|Aberdeen International Airport
Port-adhair Obar Dheathain
|IATA: ABZ – ICAO: EGPD|
|Operator||Aberdeen International Airport Limited|
|Serves||Aberdeen, United Kingdom|
|Elevation AMSL||215 ft / 66 m|
Aberdeen International Airport (Scottish Gaelic: Port-adhair Eadar-nàiseanta Obar Dheathain) (IATA: ABZ, ICAO: EGPD) is an international airport, located at Dyce, a suburb of Aberdeen, Scotland, approximately 5 nautical miles (9.3 km; 5.8 mi) northwest of Aberdeen city centre. A total of nearly 3.5 million passengers used the airport in 2015, a fall of 6.8% compared with 2014.
The airport is owned and operated by AGS Airports which also owns and operates Glasgow and Southampton Airports. It was previously owned and operated by Heathrow Airport Holdings (formerly known as BAA).
Aberdeen Airport is a base for BMI Regional, Eastern Airways and Flybe. The airport also serves as the main heliport for the Scottish offshore oil industry. With the utilisation of newer aircraft, helicopters can reach northern most platforms on both the East and west of Shetland areas. However, helicopters frequently use Wick, Kirkwall, Scatsta and Sumburgh for refuelling stops.
The airport has one main passenger terminal, serving scheduled and charter holiday flights. In addition, there are four terminals dedicated to North Sea helicopter operations, used by Bristow Helicopters, CHC-Scotia, NHV Helicopters and Bond Offshore Helicopters. There is also a small terminal adjacent to the main passenger terminal, Broomfield House, used primarily for oil company charter flights to Scatsta in Shetland, operated by Eastern Airways.
The airport opened in 1934, established by Eric Gandar Dower, intended to link the northern islands of Scotland with London.
During Second World War the airfield became a Royal Air Force station – RAF Dyce. It was the site of the Dyce Sector Operations Room within No. 13 Group RAF. Although fighters were there throughout the Battle of Britain to provide protection from German bombing raids from Occupied Norway, it was mainly used as a photographic reconnaissance station. Anti-shipping operations by Coastal Command were carried out from RAF Dyce as well as convoy escort. The airfield was bombed by the Luftwaffe on 26 July 1940 and 27 August 1940, no damage was reported. A decoy site ('Q' Site) was located at Harestone Moss near Whitecairns. The aim of this site was to create the impression of an active airfield during the night. The decoy worked on around four occasions, where several raids resulted in bombs being dropped on the decoy site. The decoy site had a small underground bunker that housed a generator. This was used to power a decoy 'flarepath' in addition to a rotating lamp to give the impression of a taxiing aircraft. Near the airport off the A96, to deter German gliders landing to attack RAF Dyce during WW2, the flat areas across from Concraig Farm (between Blackurn and Kintore) had wooden poles erected as anti-glider landing poles. A Spitfire IIa crashed at the east side of the airfield on 19 November 1941 during attack practice with a target glider being towed. F/O Zaoral is buried in the old Dyce graveyard, where some German aircrew are also buried that crashed in Aberdeen in 1940.
A significant wartime event occurred in May 1943 when a German, Junkers Ju 88 fighter-bomber landed here; it was flown to Scotland by its crew, who wanted to defect to the Allied side. The surrender of this aircraft was of great intelligence value at the time, as it was fitted with the latest FuG 202 Liechtenstein BC A.I radar. The aircraft survives and is displayed in the RAF Museum in London.
On 17 August 1943, a Mosquito crashed following a stall in the circuit, crashing onto 5 John Street in Dyce village; another Mosquito on 10 April 1944 crashed on approach to the airfield. On 26 December 1944, A Messerschmitt BF109G signalling intentions to surrender crash landed at the airfield. On 16 May 1945, two pilots were killed when a Wellington bomber crashed on landing wrecking a goods train in Dyce Station. During air raids in the Second World War, aircraft were moved to East Fingask beside Oldmeldrum. One RAF building still remains at East Fingask, where aircrews waiting for the "All Clear" before returning to Dyce airfield.
The following units have been based at Aberdeen Airport:
- No. 1 Coastal Patrol Flight RAF
- No. 2 Radio Servicing Section RAF
- No. 4 Fighter Command Servicing Unit RAF
- No. 5 Gliding School RAF
- No. 7 Maintenance Unit RAF
- No. 8 (Coastal) Operational Training Unit RAF
- No. 9 Blind Approach Training Flight RAF
- No. 662 Gliding School RAF
- No. 663 Gliding School RAF
- No. 1509 (Beam Approach Training) Flight RAF
- No. 2737 Squadron RAF Regiment
- No. 2784 Squadron RAF Regiment
- Aberdeen University Air Squadron
Virtually nothing remains from the war era at the airport due to expansion and development of the industrial estates around it. The original airport terminal was located at the East Side where the Bond Offshore helicopters terminal 2 is located, a new terminal was built along with a new control tower to handle the increase in air traffic. The airport was nationalised in 1947 and was transferred to the control of the British Airports Authority (BAA) in 1975. From 1967 and 1970 there were regular flights to Moscow and Toronto; these were later stopped due to cost related problems.
With the discovery of North Sea oil, helicopter operations began in 1967, linking the growing number of oil rigs to the mainland. As Aberdeen became the largest oil-related centre in Europe, the airport became the world's largest commercial heliport. Today, Aberdeen Airport handles more than 37,000 rotary wing movements carrying around 468,000 passengers annually. Helicopters account for almost half of all aircraft movements at the airport.
Development since the 2000s
Until March 2005, aircraft were not allowed to take-off or land between 22:30 and 06:00 local time due to noise constraints. The city council overturned this ban, however, despite some Dyce residents' objections, and the airport is now open 24 hours a day to fixed-wing aircraft with a quota count of QC4 or below, and the overnight restrictions still apply to helicopters.
General aviation flight training for private pilots licences takes place from the East Side of the airport by Cabro Aviation and located in Signature Flight Support. Signature Flight Support also manages the VIP flights and corporate jets that park on the Eastside Apron. The air ambulance (fixed wing) is positioned on the eastside apron in a dedicated hangar, Gama Aviation operates King-Air aircraft from Aberdeen.
Aberdeen, being a major city in the Oil industry has a number of oil company charter flights, these have included flights to South America and also Korea (via Abu Dhabi). Flights from the USA are regular visitors and a military flight from Afghanistan has also landed.
In October 2014, Heathrow Airport Holdings reached an agreement to sell the airport, together with Southampton and Glasgow, to a consortium of Ferrovial and Macquarie Group for £1 billion. The airport handles around 500,000 passengers per year by helicopter for the North Sea oil fields. making it the world's busiest heliport.
BAA expects to spend £60million on extending the runway farther still to allow bigger, more modern aircraft to fly from Aberdeen to destinations across the Mediterranean, North Africa and North America, as well as building a bigger, better-equipped terminal and new parking stands for aircraft. During the construction phase of the runway extension and taxiway, the airport's military past has been revealed. To date two pieces of WW2 ordnance have been unearthed. The reason for this is the taxiway extension route runs straight through the old bomb dump.
BAA predicts passenger numbers at Aberdeen will rise to 5.9 million by 2030, and says the expansion will create more than 1,200 jobs at the airport and many more across Scotland.
Refurbishment work will see the installation of a segregated walkway for passengers, as well significant enhancements to the international arrivals hall and improvements to jet parking stands.
The first phase of the work will be completed early next year[when?], with all upgrades conforming to UK Visas and Immigration requirements. Phases two and three will then involve additions to the international arrivals hall, centring on improving its passport control and baggage reclaim facilities as well as increasing floor space. A separate £2 million project to transform the terminal forecourt at Aberdeen Airport got underway in July 2008 and was completed that autumn.
The former Airport social club building has been renovated by Bond Offshore helicopters and this will be for future passenger use.
Airlines and destinations
|Ben Air||Kirkwall, Sumburgh|
|Loganair||East Midlands, Edinburgh|
|West Atlantic||East Midlands|
|Rank||Airport||Passengers handled||% Change 2013|
|1||London Heathrow Airport||776,880||9.1%|
|3||London Gatwick Airport||161,816||6.6%|
|6||London Luton Airport||74,553||9.9%|
|7||London City Airport||63,163||13.6%|
|8||Norwich International Airport||60,162||5.8%|
|10||Belfast City Airport||37,450||24.0%|
|Rank||Airport||Passengers handled||% Change 2013|
|1||Amsterdam Schiphol Airport||307,131||5.4%|
|4||Paris-Charles de Gaulle||110,541||3.4%|
|8||Tenerife South Airport||32,639||19.4%|
|9||Oslo Gardermoen Airport||30,795||1,266.2%|
There are Jurys Inn, Premier Inn, Courtyard by Marriott, Holiday Inn Express and Crowne Plaza hotels on the airport site, as well as a Speedbird Inn. On January 10, 2013 it was also announced that Accor Group will be bringing two new hotels to the airport, a 194-bedroom Novotel hotel and the other a 112-bedroom Ibis hotel. At least one more hotel is planned for the adjacent Aberdeen International Business Park starting in 2016.
For Flight Training, Eurocopter and Bristow Helicopters both have helicopter flight Simulators in buildings at the airport. Cabro Aviation previously operated GA flight training at the Eastside of Aberdeen Airport.
Incidents and accidents
- On 3 March 2009, seven protesters from Plane Stupid occupied a taxiway at Aberdeen Airport, barricading themselves within a makeshift wire enclosure while two further protesters occupied the roof of the main terminal building. Their actions were in protest at the proposed extension to the airport runway, and Donald Trump's plan to create a golf resort in the area. After a number of hours, the group eventually ended their protest, and were arrested by police.
- On 22 June 2006, a City Star Airlines Dornier 328 (TF-CSB) operating a passenger flight from Stavanger, Norway, overshot the end of the airport's runway by several hundred yards as it came in to land. None of the 16 passengers and 3 crew members on board were injured.
- On 24 December 2002 a Swearingen Metroliner III (OY-BPH) of Danish operator North Flying crashed after take off from Aberdeen on a positioning flight to Aalborg in Denmark. Immediately after take-off the aircraft was suspected to have suffered a major power loss in its right engine and crashed into a field just to the south of the airport. It slid along the field and through a fence onto Dyce Drive, a main road into the airport, where it hit a moving car and then came to rest. The two crew and driver of the car survived the accident, with only one crewmember sustaining minor injuries.
- On 4 July 1983, Bristow Helicopters AS332L Super Puma (G-TIGD) crashed on landing at Aberdeen. During the approach to Aberdeen from the North Hutton platform, a loud bang was heard, followed by severe vibration. A PAN call was made to ATC by the crew. Shortly before landing control was lost and the helicopter struck the runway heavily on its side. 10 of 16 passengers received serious injuries. A tail boom panel had become detached in flight and damaged all five tail rotor blades. The resulting imbalance to the tail rotor assembly led to the separation of this unit and subsequent loss.
- On 22 May 1978, a British European Airways Trident Aircraft overshot the runway ending up 200 ft into the grass at the Northern end of runway 34 (35 at the time) due to wet weather. All 120 passengers survived with no injuries.
The airport is linked to nearby Dyce railway station by the 80 Dyce Airlink shuttle bus which runs between the station, airport, heliport and Kirkhill industrial estate every 20 minutes between 06:45 and 19:00. Journey time between the airport and station is 15 minutes.
Additionally many more trains from the south have now been extended to stop at Dyce, giving the station direct links to Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow and intermediate stations, as well as stations northwards on the line to Inverness.
Aberdeen Airport is served by local and express bus services operated by First Aberdeen and Stagecoach East Scotland. There is a dedicated No.727 bus service up to every 10 minutes to the main bus and rail station in central Aberdeen. Chartered buses can also be booked with local operators.
- "Aberdeen/Dyce – EGPD". Retrieved 8 September 2014.
- "Aircraft and passenger traffic data from UK airports". UK Civil Aviation Authority. 25 March 2016. Retrieved 3 April 2016.
- "Who we are". Heathrow Airport Holdings. 2013. Retrieved 28 January 2013.
- Individual history: Junkers Ju88 R-1 W/Nr.360043/PJ876/8475M Museum Accession Number 78/AF/953 (PDF), RAF Museum, archived from the original (pdf) on 13 May 2012, retrieved 14 February 2010
- "Dyce (Aberdeen)". Airfields of Britain Conservation Trust. Retrieved 10 February 2016.
- "Airport given overnight approval". BBC News. 2 March 2005. Retrieved 28 March 2012.
- "Aberdeen Airport runway extension opening". Aberdeen Airport. 6 October 2011. Retrieved 28 March 2011.
- "Airport rebranded 'Aberdeen International'". BBC News. 8 January 2012.
- "Aberdeen, Glasgow and Southampton airports sold in £1bn deal". BBC News. 16 October 2014. Retrieved 20 October 2014.
- Swartz, Kenneth I. (16 April 2015). "Setting the Standard". Vertical Magazine. Archived from the original on 18 April 2015. Retrieved 18 April 2015.
- "Air traffic timelapse: untangling Britain's plane-filled skies" The Telegraph 1 July 2015
- "BAA wants a 'truly international gateway'".
- "General Conditions of Carriage." British Midland. Retrieved 28 December 2011. "British Midland Regional Ltd Registered Office Aberdeen Airport East Wellheads Drive Dyce Aberdeen AB21 7EU"
-  TF-CSB AAIB Report
-  OY-BPH AAIB Report
- Stagecoach Bus
Media related to Aberdeen Airport at Wikimedia Commons
- Official website
- Photo of eastside terminal 1970s
- Photo of old control tower and RAF buildings 1970s
- Photo of airport 1980s with new terminal and control tower
- RAF Dyce decoy airfield at Harestone Moss with Bunker, bomb craters and flarepath direction shown
- Current weather for EGPD at NOAA/NWS
- Accident history for ABZ at Aviation Safety Network