Lydd Airport

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Lydd International Airport
Lydd airport logo.svg
Airport type Public
Operator London Ashford Airport Ltd.
Serves London, East Sussex and Kent
Location Lydd, Kent
Elevation AMSL 13 ft / 4 m
Coordinates 50°57′22″N 000°56′21″E / 50.95611°N 0.93917°E / 50.95611; 0.93917Coordinates: 50°57′22″N 000°56′21″E / 50.95611°N 0.93917°E / 50.95611; 0.93917
EGMD is located in Kent
Location in Kent
Direction Length Surface
m ft
03/21 1,505 4,938 Grooved Asphalt
Statistics (2013)
Movements 16,347
Passengers 670
Sources: UK AIP at NATS[1]
Statistics from the UK Civil Aviation Authority[2]
The current terminal

Lydd Airport (IATA: LYXICAO: EGMD) is located 1.2 NM (2.2 km; 1.4 mi) northeast of the town of Lydd and 12 NM (22 km; 14 mi) south of Ashford in the District of Shepway within Kent, England. Originally named Lydd Ferryfield, it is now also known as London Ashford Airport, although that name officially only refers to its operator. The airport is operated by London Ashford Airport Ltd, a company ultimately controlled by the Saudi Arabian businessman Sheikh Fahad al-Athel.[1][3][4][5][6]

Lydd Airport has a CAA Ordinary Licence (Number P858) that allows flights for the public transport of passengers or for flying instruction as authorised by the licensee (London Ashford Airport Limited). The airport is currently able to handle aircraft up to the size of a Boeing 737 or Airbus A319, but the runway length means that such aircraft can only take off with a restricted payload. Lydd Air is based at the airport, offering regular flights to Le Touquet Airport in northern France, using Piper PA-31 and similar sized aircraft.[7][8][9]

The airport lies adjacent to the unique landscape of Dungeness, a Cuspate foreland that is one of the largest expanses of shingle beach in Europe and which is of international conservation importance for its geomorphology, plant and invertebrate communities and birdlife, a fact that is recognised by its designations as a national nature reserve, a Special Protection Area, a Special Area of Conservation and part of the Site of Special Scientific Interest of Dungeness, Romney Marsh and Rye Bay. This proximity has led to opposition to plans to expand the airport, but the airport has now been granted permission to build a 294 m (965 ft) runway extension and a new terminal building. This will allow it to handle fully loaded Boeing 737 or Airbus A319 aircraft.[6][8][10]


Loading a Bristol Superfreighter air ferry at Lydd in 1960

Lydd Airport, opened in 1954, was the first airport to be built in the UK following the end of the Second World War. It was built for Silver City Airways and used initially for car carrying air ferry services using Bristol Freighters, operating principally to Le Touquet in France. Within 5 years of opening, it was handling over 250,000 passengers annually, making it one of the busiest airports in the UK.[4][11]

Silver City Airways subsequently became part of British United Air Ferries, under the same ownership as British United Airways. The airlines used Bristol Freighters, Superfreighters and Aviation Traders Carvair aircraft on their car-carrying routes from Lydd. However the introduction of roll-on/roll-off ferries and hovercraft on cross-channel services led to a decline of the air ferry services from Lydd.[4]

During the 1980s the airport was bought by Hards Travel from Solihull, who used the airport (along with Coventry Airport) as its base for its holiday operations to Spain, Italy and Austria, using Dart Herald and Viscount aircraft flying to Beauvais in France, where customers were transferred to coaches for the remainder of the journey. During this time Hards operated 14 flights a day from the airport, and used the large fields surrounding the airport for car parking. The main brand Hards traded under was Summer-Plan, and in the winter Ski-Plan, as well as HTS Holidays.[citation needed]

Expansion of the airport was approved in 2014 following a legal challenge by Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) and the Lydd Airport Action (LAAG) Group. The expansion includes a runway extension of almost 300 m (980 ft) and a new terminal building. It is costed at £25 million.[12]

On 9 July 2015, the Airbus E-Fan took off from Lydd Airport for a flight to Calais-Dunkerque Airport. Initially this was claimed as the first electric aircraft to cross the English Channel, but it has since been pointed out that there were previous such flights, including one as long ago as 1981.[13][14][15][16]

Airlines and destinations[edit]

Aircraft at Lydd in 2010
Airlines Destinations
LyddAir Le Touquet

Accidents and incidents[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Lydd – EGMD". NATS - Aeronautical Information Service. 2010. 
  2. ^ CAA 2013 Stats[dead link]
  3. ^ "Directions". London Ashford Airport Ltd. Archived from the original on 8 June 2015. Retrieved 8 June 2015. 
  4. ^ a b c "The History of Lydd Airport". London Ashford Airport Ltd. Archived from the original on 8 June 2015. Retrieved 8 June 2015. 
  5. ^ "Lydd Airport today is operated by London Ashford Airport Ltd.", "Our Company". London Ashford Airport Ltd. Archived from the original on 8 June 2015. Retrieved 8 June 2015. 
  6. ^ a b Bowcott, Owen (10 April 2010). "Lydd highlights battle between airport expansion and eco-concerns". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 June 2015. 
  7. ^ Civil Aviation Authority Aerodrome Ordinary Licences[dead link]
  8. ^ a b "The Future of Lydd Airport". London Ashford Airport Ltd. Archived from the original on 8 June 2015. Retrieved 8 June 2015. 
  9. ^ "Lydd - the fastest way to France". Lydd Air. Archived from the original on 8 June 2015. Retrieved 8 June 2015. 
  10. ^ McVeigh, Tracy (15 January 2012). "Dungeness's strange beauty under threat from shingle plan". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 June 2015. 
  11. ^ "Ferryfield". Flight. 2 July 1954. 
  12. ^ "Expansion of Kent's Lydd Airport to go ahead". BBC. 16 May 2014. Retrieved 8 June 2015. 
  13. ^ "Electric Shock: Rival Pilots Claim Channel First". Sky News. Retrieved 10 July 2015. 
  14. ^ "Did Duwal Beat Airbus Across the Channel?". AVweb. Retrieved 10 July 2015. 
  15. ^ Bertorelli, Paul. "Airbus' Asterisked Record". AVweb. Retrieved 10 July 2015. 
  16. ^ "First Electric-Powered Channel Flight Was 34 Years Ago". AVweb. Retrieved 13 July 2015. 
  17. ^ Moor, Anthony. "A Dove down at Dungeness". Aeroplane (Cudham: Kelsey Publishing) (April 2012): pp98–100. ISSN 0143-7240. 
  18. ^ "G-AMSM Accident description". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 1 August 2010. 

External links[edit]