Isle of Man Airport

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Isle of Man International Airport

Purt Aer Vannin
Isle of Man Airport logo.svg
Isle of Man Airport.jpg
Airport typePublic
OperatorDepartment of Infrastructure
ServesIsle of Man
LocationRonaldsway, Malew, Isle of Man
Focus city for
Elevation AMSL52 ft / 16 m
Coordinates54°05′00″N 004°37′24″W / 54.08333°N 4.62333°W / 54.08333; -4.62333Coordinates: 54°05′00″N 004°37′24″W / 54.08333°N 4.62333°W / 54.08333; -4.62333
EGNS is located in Isle of Man
Location on the Isle of Man
EGNS is located in the United Kingdom
Location between Ireland and Britain
Direction Length Surface
m ft
08/26 2,110 6,923 Asphalt/Concrete
03/21 1,255 4,117 Asphalt
Statistics (2022)
Passenger change 21–22Increase 200.18%
Aircraft movements15,232
Movements change 21–22Increase 63.03%

Isle of Man Airport (Manx: Purt Aer Vannin, also known as Ronaldsway Airport) (IATA: IOM, ICAO: EGNS) is the main civilian airport on the Isle of Man. It is located in the south of the island at Ronaldsway near Castletown, 6 nautical miles (11 km; 6.9 mi) southwest of Douglas,[1] the island's capital. Along with the Isle of Man Sea Terminal, it is one of the two main gateways to the island. The airport has scheduled services to the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland.


Admiral Sir Percy Noble inspects RAF Regiment personnel during a visit to RAF Ronaldsway, June 11, 1942.
Manx Airlines Vickers Viscount taxiing past the airport control tower in 1988
Terminal interior
Sculpture by Bryan Kneale called "The Legs of Man" at the terminal entrance.

Early years[edit]

Ronaldsway was first used as an airfield in 1928[3] with passenger services to the UK starting in 1933, operated by Blackpool and West Coast Air Services (later West Coast Air Services). Further services were established by Aer Lingus and Railway Air Services (RAS) from 1934. From 1937 RAS operations from Ronaldsway to the UK were transferred to Isle of Man Air Services. In a 1936 expansion of the Ronaldsway Airport, workers discovered a mass grave believed to hold the remains of soldiers who died during the Battle of Ronaldsway in 1275.

Second World War[edit]

RAF Ronaldsway[edit]

The airfield came under Royal Air Force control at the outbreak of the Second World War. Known as RAF Ronaldsway, it was one of the few airfields that continued operating civilian flights throughout the wartime period.

The airfield was used by № 1 GDGS (Ground Defence and Gunnery School) operating Westland Wallace aircraft, the drogues from these aircraft being fired on from gun emplacements on St Michael's Isle (Fort Island) and Santon Head. An expansion of the airport during the War led to the discovery of the archaeological remains of a Neolithic settlement belonging to what is now called the Ronaldsway culture, in honour of this site.

RAF operations continued until 1943 when the airfield was handed over to the Admiralty for further development as a Fleet Air Arm training station.

HMS Urley[edit]

Now a naval air station, RNAS Ronaldsway, the airport was taken out of commission in 1943 for almost twelve months of extensive development undertaken by John Laing & Son.[4] By the summer of 1944 the airfield had evolved from a grass landing area with a few hangars to a four runway airfield with the infrastructure to house and operate three training squadrons using Barracuda torpedo bombers.

Commissioned as HMS Urley (Manx for Eagle) by the Admiralty on 21 June 1944, with accounts handled by HMS Valkyrie, flying recommenced on 15 July 1944.[5] The airfield's main role was that of a torpedo working-up station. No. 1 OTU consisted of 710, 713 and 747 Squadrons (Fleet Air Arm) and these operated until the cessation of hostilities in 1945. The base was paid off on 14 January 1946, and transferred to 'Care and Maintenance' under HMS Blackcap.[5] The nominal depot ship from 21 June 1944 was a 32' cutter named XXII, which itself was constructed in 1937.[5]


The airport reverted to solely civilian flying almost immediately after the war, but the airfield remained in Admiralty possession until sold to the Isle of Man Government for £200,000 in 1948, far short of the £1 million that the UK Government had spent on constructing the airport buildings and runways, plus the £105,000 that was paid by the Admiralty in 1943 to purchase the site. Several Manx-based airlines were formed in the early postwar years to operate scheduled and charter services to the UK mainland.

Development since the 2000s[edit]

A project by Ellis Brown Architects began in November 1998 to extend the airport and improve the facilities available to passengers. In March 2000 the new extension was opened, providing a new landside catering outlet, arrivals area, baggage hall, and departure lounge. The existing part of the airport was refurbished during this time to provide improved check-in facilities and offices, linked to the extension with a new airport entrance. During the extension and renovation period, the iconic Three Legs of Man sculpture adorning the airport's façade was also refurbished. In March 2006 funding for a further extension was granted by Tynwald to increase the number of departure gates, with work due for completion in summer 2007.

In April 2008 Tynwald granted a major runway extension and resurfacing project at the airport. The runway will be extended by 245 m (804 ft) out into the Irish Sea by the construction of a rock-armoured promontory.[6] It was part of a £44m plan which also included resurfacing of the runway during summer 2008 and the extension program that will commence in spring 2008 work was completed by early 2011. It has emerged that the actual runway take-off length was underestimated by 160 metres in the £1.5 million feasibility study. Whilst the study originally looked into the aviation marketing implication of runway length, airport management has now denied that the extension is for the use of heavier aircraft in the future, stating that the resurfacing and extension are to comply with the latest international safety standards.[7] There has been a significant overspend on the project due to poor foreign exchange management of the Euro-denominated components of the costs. It is thought that the Manx Treasury Minister may have been referring to the expense of the runway and the additional £6,515,000 control tower project[8] when he stated in his 2009 Budget speech that the Isle of Man could no longer afford "Rolls-Royce" projects. Following the completion of the runway extension project the largest aircraft that can operate fully at Ronaldsway is the Boeing 757.

In September 2019, Flybe announced it would shut down its base operations at the airport by Spring 2020.[9]

Airlines and destinations[edit]

The following airlines operate regular scheduled flights to and from the Isle of Man:[10]

Aer Lingus Belfast–City (begins 24 April 2023),[11] Dublin
easyJet Belfast–International, Bristol, Liverpool, London–Gatwick, Manchester
Loganair Birmingham, Edinburgh, Liverpool, London–City,[12] London–Heathrow,[12] Manchester

Other tenants[edit]

Now-defunct regional airlines Citywing[13] and Manx Airlines[14] had their head offices on the airport property. The Manx Military and Aviation Museum is situated next to the airport and has exhibits and information about the history of aviation on the island.


Annual passenger traffic at IOM airport. See Wikidata query.
Busiest routes to and from Isle of Man Airport (2022)
Rank Airport Passengers handled % change
2021 / 22
1 Liverpool 154,297 Increase 151.5
2 London Gatwick 149,887 Increase 205.7
3 Manchester 96,173 Increase 227.7
4 Bristol 30,794 Increase 187.4
5 Dublin 25,287 New route
6 Birmingham 22,371 Increase 141.1
7 Belfast International 22,012 Increase 98.1
8 London Heathrow 20,365 Increase 297.2
9 London City 17,038 New route
10 Edinburgh 9,723 Increase 159.6
Source: Isle of Man Airport [15]

In 2022, 562,490 passengers travelled through the airport, a 200.18% increase compared with 2021 - however this figure is down 35% compared to 2019 (prior to the COVID-19 pandemic).[15]

Ground transport[edit]

Ronaldsway railway halt with a train arriving from Douglas.

Bus services are provided by Bus Vannin, formerly Isle of Man Transport. Bus Vannin routes 1, 1H, 2, 2A, 2C, 11, 12 and 12A serve Douglas, Castletown, Colby, Port Erin and Port St Mary. Buses operate every 20 minutes Monday – Saturday daytime (Services 1, 1H and 2) and every 30 minutes during evenings and Sunday (Services 1H, 2A, 11, 12 and 12A). Routes 8 and 8A also connect the airport with PeelSt John'sFoxdale and Castletown.[16]

Airport emergency services[edit]

Fire and rescue service[edit]

In common with most international airports, the Isle of Man Airport maintains its own fire service. This service cooperates closely with the Isle of Man Fire and Rescue Service, although it is independent, with its own management and chief officer. For joint operational purposes, and for the assigning of radio call signs to appliances, the airport fire station is known as "station 9", in a common series with the IoM Fire & Rescue Service, whose seven fire stations are numbered from "station 1" to "station 7" inclusive. The airport fire station is a large five-bay purpose-built structure with duty rooms and offices. The service operates a fleet including two Carmichael Cobra 2 major foam tenders, a third (smaller) major foam tender, a standard duty pump (principally for building fires), and a 4x4 Land Rover. A further major appliance (Iturri Torro) is on order.[citation needed]

Police and security service[edit]

The Isle of Man Airport Police was a small independent police service providing security and policing at the airport site, with warranted constables, known as "aviation security officers" (ASO). Under Manx law ASOs had full police powers, including the power of arrest, whilst on airport property. For major crimes the airport police was supported by the Isle of Man Constabulary. The airport police were disbanded at the end of September 2019, with the responsibility for airfield security passing to a private contractor.

Accidents and incidents[edit]


  1. ^ a b "NATS - AIS - Home". Retrieved 4 June 2015.
  2. ^ "Isle of Man Airport Monthly Air Traffic Summary". Department of Infrastructure (Isle of Man). 25 January 2023. Retrieved 25 January 2023.
  3. ^ "Isle of Man Government - Isle of Man Airport". Archived from the original on 15 June 2013. Retrieved 4 June 2015.
  4. ^ Ritchie, p. 102
  5. ^ a b c Warlow, Ben (2000). Shore Establishments of the Royal Navy. Maritime Books. p. 93. ISBN 978-0-907771-74-6.
  6. ^ "Runway Extended at Ronaldsway". Airports International. Retrieved 10 June 2020.
  7. ^ "Tynwald approves runway project". BBC News. 15 April 2008. Retrieved 4 June 2015.
  8. ^ "TYNWALD GO-AHEAD SOUGHT FOR NEW AIRPORT CONTROL TOWER BUILDING". Archived from the original on 24 May 2014. Retrieved 4 June 2015.
  9. ^ "Flybe to close Isle of Man base in 2020 but flights will continue". BBC. 12 September 2019.
  10. ^ Flight destinations and timetables,, retrieved 25 January 2023
  11. ^
  12. ^ a b "New London flights announced |". 11 March 2022.
  13. ^ "Citywing".
  14. ^ "World Airline Directory." Flight International. 26 March-1 April 1997. 86. "Isle of Man (Ronaldsway) Airport, Ballasalla, Isle of Man, IM9 2JE, UK"
  15. ^ a b "Air Traffic Summary 2022" (PDF). Isle of Man Airport. 25 January 2023. Retrieved 25 January 2023.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  16. ^ "Isle of Man Government - Bus and Rail". Archived from the original on 28 October 2014. Retrieved 4 June 2015.
  17. ^ Poole 1999, p. 12.
  18. ^ Poole 1999, pp. 13–14.
  19. ^ Poole 1999, pp. 14–15.
  20. ^ Poole 1999, p. 15.


  • Poole, Stephen (1999). Rough Landing or Fatal Flight. Douglas: Amulree Publications. ISBN 1-901508-03-X.
  • Ritchie, Berry (1997). The Good Builder: The John Laing Story. James & James.

External links[edit]

Media related to Isle of Man Airport at Wikimedia Commons