Norwich Airport

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Norwich Airport
Entrance to the Norwich Airport passenger terminal
Norwich Airport - - 22532.jpg
Airport type Public
Owner Regional & City Airports
Operator Norwich Airport Limited
Serves Norwich, Norfolk
Opened 1970
Built 1940
Elevation AMSL 117 ft / 36 m
Coordinates 52°40′33″N 001°16′58″E / 52.67583°N 1.28278°E / 52.67583; 1.28278Coordinates: 52°40′33″N 001°16′58″E / 52.67583°N 1.28278°E / 52.67583; 1.28278
NWI/EGSH is located in Norfolk
Location in Norfolk
Direction Length Surface
m ft
09/27 1,841 6,040 Asphalt/concrete
Statistics (2016)
Passengers 506,007
Passenger change 15-16 Increase10.1%
Aircraft Movements 37,190
Movements change 15-16 Increase3.2%
Sources: UK AIP at NATS[1]
Statistics from the UK Civil Aviation Authority[2]

Norwich Airport (IATA: NWIICAO: EGSH), until early 2017 Norwich International Airport, is a minor international airport in the City of Norwich within Norfolk, England 2.8 NM (5.2 km; 3.2 mi) north of the city centre and on the edge of the city's suburbs at Hellesdon. In 2014 Norwich Airport was the 29th busiest airport in the UK and busiest in the East Anglia region.[2]

Norwich Airport has a CAA Public Use Aerodrome Licence (Number P723) that allows flights for the public transport of passengers or for flying instruction. Along with a long history of flights to Amsterdam Airport Schiphol via KLM Cityhopper (formerly KLM UK), it offers flights to various destinations in the United Kingdom and Europe. Besides the commercial flights, charter operators also operate out of Norwich. Bristow Helicopters, DanCopter and Babcock Mission Critical Services Offshore fly crews to North Sea gas rigs and SaxonAir operates executive, private aircraft and helicopter charter flights.


The first Norwich Airport was set up on a former First World War aerodrome on Mousehold Heath under what is now the Heartsease housing estate. It opened in 1933, and was used by Boulton & Paul for aircraft test flying and other recreational activities. This fell into disuse in the early part of the Second World War, and by the end of it had been too built upon to be used again.

RAF Horsham St Faith[edit]

The current site, formerly known as Royal Air Force Station Horsham St Faith, or more commonly RAF Horsham St Faith, was first developed in 1939 and officially opened on 1st June 1940 as a Royal Air Force (RAF) bomber station. In September 1942 Horsham St. Faith was made available to the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) for use by the Eighth Air Force. The USAAF designated the airfield as Station 123 (HF).

The airfield was transferred to RAF Fighter Command on 10th July 1945 when it was occupied by four Gloster Meteor Squadrons. RAF Horsham St. Faith was a front-line RAF station for many years, and its squadrons participated in many post-war exercises. The station was deactivated on 1st August 1963.

Civil Airport[edit]

Control tower at Norwich International Airport.

The RAF left Horsham on 24th March 1967. Over the following two years the major part of the airfield and buildings were sold to Norwich City and Norfolk County Council, a small part being retained by the Ministry of Defence (MoD). Norwich Airport Ltd., under ownership of the county and city councils, developed the modern day Norwich International Airport, with the main terminal opening in 1988. In 1971 the airport began operations with charter flights[3], with airline Air Anglia creating a base at the airfield offering flights all over northwestern Europe. Their route to Amsterdam is still operated today with KLM Cityhopper.

Most of the World War II buildings used by the USAAF remain, although converted for a variety of purposes. Two of the five large pre-war hangars are still being used for aircraft maintenance. One of the other three has been converted into an aviation academy, the remaining two have been converted for commercial use by Air Livery and KLM UK Engineering. The original control tower still exists although the top has been restored and a new tower has been built adjacent to the present main runway. Other wartime buildings now form part of the airport industrial estate (owned by the county and city councils) and are intermingled with many newer structures. Adjacent to the airport terminal building opened by the Queen Mother, there is a memorial display relating to the USAAF, consisting of photographs, paintings, and a plaque commemorating the American use of the airfield. Firside Junior School's Year 6 class refurbished the memorial in July 2014, in partnership with the Eighth in the East group.

The airport also has the City of Norwich Aviation Museum to the north of the site, commemorating the airfield's history as a military airfield and development as a civil airport through the years, with many civil and military aircraft on display - many of which served from the aerodrome at some point in their lifetime.

The former RAF accommodation blocks situated towards Old Catton were until 1993 used by the University of East Anglia as accommodation for students; known to students as "Fifers Lane" halls, these have since been demolished and the site redeveloped as housing. The remaining MoD property—airmen's married quarters—continued to be used for nearby RAF stations, but due to the closure of these stations, the housing has been sold to private buyers.

Whilst most runways and taxiways from the military airfield remain, only one runway is primarily used, to avoid takeoffs and landings over built-up areas: east–west Runway 09/27, which was extended eastwards by the RAF in 1956 to 1841 metres long. The old 04/22 runway is no longer used for takeoffs or landings, but is used for parking and taxiing of aircraft.

In 1999, the new corporate identity was launched as Norwich International Airport, kept until April 2017.

In March 2004, the city and county councils sold 80.1% of Norwich Airport Ltd. to Omniport[4] whilst retaining the remaining 19.9%. Omniport has also acquired 100% of Norwich Airport Travel Ltd. Since the sale to Omniport the airport has become one of the UK hubs for budget airline Flybe and the number of flights and destinations served have rapidly increased. In 2005 a £3.5M terminal expansion programme began.

In 2009, during filming of the BBC show Top Gear, operations from the airport appeared to be disrupted when a caravan, adapted into an airship and flown by James May, drifted overhead the airport, infringing its controlled airspace. In reality, the event occurred after much pre-planning between the airport authorities and the BBC; and scenes showing the airship in the airfield boundary were actually filmed after it had lifted off from the airfield to satisfy the requirements of the film crew.[5]

In 2007, the airport introduced its Airport Development Fee (ADF). All passengers over 16 departing from the airport pay a fee of £10.[6] The airport was sold by the majority stakeholders of Omniport to the Rigby Group PLC in 2014, who integrated the airport as part of Regional & City Airports in April 2017.[7]

Recent Developments[edit]

Norwich International Airport announced in 2015 that four new routes were being considered for Department for Transport (DfT) funding. The routes being considered included: Dublin Airport (Flybe, double daily return weekdays, single return weekends), Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (Flybe, daily return), Newcastle Airport (Links Air, double daily weekday return), and Exeter Airport (Flybe, daily return). Links Air proposed a start date of 1st September 2016, but the airline was put into liquidation.[8][9] In November 2015 it was announced that bids for routes to Newcastle and Exeter had been successful, with the inaugural flight to the latter on 24th March 2016, operated by Flybe.[10] Flybe also confirmed plans to operate summer sun and winter ski routes from Norwich Airport as part of a 5-year deal with the Regional & City Airports (RCA) group. From May 2016, one of Flybe's 118-seat Embraer ERJ-195 aircraft began operating multi-weekly flights from Norwich to Alicante and Málaga. In addition, with effect from its Winter 2016 programme Flybe will also introduce Geneva as a new route from Norwich.[11][12][13]

In 2016 an engine test facility opened on site, as well as the KLM UK Engineering Academy, opening on 18th April 2017 but an official opening ceremony on 5th August.

On 6th July 2017, Managing Director Richard Pace announced a 30-year vision to treble passenger numbers at the airport. The plans include raising annual passenger numbers to 930,000 by 2030, and 1.4 million by 2045; forging new routes to Paris Charles de Gaulle and Dublin to boost the choice of worldwide destinations; constructing a 100-acre business park for both aviation and non-aviation companies - it was originally frozen by investors in 2015 waiting for the new Northern Distributor Road to be completed (due March 2018); extending the Runway 27/09 by 500 metres and building new taxiways to boost capacity and allow larger aircraft to operate to the airport. Another 10-year ambition is seeking permission to allow flights to fly until up to 1:30 AM (currently, the curfew is put in place at 11:00 PM) for four nights a week. Pace says the new Northern Distributor Road is "unlocking the potential for the site to generate growth for the region and the airport," and "the masterplan sets out the vision for the future development of Norwich Airport and its continued vital role in supporting our region’s [East Anglia's] economy."[14]


The airport has one runway (designated 09/27), 1,841 m (6,040 ft) in length. A smaller 1,285 m (4,216 ft) runway (designated 04/22) was closed in 2006, and is now used as a taxiway and parking area for decommissioned aircraft. The airport has nine parking stands for commercial aircraft.

Airlines and destinations[edit]

Airlines Destinations
Aurigny Seasonal: Guernsey
BH Air Seasonal: Burgas
BMI Regional Aberdeen
Eastern Airways Aberdeen (ends 28 October 2017)[15]
Enter Air Seasonal charter: Pajala[16]
Flybe Alicante, Málaga, Exeter
Seasonal: Jersey
operated by Eastern Airways
Aberdeen (begins 29 October 2017)[15]
operated by KLM Cityhopper
Loganair Aberdeen (begins 15 October 2017),[17] Durham Tees Valley (begins 15 October 2017),[18] Edinburgh, Manchester
Seasonal: Jersey
Thomson Airways
operated by Sunwing Airlines
Seasonal: Corfu, Gran Canaria, Heraklion (begins 1 May 2018),[19] Ibiza, Menorca, Palma de Mallorca, Paphos, Rhodes

Based operators[edit]

Operators based at Norwich are CHC Scotia, Babcock MCS Offshore,[20] Bristow Helicopters,[21][22] NHV Helicopters,[23] SaxonAir Charter & SaxonAir Flight Support and the East Anglian Air Ambulance.[24] Former operators include Air Anglia and (from 1980) their successor Air UK and KLM UK.

Accidents and incidents[edit]

  • On 12th December 1973 a Dassault Falcon 20 of Fred. Olsen Airtransport suffered a bird strike on takeoff from Runway 27. Both engines failed and the aircraft made an emergency landing in a field. All three crew members were injured but the passengers sustained no injuries. The aircraft was written off.[25]
  • On 25th October 1974 a Cessna 310 dived into the ground while on final approach, killing the pilot. The Cessna's nose pitched down and the wings rolled over; the loss of control was caused by the uncommanded retraction of the starboard flap, caused by the failure of the drive mechanism.[26]
  • On 04th May 2012, a KLM Fokker 70 flying from Teesside to Amsterdam suffered an engine failure, causing the pilots to shut it down. The aircraft was diverted to Norwich, where at 11:05am it made an emergency landing, taxiing to an empty runway for an integrated emergency plan to be activated. All 45 people on board were unharmed.[27]
  • On 14th May 2014 a KLM Boeing 737-700 en route from Manchester to Amsterdam Schiphol reported an electrical fault and fumes in the cockpit. The aircraft was diverted to Norwich Airport, where the 114 passengers landed without incident.[28]
  • On 20th March 2016, a fire broke out in the roof of one of the Air Livery and KLM UK Engineering hangars, containing two aircraft - a Boeing 737 and Airbus A320 - full of fuel at 9:43am. The fire was out twelve hours later, with no one hurt due to the rapid response of the fire service.[29]
  • On 26th November 2016, KLM Flight 1511 reported smoke in the cockpit and declared an emergency two minutes before landing from Amsterdam. The Fokker 70 landed safely with none of the 54 people on board hurt.[30]


Busiest routes to and from Norwich (2016)[31]
Rank Airport Total
2015 / 16
1 Amsterdam 143,361 Increase 0.7%
2 Aberdeen 42,389 Decrease 16.2%
3 Manchester 25,847 Decrease 6.7%
4 Edinburgh 25,838 Decrease 11.7%
5 Exeter 22,359 New route
6 Alicante 13,486 Increase 0.0%
7 Málaga 12,502 Increase 0.0%
8 Tenerife–South 8,848 Decrease 53.8%
9 Jersey 3,920 Increase 41.4%
10 Guernsey 1,362 Increase 109.2%



KonectBus operates a Park and Ride service from a stop a 2-minute walk from the terminal, connecting the airport with Norwich city centre, six days a week (excluding Sundays) every 10–20 minutes. The first bus departs Norwich Airport at 06:35 and the last at 19:05.[32]


Norwich Airport is situated adjacent to the A140 road, Cromer Road, which runs from Ipswich to Norwich and on to the seaside town of Cromer; this also provides easy road access to Norwich city centre. The entrance to the airport is at the intersection of Amsterdam Way and Cromer Road. The Norwich Northern Distributor Road will link the airport to the A47 road, Great Yarmouth and Fakenham (as well as Norwich itself), reducing the need to use the congested outer ring road and providing faster and better connections to other parts of the county and country. Part of this road will sever the end of the disused Runway 28 as it snakes its way up to the A1067 Fakenham Road.


Norwich Airport does not have a railway station; the nearest is Norwich railway station approximately 4 miles (6.4 km) away.


  1. ^ "NATS - AIS - Home". 
  2. ^ a b "Data and analysis". 
  3. ^ "About Us – Norwich Airport Website". Norwich Airport. Retrieved 2017-07-01. 
  4. ^ Omniport Website
  5. ^ Eastern Daily Press video retrieved 1 December 2009[dead link]
  6. ^ Norwich Airport Development Fee Retrieved 4 January 2012
  7. ^ Eastern Daily Press report Retrieved 11 June 2014
  8. ^ Routes that have applied for start-up aid retrieved 24 October 2015
  9. ^ "News". 
  10. ^ "flyBe Adds New UK Routes in S16". 
  11. ^ "Flybe - Corporate - Media - News archive - FLYBE CONFIRMS NEW PARTNERSHIP WITH REGIONAL & CITY AIRPORTS 151008". 
  12. ^ Davies, Phil (8 October 2015). "Flybe strikes deal with owner of Exeter and Norwich airports". 
  13. ^ "News". 
  14. ^ Shields, Mark. "Revealed: Norwich Airport’s 30-year vision to treble passenger numbers and forge worldwide links". Eastern Daily Press. Retrieved 2017-08-14. 
  15. ^ a b
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^ "Babcock MCS Offshore". Babcock International Group. Retrieved 15 July 2016. 
  21. ^ Bristow Group. "Offshore Helicopter Transportation - Helicopter Transport Services – Helicopter Transportation Services -". Bristow Group. 
  22. ^ "DanCopter celebrates successful first year of Shell contract". 
  23. ^
  24. ^ East Anglian Air Ambulance
  25. ^ "Avions Marcel Dassault Fan Jet Falcon LN-FOE Report on the accident near Norwich Airport, Norfolk on 12 December 1974" (PDF). London: Accidents Investigation Branch. 1974. p. 1. ISBN 0-11-511417-3. 
  26. ^ G-APTK accident report
  27. ^ Freezer, David. "Engine failure sees plane forced into emergency landing at Norwich International Airport". Eastern Daily Press. Retrieved 2017-07-01. 
  28. ^ "Norwich Airport alert: KLM plane flies out after emergency landing". BBC News. 2014-05-14. Retrieved 2017-04-29. 
  29. ^ Gilbert, Dominic. "Flight lands safely at Norwich Airport after declaring emergency when smoke reported in cockpit". Eastern Daily Press. Retrieved 2017-04-29. 
  30. ^ Gilbert, Dominic. "Flight lands safely at Norwich Airport after declaring emergency when smoke reported in cockpit". Eastern Daily Press. Retrieved 2017-04-29. 
  31. ^ "Airport Data 2016". UK Civil Aviation Authority. 3 March 2017. Tables 12.1(XLS) and 12.2 (XLS). Retrieved 16 March 2017. 
  32. ^ "Route 501: Norwich Park & Ride". Retrieved 15 July 2016. 


External links[edit]

Media related to Norwich Airport at Wikimedia Commons