Barrow/Walney Island Airport
|Barrow/Walney Island Airport|
|IATA: BWF – ICAO: EGNL|
|Operator||BAE Systems Marine Ltd - Submarine Solutions|
|Location||Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, England, United Kingdom|
|Elevation AMSL||44 ft / 13 m|
Barrow/Walney Island Airport (IATA: BWF, ICAO: EGNL) (formerly RAF Walney Island) is located on Walney Island, 1.5 NM (2.8 km; 1.7 mi) northwest of the centre of Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, England. The airport is owned by BAE Systems, who operate private communication flights to various locations across the United Kingdom. The Lakes Gliding Club also operates out of the airport when flying conditions are favourable.
Barrow/Walney Island Airport was opened during World War II, though the site had been used as an airship station since World War I. Three runways were constructed, laid out in a triangular arrangement, for use by the based Royal Air Force flying units. The airfield was left disused after WWII, and was sold on in 1959 to Vickers, the company that owned Barrow shipyard at the time. Commercial flights operated from the airport in the late 20th century, however ceased in 1992.
During the early 20th century at a site 1 mile south west of Barrow/Walney Island Airport was the site of one of the UK's most important airship production facilities. For a brief period, the industry was equally as vital for the local economy as Barrow's booming ship building industry. Between 1910 and 1920, such airships as No. 9r, R80, and the SS class blimp were constructed by Vickers, Sons and Maxim for the British Royal Navy at Walney - having originally relocated from alongside Cavendish Dock in Barrow.
Commercial flights used the airport during the 1980s and 1990s. Air Ecosse flew to Edinburgh, Carlisle and Liverpool from 1982 until 1983 using Twin Otter aircraft. Air Furness commenced scheduled passenger flights from the airport in 1984, flying predominantly to Manchester. The flights were designed to connect with international services from Manchester and were operated up to four times daily using Islander aircraft. Air Furness ceased operations in 1988. Despite a final attempt to run scheduled services from the airport in 1991-1992 by Telair, the airport is again currently used only for private flights.
Future expansion plans
In 2004 a study into the airport revealed that a £1 million upgrade would attract thousands of business passengers a year flying to London and Europe. The study found that the business demand from South Cumbria would be equal to 4,500 journeys in a year, reaching 7,900 by 2020. These are still only plans to convert Barrow/Walney Island Airport into an International Airport, but already the number of aircraft using the airfield has increased with the completion of a recent upgrade programme. This work includes Instrument Landing System (ILS) installation for runway 35, resurfacing of runway 17/35, re-lighting of runway 17/35, security fencing around the entire airfield and various other general improvements (new signage etc.).
In 2005, an airshow was held at the site. Following its success a second was planned for 2007 but was later cancelled.
BAE Systems operates flights to various UK destinations during the week, using three Beechcraft King Air B200 aircraft. This includes a 2 times-a-day shuttle to Farnborough and a 3 times-a-day shuttle to Bristol. However many other non-scheduled aircraft have used and continue to use the airport. The Lakes Gliding Club operate at weekends when the weather conditions are favourable and various light aircraft often fly throughout the week.
Airlines and destinations
Below are the destinations flown to by the BAE corporate shuttle.
|BAE||Bristol, Farnborough, Glasgow International, RAF Northolt, Southampton, Wick|
Accidents and incidents
- On 26 November 1976, a Piper PA-31 Navajo originating from Edinburgh Airport was making its final approach to Runway 30 of Barrow/Walney Island Airport. Due to adverse weather conditions and a poorly lit runway the plane slammed into an embankment alongside the Walney Channel killing the pilot and seriously injuring two passengers.