Shoreham Airport

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Shoreham Airport
Brighton City Airport
Shoreham Airport buildings.jpg
Airport type Public
Operator Brighton City Airport Ltd
Serves South of West Sussex
Location Lancing, West Sussex
Elevation AMSL 7 ft / 2 m
Coordinates 50°50′08″N 000°17′50″W / 50.83556°N 0.29722°W / 50.83556; -0.29722Coordinates: 50°50′08″N 000°17′50″W / 50.83556°N 0.29722°W / 50.83556; -0.29722
EGKA is located in West Sussex
Location in West Sussex
Direction Length Surface
m ft
02/20 1,036 3,399 Asphalt
07/25 877 2,877 Grass
13/31 408 1,339 Grass
700 2,297 Grass
Statistics (2014)
Passengers 452
Movements 54,344
Sources: UK AIP at NATS[1]
Statistics from the UK Civil Aviation Authority[2]
The art deco terminal building of Shoreham Airport
Interior of the terminal building
View of Runway 02 from the West Coastway railway line.

Shoreham Airport (IATA: ESHICAO: EGKA), also known as Brighton City Airport, is an airport located in the parish of Lancing in West Sussex, England. It has a CAA Public Use Aerodrome Licence that allows flights for the public transport of passengers or for flying instruction.

Founded in 1910, it is the oldest airport in the UK and the oldest purpose-built commercial airport in the world.[3] It is now owned by Brighton City Airport Ltd (BCAL).[4] The 1930s Art Deco terminal building designed by R Stavers Hessell Tiltman is listed grade II*.[5]

The airport is 1 NM (1.9 km; 1.2 mi) west of Shoreham-by-Sea[1] at Lancing in the Adur district of West Sussex. It is situated immediately to the south of the A27 road, between Brighton and Worthing, and immediately to the north of the West Coastway railway line.



The first aviator to fly there was Harold Piffard in 1910; a memorial garden celebrates his flight.[3] The aerodrome was officially opened on 20 June 1911. The first flying school opened in 1913.

First World War[edit]

During the First World War the aerodrome was used by the Royal Flying Corps. It was the departure point for some of the earlier flights (Blériots[6] and BEs) to join the conflict across the Channel.[7]

Inter-war period[edit]

The aerodrome became an airport for the adjacent towns of Brighton, Hove and Worthing. It was officially opened on the 13th June 1936 under the name 'Brighton Hove and Worthing Joint Municipal Airport' . The new terminal building was built in 1936 and was designed by Stavers Tiltman in the Art Deco style.[8] The terminal building is still in use and was designated a Grade II* listed building in 1984.

Second World War[edit]

During the Second World War the airfield operated a variety of military aircraft including Westland Lysanders that were later replaced by Supermarine Spitfires, Hawker Hurricanes, Boulton Paul Defiants and a pair of Bristol Beaufighters. It was an air-sea-rescue base with Supermarine Walrus aircraft joining other wartime activities in the nearby harbour.

The airfield was bombed several times and a Messerschmitt Bf 109 was shot down by ground fire during one such attack, crash-landing near the terminal building.[9]

A B-17 Flying Fortress crash-landed at the airfield after being damaged during a raid on Germany. The consequent damage to the old guardhouse on the north side of the airfield can still be seen.

Post-Second World War[edit]

The landing area was entirely grass until a tarmac runway was built in 1981.

In 1949, F G Miles Engineering Ltd moved to Shoreham from Redhill Aerodrome and soon occupied the repaired Municipal Hangar.

Beagle Aircraft Ltd (British Executive & General Aviation Ltd) was formed at Shoreham on 7 October 1960 and design drawings were begun a few weeks later for a new prototype twin-engine light transport aircraft. Built as the Beagle B.206X at Beagle's Rearsby factory near Leicester, this promising new type was completed at Shoreham and first flown by John Nicolson on 15 August 1961. Beagle Aircraft Ltd was nationalised in late 1966 and taken over by the British Motor Corporation but later entered receivership in late 1969 and soon closed down.

In 2006, due to mounting debts the airport was sold by the local authority to a property company on a 150-year lease. It was intended that the airport would provide increasing commercial flight activity for the conurbation on the coast nearby, particularly the city of Brighton & Hove.

The pre-war Municipal Hangar was Listed Grade II in July 2007.


The airport is used by privately owned light aeroplanes, flying schools, and for light aircraft and helicopter maintenance and sales. A number of operators provide flying lessons, sight-seeing and pleasure flights, including the experience of flying in two T-6 Harvard World War II training aircraft.

On 2 May 2014, Brighton City Airport Ltd (BCAL) took ownership of Shoreham Airport and operations, taking over from Albemarle.[4]

Wild Life Festival[edit]

Since June 2015 Wild Life Festival, a live music event developed by Disclosure and Rudimental has been held at Brighton City Airport.[10]

RAFA Shoreham Airshow[edit]

Fairey Swordfish torpedo bomber at 2011 airshow.

The airport used to host to the Royal Air Forces Association (RAFA) Shoreham Airshow (for around 25 years). On 22 August 2015, a Hawker Hunter jet fighter taking part in the airshow crashed onto the A27 road just outside Shoreham Airport, killing 11 people.[11]


Shoreham Airport

There is one terminal building at the airport, together with flight indicator boards announcing all arrivals and departures, a live runway camera and a licensed restaurant called The Hummingbird Restaurant and Cafe. The airport houses Northbrook College's engineering department — a Centre of Vocational Excellence (CoVE) in Aerospace and Aviation. A number of aerospace and aviation and non-aviation commercial businesses have offices and workshops on the airport site and along the perimeter road. The largest operator is Flying Time Aviation, providing Integrated Commercial Pilot training, with a fleet of Diamond Aircraft DA40s and DA42s.

The Shoreham Airport Visitor Centre features exhibits about the airport's history and area aviation history, a library and archive of related historic materials and guided tours of the airport.

Ground transport[edit]


A halt on the West Coastway Line was opened in 1910, just in front of the main building of the airport. In 1935 it changed name from Bungalow Town Halt to Shoreham Airport, but was closed in 1940.

Airlines and destinations[edit]

Various air taxi companies are based at the airport. Brighton City Airways operated out of the airport to Paris Pontoise airport but ceased operations in 2013 after encountering problems setting up a point of entry at the French airport.

In March 2017, it was confirmed that Air Alderney has plans to operate flights to and from Alderney from September 2017.[12]

South East Air Support Unit[edit]

The South East Air Support Unit formerly operated from Shoreham Airport. Previously Sussex Police Air Operations Unit, the unit moved in summer 2007 to Dunsfold Park, west of London Gatwick Airport, before moving to its present base at Redhill Aerodrome in autumn 2013.

Shoreham Airport RFFS[edit]

The Shoreham Airport Rescue and Firefighting Service provides a professional fire-fighting capability at the airport during operating hours. Headed by a Senior Airport Fire Officer, the service's two watches (Blue Watch and Red Watch) man four fire appliances. The service has operated at the airport continuously for over 90 years.[13]

Shoreham Airport's aircraft fuelling service is operated as a department of the Rescue and Firefighting Service. There are three large mobile fuel bowsers for delivering both avgas and jet fuel to aircraft, including a service (accompanied by fire appliances) for fast delivery of fuel to police and coastguard emergency helicopters without disengaging their engines. Fuel technicians are attached to the firefighting watches and work the same shift pattern[14]

Film appearances[edit]

Due to its listed period buildings and facilities, Shoreham Airport has been used by film-makers seeking to portray a small town airport, or even for historical reconstructions of scenes from the 1930s onwards. The airport has appeared in the Netflix sensation, The Crown, several episodes of Agatha Christie's Poirot; "The Adventure of the Western Star", "Death in the Clouds" and "Lord Edgware Dies".[15][16][17] External shots of the airport were also used in the film The Da Vinci Code[18] and Woman in Gold. The airport was used in the feature-length documentary Angel Without Wings[19] and A Dark Reflection.


  1. ^ a b "NATS - AIS - Home". 
  2. ^ CAA 2014 Stats
  3. ^ a b Nick Bloom, "Sunny Shoreham", Pilot, February 2012, p70
  4. ^ a b "New plan 'safeguards future of Shoreham Airport'". 
  5. ^
  6. ^ Royal Flying Corps WW1 Blériot XI reconnaissance monoplane |
  7. ^ Nick Bloom, "Sunny Shoreham", Pilot, February 2012, p71
  8. ^ Historic England. "Monument No. 1409758". PastScape. Retrieved 6 October 2015. 
  9. ^ Pocock, D A (1995). "The Royal Air Force Regiment; The Formative years to 1946". RAF Historical Society (15): 23. OCLC 21256749. 
  10. ^ "Nas, Mark Ronson, Earl Sweatshirt added to Disclosure and Rudimental's Wild Life festival". NME.COM. 
  11. ^ "Shoreham air crash death toll 'rises to 11'". BBC News Online. Retrieved 23 August 2015. 
  12. ^
  13. ^ SARFFS website
  14. ^ Airport fuelling team webpage
  15. ^ ""Agatha Christie's Poirot" Lord Edgware Dies (TV Episode 2000) - IMDb". IMDb. 11 June 2000. 
  16. ^ "Poirot Locations - Lord Edgware Dies". 
  17. ^ Eirik. "Investigating Agatha Christie's Poirot: Episode-by-episode: Lord Edgware Dies". 
  18. ^ "Secret Da Vinci Code airport set revealed". The Argus. 9 January 2006. Retrieved 16 September 2007. 
  19. ^ "Angel Without Wings". Fact Not Fiction Films. 31 March 2011. Retrieved 28 October 2011. 

External links[edit]