RAF Station Fairwood Common was built on what was originally common land during World War II. The aerodrome was declared operational on 15 June 1941 after taking nearly a year to develop. Built as a day and night fighter station elements of the first day fighter squadron arrived on 14 June 1941 (79 Squadron equipped with Hawker Hurricane Mk.II aircraft). On 17 June 1941 the first night fighter squadron arrived (a flight of 600 Squadron equipped with Bristol Beaufighter Mk.II aircraft) and by the end of June 1941 a second Hurricane equipped day fighter squadron arrived (317 Squadron). The aerodrome became a 10 Group RAF Fighter Command Sector Station within a few months of opening, taking on the responsibility of the air defence for the whole of South and West Wales and the protection of convoys in the Bristol and St George's Channels.
The aerodrome fulfilled a variety of military roles during World War II, following which it was decommissioned by the RAF in 1949. During the period 15 June 1941 to 31 March 1947 over 66 squadrons/flights operated from the aerodrome.
Renamed Fairwood Common, the aerodrome became the home of Swansea and District Flying Club and School and they hosted a number of air shows, air races and motor sports events from 1950 to 1955. In 1957 the County Borough of Swansea took over the aerodrome and on 1 June 1957 Swansea Airport was officially opened by Group Captain Douglas R S Bader, CBE, DSO and Bar, DFC and Bar. The airport was developed for commercial usage by Cambrian Airways Ltd on behalf of the local council.