discuss) Proposed since April 2014.|
|Pembrey West Wales International Airport
Maes Awyr Pen-Bre
|IATA: none – ICAO: EGFP|
|Owner||Captain Winston M Thomas|
|Serves||Llanelli, South/West/Mid/North Wales|
|Location||Pembrey, Carmarthenshire, Wales|
|Elevation AMSL||15 ft / 5 m|
|Sources: UK AIP at NATS|
Pembrey West Wales International Airport (ICAO: EGFP) is located 6 NM (11 km; 6.9 mi) west northwest of Llanelli (9 NM (17 km; 10 mi) south of Carmarthen) in Pembrey, Carmarthenshire, in Wales. Pembrey has one Hard Runway designated as 22LH/C and 04RH/C.
Pembrey is a small airport situated inside the Royal Air Force danger area D118 known as Pembrey Sands Air Weapons Range. Pembrey is open seven days a week but only licensed at weekends unless a prior booking is made, due to an LOA with the MoD to operate civil and commercial flights during operational hours as long as any visiting aircraft obtain the required PPR from the RAF.
The airport is not published for night use but regularly used after dark by military traffic requiring refueling. The airport has a CAA Ordinary Licence (Number P836) that allows flights for the public transport of passengers or for flying instruction as authorised by the licensee (Pembrey West Wales Airport Limited). APAPI Lighting exists on both ends of the runway although 04's are currently unserviceable. Pembrey West Wales Airport supplies AVTUR and sometimes AVGAS .
Construction of the airfield for RAF Flying Training Command started in 1937 and by September 1939, the RAF's No. 2 Air Armament School was the first unit to be stationed at the airfield.
By May 1940, the three tarmac runways were completed and the airfield transferred initially to 11 Group RAF Fighter Command and then to the newly formed 10 Group RAF Fighter Command. Spitfires of 92 Squadron used Pembrey as their base from 18 June 1940. A number of fighter squadrons caught up in Britain's "finest hour" were rotated through the airfield. During this period Pembrey gained honours as a Battle of Britain Airfield. Pembrey became a Sector Station within 10 Group, relinquishing this role in October 1941 to RAF Fairwood Common after it had returned to RAF Flying Training Command a few months earlier.
It is believed that 25 official kills were accredited to aircraft flown out of Pembrey during the war years.
Between 1941 and 1945 Pembrey was host to the RAF's Air Gunnery School, after which its activities relaxed a little and it became an air crew holding unit for war weary crews being demobbed.
In 1946 RAF Fighter Command once again took over as custodians of the airfield with aircraft staying to 1949. Work was then put in hand to lengthen Runway 04/22 to take jet aircraft. From 1949 to 1952 21 Wing RAF Regiment (comprising 15 and 63 Squadrons RAF Regiment) were based at Pembrey. With Runway 04/22 extended to nearly 6000 feet, 233 OCU moved in on 1 September 1952, initially with D.H Vampire aircraft and then with Hawker Hunter aircraft. The unit stayed until 13 July 1957. The airfield closed in September 1957.
Pembrey has been host to many Squadrons and aircraft types. The following were the main Squadrons stationed at Pembrey during its active history. Although not an extensive list, it gives an insight into the character of Pembrey during its service history:
- Nos 595/5, 92, 118. (Spitfires)
- Nos 32, 79, 316 - formed at Pembrey. (Hurricanes)
- Nos 238, 248. (Beaufighters)
- Nos 256, 307. (Bolton Paul Defiants)
- No. 233 OCU (Vampires, Tempest, Mosquito, Meteors and Hunters)
One noteworthy wartime incident was the story of Oberleutnant Armin Faber, Adjutant of III fighter Gruppe of JG2 who, on 23 June 1942 had been engaged by Spitfires of 19 Squadron and the Czech Wing over south Devon, England. Being forced north beyond Exeter, Faber mistook the Bristol Channel for the English Channel. Being short on fuel, he landed at Pembrey believing it to be a Luftwaffe airfield in Brittany, France. The Pembrey Duty Pilot grabbed a Very pistol and ran from the control tower and jumped onto the wing of Faber's aircraft as it taxied in. Faber was taken to RAF Fairwood Common by Group Captain David Atcherley for interrogation. He became a POW in Canada and was repatriated to Germany in exchange for wounded allied POW's. It is thought that he then fought on the eastern front.
Ironically, Faber was piloting the latest enemy fighter, the Focke-Wulf 190A-3, a type the RAF had only ever seen flying over France. The depths of Faber's despair at providing his enemy with an intact FW190 can be gauged by the fact that he subsequently attempted to commit suicide.
As news broke of his landing in Pembrey, Fighter Command despatched pilots to photograph and return the aircraft to the Royal Aircraft Establishment at Farnborough. The RAF finally had an FW 190 to compare with its V.S Spitfire IX and Hawker Typhoon Ia aircraft.
Post 1958 part of former RAF Pembrey airfield was turned over to agriculture, part was used as a motor racing circuit leaving only a small length of unused runway and taxiways. On Thursday 22 August 1997 Pembrey was officially opened as a civil airfield and named Pembrey Airport using a single runway (04/22) with a declared length of 805 metres.
There were plans (2010) to lengthen the runway and lighting arrays to allow larger commercial aircraft to land.
Airlines and destinations
|Isles of Scilly Skybus||Chartered: UK and Europe|
|PremiAir Aviation||Chartered: UK and Europe|
|Oasis Flight||Chartered: UK and Europe|
|VLL Helicopters||Executive chartered: UK and Europe|
Pembrey Airport is also the base hub for South Western Airways.
Other airlines that have operated at Pembrey:
- Air Wales
- Air Independence
- Air Winton (UK)