Exeter Airport

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Exeter Airport
AP Exeter 0730.jpg
Airport typePublic
OperatorRegional & City Airports
ServesExeter, Devon
LocationEast Devon
Elevation AMSL102 ft / 31 m
Coordinates50°44′04″N 003°24′50″W / 50.73444°N 3.41389°W / 50.73444; -3.41389Coordinates: 50°44′04″N 003°24′50″W / 50.73444°N 3.41389°W / 50.73444; -3.41389
EGTE is located in Devon
Location in Devon
Direction Length Surface
m ft
08/26 2,076 6,811 Asphalt
Statistics (2017)
Passenger change 16-17Increase7.2%

Exeter Airport (IATA: EXT, ICAO: EGTE), formerly Exeter International Airport, is an airport located at Clyst Honiton in the District of East Devon close to the city of Exeter and within the county of Devon, South West England. In 2007 the airport handled over 1 million passengers for the first time, although passenger throughput subsequently declined. In 2016 it handled 847,257 passengers, a 3.1% increase compared with 2015.[1] Exeter has a CAA Public Use Aerodrome Licence (Number P759) that allows flights for the public transport of passengers or for flying instruction. The airport offers both scheduled and holiday charter flights within the United Kingdom and Europe.


Exeter Airport is located 4 miles (6.4 km) east of the city of Exeter and is approximately 170 miles (270 km) west south west of London. To the south, it is connected by the A30 dual carriageway which can be accessed from the east and the M5 in the west, just 1.5 miles (2.4 km) away. The M5 enables good links with Bristol and the Midlands. There is no railway station at the airport, and the closest station is Cranbrook (Devon) railway station which is 2.2 miles away by road (1.5 miles as the crow flies). Exeter St Davids railway station has a bus link and is therefore easier for passengers using the airport.


Exeter Airport was opened on 31 May 1937 and operated from a "tented" terminal before the permanent buildings were complete. Jersey Airways immediately inaugurated a summer service of eight flights per week from Jersey in de Havilland DH.84 Dragons. Railway Air Services ran connecting flights on to Plymouth and Bristol.

Wartime use[edit]

Aerial photograph of RAF Exeter, 20 March 1944.

In World War II RAF Exeter was an important RAF Fighter Command airfield during the Battle of Britain. RAF Exeter was used by the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) Ninth Air Force as a D-Day troop transport base with Douglas C-47 Skytrain transports dropping paratroops near Carentan to land on the Normandy Beachhead. It was known as USAAF Station AAF-463.

Battle of Britain[edit]

RAF Exeter was home to the following Squadrons of No 10 Group during the Battle of Britain:

  • No 213 Squadron from 18 June 1940
  • No 87 Squadron from 5 July 1940
  • No 601 Squadron from 7 September 1940

Despite efforts at camouflage, including painting the runways, Exeter attracted the Luftwaffe and administrative and technical buildings were destroyed.[2]

USAAF use[edit]

Exeter met the requirement of basing USAAF troop carrier groups close to where units of the 101st Airborne Division were located and within reasonable range of the expected area of operations.

440th Troop Carrier Group[edit]
5 June 1944 photograph of C-47s of the 95th and 98th Troop Carrier Squadrons at RAF Exeter with freshly applied black/white invasion stripes to aid in aircraft identification from the ground. There was insufficient space to park all the aircraft on the concrete, so many were parked on grass turf.

The 440th Troop Carrier Group arrived on 15 April 1944 with over 70 C-47/C-53 Skytrain aircraft. There was insufficient hardstandings to accommodate all the aircraft so many had to be parked on the turf, some areas being supported by tarmac. The 440th was a group of Ninth Air Force's 50th Troop Carrier Wing, IX Troop Carrier Command. The 98th TCS remained at Exeter until 7 August when it began operating from RAF Ramsbury. On 11 September the headquarters of the 440th TCG was established at the group's new base at Reims, France (ALG A-62D), and the last of the air echelon left Exeter two days later.

Postwar use[edit]

Walruses of an RAF air-sea rescue flight were the next tenants and these were joined by a glider training unit early in 1945. Post-war, Exeter was reclaimed by Fighter Command and a French Supermarine Spitfire squadron, No. 329, which came and stayed until November 1945. Meteors and Mosquitos made a brief appearance the following spring. No. 691 Squadron's target-towing Vultee A-31 Vengeances, which had been present for more than a year, proved to be the last RAF flying unit of the Second World War period based at Exeter. When No. 691 Squadron departed in the summer of 1946, the station was made available for civil use, being officially transferred to the Ministry of Civil Aviation on 1 January 1947 although there was still some reserve RAF activity until the 1950s.

Scheduled services to the Channel Islands began in 1952 and charter flights to various locations followed. A new terminal building was opened in the early 1980s and various other improvements, including a runway extension, were carried out over following years to establish Exeter as an important airport in the West Country. Exeter was a joint RAF/Civil airfield in the 1960s.

On 5 January 2007 a majority share of the airport was sold by Devon County Council to Regional and City Airports Ltd, a consortium led by construction firm Balfour Beatty. On 26 June 2013 the airport was bought by the Patriot Aerospace division of Rigby Group, which also owns Coventry Airport.[3]

In August 2016, Exeter Airport recorded their highest passenger throughput in a single month since September 2008, with 100,374 passengers passing through the terminal. New services to Glasgow and the first route to be supported by the new Government Regional Air Connectivety fund to Norwich, contributed to a 19% increase in passenger numbers during the month of August.[4]

Airlines and destinations[edit]


Flybe Alicante, Amsterdam, Belfast-City, Dublin, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Guernsey, Jersey, London-City, Málaga, Manchester, Newcastle upon Tyne, Norwich, Paris-Charles de Gaulle
Seasonal: Bergerac, Chambéry, Faro, Geneva, Palma de Mallorca, Rennes
Freebird Airlines Seasonal: Dalaman[5][6]
Isles of Scilly Skybus Seasonal: Isles of Scilly
Ryanair Seasonal: Málaga (begins 3 April 2019),[7] Malta (begins 2 April 2019),[7] Naples (begins 3 April 2019)[7]
TUI Airways Lanzarote, Tenerife-South
Seasonal: Antalya (begins 23 May 2019),[8] Corfu, Faro, Gran Canaria, Heraklion (begins 7 May 2019),[8] Hurghada (begins 6 November 2019),[8] Ibiza, Larnaca, Menorca, Palma de Mallorca, Paphos, Rhodes, Zakynthos (begins 6 May 2019)[8]
Seasonal charter: Chambéry[9]


Royal Mail East Midlands

Other users[edit]

  • Flybe headquarters and primary maintenance facilities for inhouse and third party customers are housed at Exeter, with maintenance bays for up to 8 aircraft simultaneously.
  • Capital Air Ambulance, the UK's largest air ambulance operator, [10] is based at Exeter, with a secondary base at Birmingham. Capital Air Ambulance provides a rapid response to requests for medical assistance and repatriation flights 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. The Company operates a fleet of Beechcraft 200 Super King Air and Learjet 45. The Company has a Worldwide Air Operator's Certificate, which means much longer range flights are regularly undertaken. Some occasional private passenger charter work is still carried out when required.
  • There are two flight training organisations based at the airport: Aviation South West and Airways Flight Training. These two FTO offer a range of training from the Privates Pilot Licence to the Commercial Pilots Licence and Instrument Rating.


Jack Walker House, Flybe head office at Exeter Airport
Aerial view

The 25 busiest routes by air passenger numbers are listed below.

Busiest routes to or from Exeter (2017)[12]
Rank Airport Total
2016 / 17
1 United Kingdom Manchester 130,428 Increase 15%
2 Spain Palma 56,972 Increase 9%
3 United Kingdom Edinburgh 47,587 Increase 5%
4 Netherlands Amsterdam 44,752 Increase 2%
5 France Paris-CDG 42,943 Increase 6%
6 United Kingdom Newcastle 42,731 Increase 8%
7 Jersey Jersey 42,709 Increase 3%
8 Spain Tenerife 38,881 Increase 2%
9 United Kingdom Glasgow 38,773 Increase 18%
10 Republic of Ireland Dublin 38,041 Increase 7%
11 Spain Arrecife 37,069 Increase 37%
12 United Kingdom Belfast 36,249 Increase 11%
13 Spain Alicante 34,768 Increase 26%
14 Spain Malaga 34,173 Increase 25%
15 United Kingdom London City 33,616 Decrease 12%
16 Guernsey Guernsey 31,316 Increase 6%
17 United Kingdom Norwich 27,309 Increase 22%
18 Portugal Faro 22,856 Increase 11%
19 Spain Las Palmas 18,268 Increase 1%
20 Spain Mahon 17,044 Increase 1%
21 United Kingdom Isles of Scilly 13,759 Decrease 9%
22 Cyprus Paphos 12,371 Decrease 11%
23 Cyprus Larnaca 10,608 Increase 13%
24 Greece Corfu 8,935 Decrease 2%
25 Spain Ibiza 8,770 Decrease 1%

See also[edit]


 This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency website http://www.afhra.af.mil/.

  1. ^ "Aircraft and passenger traffic data from UK airports". UK Civil Aviation Authority. 3 March 2017. Retrieved 15 March 2017.
  2. ^ "RAF Exeter". South West Airfields Heritage Trust. Retrieved 5 July 2016.
  3. ^ "Exeter International Airport sold to Rigby Group PLC". BBC News. 27 June 2013. Retrieved 27 June 2013.
  4. ^ "Best month for passenger numbers in 8 years". Exeter Airport. 31 October 2016. Retrieved 31 October 2016.
  5. ^ "Book Flights to Dalaman from Exeter Airport".
  6. ^ "Flight Timetable - TUI Airways". www.tui.co.uk.
  7. ^ a b c "Budget airline Ryanair to launch flights from Exeter Airport". devonlive.com.
  8. ^ a b c d {{Cite web|url=https://www.tui.co.uk/flight/timetable%7Ctitle=Flight Timetable|website=tui.co.uk|language=en-GB}
  9. ^ "Cheap Ski Flights - Flights Only With Crystal Ski". www.crystalski.co.uk.
  10. ^ "Medical Repatriation - Capital Air Ambulance". www.capitalairambulance.co.uk.
  11. ^ "New helicopter base for Devon police and air ambulance service". Exeter Express & Echo. 12 May 2014. Archived from the original on 13 May 2014. Retrieved 12 May 2014.
  12. ^ "Airport Data 2016". UK Civil Aviation Authority. 3 March 2017. Tables 12.1(XLS) and 12.2 (XLS). Retrieved 16 March 2017.
  • Freeman, Roger A. (1978) Airfields of the Eighth: Then and Now. After the Battle ISBN 0-900913-09-6
  • Maurer, Maurer (1983). Air Force Combat Units Of World War II. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-89201-092-4.

External links[edit]

Media related to Exeter International Airport at Wikimedia Commons
Media related to RAF Exeter at Wikimedia Commons