|Operator||Southampton International Airport Limited|
|Serves||Southampton, Portsmouth, Winchester, Salisbury, New Forest, Hampshire|
|Elevation AMSL||44 ft / 13 m|
The airport handled nearly 1.8 million passengers during 2015, a 2.3% fall compared with 2014, making it the 18th busiest airport in the UK. Southampton Airport has a CAA Public Use Aerodrome Licence (Number P690) that allows flights for the public transport of passengers or for flying instruction. It airport is owned and operated by AGS Airports which also owns and operates Aberdeen and Glasgow Airports. It was previously owned and operated by Heathrow Airport Holdings (formerly known as BAA).
The site's connection with aviation can be traced back to 1910 when pioneer pilot Edwin Rowland Moon used the meadows belonging to North Stoneham Farm as a take-off and landing spot for his monoplane, Moonbeam Mk II. In 2010, the airport arranged a series of events to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the first flight at the airport.
During the First World War, when forces from the United States Navy arrived in 1917, work on the building of hangars began. At the peak of the American presence, some 4,000 officers and men were billeted in tents and huts along the adjacent London to Southampton railway line.
After that war, the site became a transit camp for refugees, mainly Russian, who were anxious to sail to America from the port of Southampton. The shipping companies Cunard and White Star Line (the Oceanic Steam Navigation Company) together with the Canadian Pacific Railway formed the "Atlantic Park Hostel Company" to house them temporarily. In 1921 the hangars were converted into dormitories, kitchens and dining rooms.
The hostel was intended to be a short-term clearing house for those trans-migrants changing ships, but following changes to US immigration law which restricted entry to the United States under national origins quotas, some residents were forced to stay much longer. In 1924 about 980 Ukrainian Jewish would-be emigrants were cared for at the hostel. Some of them were still there seven years later, stranded between the US and UK which would not accept them, and unable to return the countries they had fled. Atlantic Park had a school, library, and synagogue while the refugees formed football teams that played local sides and took part in local events, such as Eastleigh carnival. At the height of its use 20,000 passed through Atlantic Park in 1928 but then figures started to fall away, leading to the closure of the hostel in 1931.
In 1932 Southampton Corporation purchased the site and it became "Southampton Municipal Airport". By 1935 part of the site was being used by the Fleet Air Arm of the RAF and was briefly known as RAF Eastleigh before it became RAF Southampton in 1936. The military site was transferred to Naval command in 1939 and renamed HMS Raven, and subsequently spent most of the war in a ground and air training role for the Royal Navy. It eventually passed back into civilian ownership in April 1946.
In 1959 Southampton (Eastleigh) Airport was purchased by well known racing pilot J.N. 'Nat' Somers who laid the foundation for the successful modern regional airport that exists today by building the concrete runway in 1963, negotiating with British Rail to build the Southampton Airport (Parkway) Rail Station literally on the airport, and also worked with the Department of Transport to plan for the then new M27 Motorway to pass through the airport just south of the runway and north of Ford's Transit van factory at the same time installing the major roundabout outside the airport. This forward thinking programme encouraged most of the airlines at Bournemouth Hurn to move to Southampton in the mid 60's. Nat Somers company sold the airport to Peter de Savary in 1988 who a few years later sold Southampton to the owners of London Heathrow.
In 1936 Supermarine opened a test flight facility on the site, followed shortly thereafter by the opening of the Cunliffe-Owen Aircraft factory on the southern end of the runway. Both companies later closed their Southampton operations, Supermarine moving flying activities to Chilbolton, and the Cunliffe-Owen factory being acquired by Briggs Motor Bodies during 1949 – 1951 who were taken over by Ford in 1953. This factory is still in use, although now located off-field due to the opening of the M27 motorway in 1983. The Cierva Autogiro Company rented portions of the Cunliffe-Owen plants starting in 1946, and had to move to another location on the field when it was acquired by Briggs. In 1951 Saunders-Roe (commonly abbreviated Saro) took over the interests of Cierva Autogyro and built a rotor testing building on the eastern side of the airfield, which is now derelict. They continued operations on the field until about 1960.
Southampton airport only has one main ground handler which is Swissport (Servisair), who took over from Aviance. They handle all passenger services and ramp operations for all airlines except for Aurigny Air services who operate their own ground handling,
In 2016 the airport won the Airport of the Year award, awarded by European Regional Airlines Association, having demonstrated extraordinary involvement with the local community and reducing its carbon footprint, whilst growing and expanding in a highly competitive market.
First Spitfire test flight
On 5 March 1936 the first test flight of the Supermarine Spitfire took place at the airport, an event commemorated in 2004 by the erection of a near-full size sculpture of K5054, the prototype Spitfire, at the road entrance.
On 5 March 2006 five restored Spitfires took off from Southampton Airport to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the first test flight of the Spitfire. The local council wanted to rename the airport after R. J. Mitchell, designer of the Spitfire. However, the airport owner at the time, Heathrow Airport Holdings, did not agree.
Airlines and destinations
The following airlines offer regular scheduled and charter services to and from Southampton:
|Updated: 10 April 2015.|
|Number of Passengers||Aircraft movements||Cargo
|Source: CAA Official Statistics|
|1||United Kingdom – Edinburgh||203,151|
|2||United Kingdom – Glasgow||173,007|
|3||JER – Jersey||154,962|
|4||Republic of Ireland – Dublin||137,798|
|5||Guernsey – Guernsey||136,000|
|6||Netherlands – Amsterdam||125,210|
|7||United Kingdom – Manchester||121,665|
|8||United Kingdom – Belfast City||106,651|
|9||United Kingdom – Newcastle||99,501|
|10||France – Paris Orly||77,539|
|11||Spain – Alicante||42,821|
|12||Spain – Malaga||42,352|
|13||France – Bergerac||34,272|
|14||France – Nantes||29,708|
|15||Spain – Palma De Mallorca||24,864|
Southampton Airport is served by a dedicated mainline railway station, Southampton Airport Parkway. On the South Western Main Line from London Waterloo (just 66 minutes away) and Winchester (15 minutes away) and Southampton (City centre is approximately 7 minutes away) to Bournemouth, Poole, Dorchester and Weymouth with a fast and frequent service to those places. The station is conveniently located just a 60-second walk from the terminal (one of the closest airport links across Europe).
Unilink/Bluestar Buses run to Southampton city centre and takes approximately 45min and run every 20 minutes throughout the day; taxis are available outside Arrivals and need to be booked (desk in the Arrivals).
Accidents and incidents
- On 10 June 1990, British Airways Flight 5390 suffered an explosive decompression while flying from Birmingham to Málaga, Spain. With captain Tim Lancaster sucked halfway out of the cockpit, co-pilot Alastair Atchison managed to land the plane safely at Southampton with no fatalities. This accident appeared on the National Geographic television programme 'Air Crash Investigation' ( known as 'Mayday' in the United States).
- On 26 May 1993, a Cessna 550 Citation II landed with a tailwind of 15 kn (28 km/h; 17 mph), where the operating manual recommended a maximum safe tailwind of 10 kn (19 km/h; 12 mph), which itself resulted in a landing distance requirement greater than that available at the airport. The plane overran the runway through the airport perimeter fence and onto the M27 motorway where it collided with two cars and caught fire. The two flight crew sustained minor whiplash injuries, and the three car occupants also sustained minor injuries. The aircraft was destroyed.
- Southampton – EGHI
- "Aircraft and passenger traffic data from UK airports". UK Civil Aviation Authority. 25 March 2016. Retrieved 3 April 2016.
- "Who we are". Heathrow Airport Holdings. 2013. Retrieved 28 January 2013.
- MONUMENT NO. 230032, Pastscape, retrieved 29 May 2012
- Mann, John Edgar (2002). Book of the Stonehams. Tiverton: Halsgrove. p. 25. ISBN 1-84114-213-1.
- "Centenary of flight". Hampshire County Council. 28 January 2010. Retrieved 27 February 2010.
- BAA Southampton Official Airport Website
- How Southampton became 'home' to the Ford Transit van
- "Aberdeen, Glasgow and Southampton airports sold in £1bn deal". BBC News. 16 October 2014. Retrieved 20 October 2014.
- "Southampton Airport flying high after being awarded as the best in Europe". Daily Echo. 18 October 2016.
- Airport rename to honour Spitfire
- Airport Spitfire rename supported
- "Travel to Southampton city centre". Retrieved 17 January 2014.
- Aircraft Accident Report No. 1/92
- "Report on the accident to Cessna 550 Citation II, G-JETB at Southampton (Eastleigh) Airport on 26 May 1993". UK AAIB. Retrieved 7 April 2008.
Media related to Southampton Airport at Wikimedia Commons