Southampton Airport

Coordinates: 50°57′01″N 001°21′24″W / 50.95028°N 1.35667°W / 50.95028; -1.35667
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Southampton Airport
Airport typePublic
OwnerAGS Airports
OperatorSouthampton International Airport Ltd.
ServesSouthampton, Portsmouth, Winchester, Salisbury, New Forest, Hampshire
LocationSouthampton, Hampshire, England[1]
Opened1932 (1932)
Focus city for
Elevation AMSL44 ft / 13 m
Coordinates50°57′01″N 001°21′24″W / 50.95028°N 1.35667°W / 50.95028; -1.35667 Edit this at Wikidata
EGHI is located in Hampshire
Location in Hampshire
Direction Length Surface
m ft
02/20 1,887 6,191 Asphalt
Statistics (2023)
Passenger change 22-23Increase20%
Aircraft movements21,998
Movements change 22–23Increase35%
Source: United Kingdom AIP[1]
Statistics from the UK Civil Aviation Authority[2]

Southampton Airport (IATA: SOU, ICAO: EGHI) is an international airport located in both Eastleigh and Southampton, Hampshire, in the United Kingdom. The airport is located 3.5 nautical miles (6.5 km; 4.0 mi) north-north-east of central Southampton.[1] The southern tip of the runway lies within the Southampton unitary authority boundary with most of the airport, including all of the terminal buildings, within the Borough of Eastleigh.[3][4]

The airport handled nearly two million passengers during 2016, an 8.8% increase compared with 2015,[2] 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. The 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).[5]

Up to March 2020, 95% of the flights from Southampton were operated by Flybe. However, the airline went into administration on 5 March 2020 with all flights cancelled.[6] When Flybe was purchased and relaunched, it was announced that they would start serving Southampton Airport from the 23 July 2022.[7] The reincarnated Flybe ultimately ceased operations 9 months after its relaunch.


Aviation began at the site in 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.[8] The site became known as Eastleigh Airfield.[9]

First World War[edit]

The Royal Flying Corps earmarked the site as an aircraft acceptance base during the First World War, but when forces from the United States Navy Air Service (NAS) arrived in 1917 it was handed over to them and designated NAS Eastleigh.[10][11] Work on the building of hangars which had begun under the Royal Flying Corps was accelerated.[9] 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.[9]

Inter-War years[edit]

"Map of Air Routes and Landing Places in Great Britain, as temporarily arranged by the Air Ministry for civilian flying", published in 1919, showing "Eastleigh" as a "military and civil station".

After the war, the site became a transit camp for refugees, mainly Russian, who wished to sail to America from the port of Southampton. 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.[citation needed]

The hostel was intended as a short-term clearing house for those trans-migrants changing ships, but following changes to United States immigration law which restricted entry 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 to the countries they had fled. Atlantic Park had a school, library, and synagogue; 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 numbers started to fall away, leading to the closure of the hostel in 1931.[citation needed]

In 1932, Southampton Corporation purchased the site, and it became Southampton Municipal Airport. By 1935, part of the site was being used by the Royal Air Force (RAF) and was briefly known as RAF Eastleigh before it became RAF Southampton in 1936. Also in 1936, Supermarine opened a flight test facility on the site and built a large new Flight Shed at the south end of the aerodrome in 1937-38, and construction of the vast Cunliffe-Owen Aircraft factory between this and Wide Lane soon followed. The latter factory was better known post-war for production of the Ford Motor Company's Transit vans until this finally closed in 2013 - leaving only the almost forgotten Supermarine Flight Shed which had accommodated so many Spitfires locally before their first flights and deliveries to the RAF. Sadly, despite its obvious historical significance, this 84-year-old building is now set for demolition and redevelopment with modern industrial units.

Second World War[edit]

The first test flight of the Supermarine Spitfire took place at the airport on 5 March 1936, an event commemorated in 2004 by the erection of a two-thirds 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.[12][13]

The military site was transferred to naval command in 1939 and renamed RNAS Eastleigh (HMS Raven), and spent most of the war in a ground and air training role for the Royal Navy.[14] It passed back into civilian ownership in April 1946.

Development after the Second World War[edit]

The Cierva Autogiro Company rented portions of the Cunliffe-Owen plants from 1946, but had to move to another location on the field when it was acquired by Briggs. In 1951, Saunders-Roe 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.

During the 1950s, a mainstay of business for the airport was the cross-channel car ferry service operated by Silver City Airways using Bristol Freighters and Superfreighters.

In 1959, Southampton (Eastleigh) Airport was purchased by racing pilot J.N. 'Nat' Somers, who laid the foundation for the regional airport that exists today by building the concrete runway in 1963 and negotiating with British Rail to build Southampton Airport Parkway railway station next to the airport. Somers also worked with the Department of Transport to plan for the new M27 motorway to pass through the airport just south of the runway and north of Ford's plant, at the same time installing a major roundabout outside the airport. This forward-thinking programme encouraged most of the airlines at Bournemouth Hurn to move to Southampton in the mid-1960s. In 1988 Somers' company sold the airport to Peter de Savary, who a few years later sold it to the owners of London Heathrow.

In 1993, construction of a new terminal began after an investment of £27 million by Heathrow Airport Holdings. It was completed in 1994 and opened by Prince Andrew, the Duke of York.

21st century[edit]

Southampton Airport has one main ground handler, Swissport (Servisair), who took over from Aviance. They handle all passenger services and apron operations for all airlines except for Aurigny Air Services who operate their own ground handling.

In 2003, the airport reached one million passengers.

In 2010, the airport arranged a series of events to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the first flight at the airport.[15] In 2012, the Olympic flame visited the airport as part of the torch relay for the 2012 Olympics, in London. In October 2014, Heathrow Airport Holdings reached an agreement to sell the airport, together with those at Glasgow and Aberdeen, for £1 billion to AGS Airports, a consortium of Ferrovial and Macquarie Group.[16]

In 2016 the airport won the Airport of the Year award of the 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.[17] In March of the same year, Aer Lingus Regional announced it would fly from Southampton to Cork Airport with an ATR 72, operated by Stobart Air. In 2017, the airport reached two million passengers. In 2019 Southampton was ranked third of 30 airports in the UK for customer satisfaction by Which? magazine, with a score of 77%.[18] On 5 June Air Force One touched down in Southampton carrying then president, Donald Trump. He then travelled to Portsmouth to mark the 75th anniversary of D-Day. The Boeing 757 was the biggest jet ever to visit Southampton.[19]

On the 9 December 2020, British Airways (BA Cityflyer) announced they would fly to 13 destinations, mainly holiday destinations, to Spain, Portugal, France, Austria, Italy and Greece. These flights filled the void left by Flybe.[20]

On the 25 May 2023, easyJet announced that they would start flying to 2 domestic destinations, twice weekly to Glasgow and thrice weekly to Belfast International with the first flights starting end of October. On the 7 November 2023, easyJet yet again announced they would start flying to 2 summer destinations, those being Faro once a week and Alicante once a week. Not long after, easyJet announced the third summer route, a twice weekly service to Palma de Mallorca.


Apron at Southampton Airport
Interior view


Southampton Airport has one terminal which has 12 stands. None of the stands are equipped with jet bridges. Inside the terminal, there are 13 check-in desks. Facilities include coffee shops, bars, stationers, a duty-free shop and an upstairs lounge.


Southampton has one asphalt runway. Historically, there were three runways: one following the current one, one intersecting the current runway at 90 degrees at the north side of the airfield, and one which crossed through the middle of the current runway. It is clearly visible where the northern runway was: it is why there is a panhandle at the north east of the airfield. All these runways were grass. The only remaining runway is 02/20 which is now 1887 metres long and 37 metres wide. Only runway 20 has an Instrument Landing System. 02 has VOR/DME and NDB. Visual approach is allowed on both 02 and 20. The airport must close from 23:00 to 06:00, but can operate 10 flights monthly between those times. Helicopters are heavily restricted.

In September 2019, the airport announced plans to extend its runway north by 164m to allow it to support larger aircraft which would enable longer routes. The airport stated aims to increase passenger numbers from 2 million to 5 million by 2037.[21] The managing director for Southampton Airport claimed that if the runway extension is not approved, the airport may have to close in 2021.[22] Work commenced on the 164m runway extension on March 31, 2023.[23] The new 164m runway extension become operational on August 15, 2023 (an official opening took place on September 21, 2023).[24][25]

Airlines and destinations[edit]

The following airlines operate regular scheduled services to and from Southampton:[26]

Aer Lingus Belfast–City, Dublin[27]
Aurigny Alderney, Guernsey
Blue Islands[28] Guernsey, Jersey
British Airways[29] Seasonal: Bergerac, Chambéry, Faro, Málaga, Palma de Mallorca
Eastern Airways Paris–Charles de Gaulle[30]
easyJet Belfast–International, Glasgow
Seasonal: Alicante,[31] Faro (begins 23 May 2024),[32] Geneva, Palma de Mallorca (begins 29 April 2024)[33]
KLM Amsterdam
Loganair Aberdeen,[34] Edinburgh, Glasgow, Newcastle upon Tyne, Stornoway[34]


Passenger numbers[edit]

Southampton Airport Passenger Totals 2001–2020 (thousands)
Updated: June 2021.[2]
Number of Passengers Aircraft movements Cargo
2001 857,670 48,204 332
2002 789,325 46,767 382
2003 1,218,634 51,423 322
2004 1,530,776 54,484 272
2005 1,835,784 58,045 204
2006 1,912,979 55,786 195
2007 1,965,686 54,183 297
2008 1,945,993 50,689 264
2009 1,789,901 45,502 209
2010 1,733,690 45,350 116
2011 1,762,076 45,700 132
2012 1,694,120 43,284 359
2013 1,722,758 40,501 133
2014 1,831,732 40,374 133
2015 1,789,470 39,379 185
2016 1,947,052 42,824 173
2017 2,069,910 39,285 200
2018 1,991,014 39,651 233
2019 1,781,457 36,473 203
2020 296,094 10,931 69
2021 263,131 8,464 23
2022 631,458 16,253 22
Source: CAA Official Statistics[2]

Busiest routes[edit]

Two-thirds scale model Supermarine Spitfire prototype K5054 at Southampton Airport
Busiest routes to and from Southampton (2022)[35]
Rank Airport Total
1 Jersey 99,892 Increase 85.7% Blue Islands
2 Guernsey 97,364 Increase 97.3% Aurigny, Blue Islands
3 Edinburgh 81,766 Increase 132.1% British Airways, Loganair
4 Glasgow 75,002 Increase 136.6% Loganair
5 Belfast City (George Best) 61,422 Increase 243.2% Aer Lingus
6 Amsterdam 52,779 Increase 461.4% KLM
7 Newcastle 39,622 Increase 104.6% Loganair
8 Dublin 30,561 Increase 300.2% Aer Lingus, British Airways, Eastern Airways
9 Alderney 17,175 Increase 104.5% Aurigny
10 Palma de Mallorca 12,768 Increase 263.1% British Airways

Ground transport[edit]


Southampton Airport has a dedicated mainline railway station, Southampton Airport Parkway. It is on the South West Main Line from London Waterloo (66 minutes away) to Winchester (15 minutes away), Southampton (city centre about 7 minutes away), Bournemouth, Poole, Dorchester and Weymouth, with a fast and frequent service to those places. The station is a 60-second walk from the terminal, one of the closest airport links in Europe.


Unilink buses run to Southampton city centre every 10–15 minutes throughout the day and take about 45 minutes; taxis are available outside Arrivals.[36] Bluestar also runs services between Eastleigh and Hedge End aboard their 24 service hourly.


The airport is near the junction between the M3 motorway and M27 motorway, giving easy road access to Southampton, Winchester, Bournemouth, Poole, Portsmouth and places between.


Southampton Airport has designated parking and storage for bicycles. Southampton cycle route 7 is proposed to run just outside the airport, giving it a direct cycle path to the city centre. National Cycle Route 23 also runs outside the airport, running between Southampton and Reading via Basingstoke, Alresford, Winchester and Eastleigh.

Accidents and incidents[edit]

  • On 10 June 1990, British Airways Flight 5390 suffered an explosive decompression over Didcot, Oxfordshire 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. Two crew members including Lancaster were seriously injured, but all passengers were unharmed. This accident appeared on the National Geographic television programme Air Crash Investigation (known as Mayday in some countries).[37]
  • On 26 May 1993, a Cessna 550 Citation II landed with a tailwind of 15 kn (28 km/h; 17 mph), while the operating manual recommended a maximum safe tailwind of 10 kn (19 km/h; 12 mph); this 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.[38]


  • The airport has a Southampton address,[39] but is located in both Eastleigh and Southampton. Administrative authority is divided between Southampton City Council and Eastleigh Borough Council.[40]


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  2. ^ a b c d "Aircraft and passenger traffic data from UK airports". UK Civil Aviation Authority. 21 March 2023. Archived from the original on 11 February 2017. Retrieved 25 March 2023.
  3. ^ "Cadcorp Web Map Layers". Web Map Layers. Retrieved 4 July 2022.
  4. ^ "Wards Map". Retrieved 4 July 2022.
  5. ^ "Who we are". Heathrow Airport Holdings. 2013. Archived from the original on 18 January 2013. Retrieved 28 January 2013.
  6. ^ "Flybe 'set to go into administration overnight and cease operations immediately'". ITV News. 4 March 2020. Retrieved 5 March 2020.
  7. ^ "Our network | Summer 2022 | flybe". Retrieved 14 July 2022.
  8. ^ Mann, John Edgar (2002). Book of the Stonehams. Tiverton: Halsgrove. p. 25. ISBN 1-84114-213-1.
  9. ^ a b c "Eastleigh Airfield – History of Bishopstoke, Hampshire". Retrieved 4 July 2022.
  10. ^ "Naval Air Station Eastleigh". Retrieved 29 March 2022.
  11. ^ "SOUTHAMPTON/EASTLEIGH Airport". Retrieved 4 July 2022.
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  13. ^ "Airport Spitfire rename supported". 21 April 2006. Archived from the original on 24 December 2006. Retrieved 21 April 2006.
  14. ^ "BAA Southampton Official Airport Website". Archived from the original on 21 August 2008.
  15. ^ "Centenary of flight". Hampshire County Council. 28 January 2010. Archived from the original on 21 October 2010. Retrieved 27 February 2010.
  16. ^ "Aberdeen, Glasgow and Southampton airports sold in £1bn deal". BBC News. 16 October 2014. Archived from the original on 19 October 2014. Retrieved 20 October 2014.
  17. ^ "Southampton Airport flying high after being awarded as the best in Europe". Daily Echo. 18 October 2016. Archived from the original on 20 October 2016. Retrieved 18 October 2016.
  18. ^ Smith, Oliver (9 September 2019). "Revealed: Britain's best and worst airports". The Telegraph. Retrieved 9 September 2019.
  19. ^ "VIDEO: Donald Trump arrives at Southampton Airport". 6 June 2019.
  20. ^ "British Airways launches flights from Southampton airport".
  21. ^ "Longer runway in Southampton Airport 20-year plan". BBC News. 19 September 2018. Retrieved 14 March 2021.
  22. ^ "Southampton Airport expansion: closure warning over runway plans". BBC News. 10 October 2020. Retrieved 14 March 2021.
  23. ^ "Southampton Airport breaks ground on runway extension project | Southampton Airport".
  24. ^ "Southampton Airport first flight takes off from new runway extension/". 15 August 2023.
  25. ^ "Southampton airport opens runway extension". Business Traveller. Retrieved 24 September 2023.
  26. ^ - Flight Timetables retrieved 1 November 2020
  27. ^ "Aer Lingus Regional announces new winter services".
  28. ^ "Cheap flights from Southampton".
  29. ^ "Fly to Europe from Southampton with British Airways".
  30. ^ "Eastern Airways switches Paris services from Orly to CDG". March 2024.
  31. ^ "EasyJet operará 11 nuevas rutas gracias a la apertura de la base de operaciones".
  32. ^ "News for Airlines, Airports and the Aviation Industry | CAPA".
  33. ^ "EasyJet expands Southampton flights with new route to Majorca". 28 November 2023.
  34. ^ a b "Airline offering cheaper flights in Southampton Airport sale". 21 September 2023.
  35. ^ "Airport Data 2022". UK Civil Aviation Authority. 21 March 2023. Tables 12.1(XLS) and 12.3 (XLS). Retrieved 25 March 2023.
  36. ^ "Travel to Southampton city centre". Archived from the original on 20 November 2011. Retrieved 17 January 2014.
  37. ^ "BAC One-Eleven, G-BJRT: Main document" (PDF). 9 March 2005. Archived from the original (PDF) on 9 March 2005.
  38. ^ "Report on the accident to Cessna 550 Citation II, G-JETB at Southampton (Eastleigh) Airport on 26 May 1993". UK AAIB. Archived from the original on 22 October 2008. Retrieved 7 April 2008.
  39. ^ "SOUTHAMPTON INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT LIMITED". Companies House. Government of the United Kingdom. Retrieved 12 March 2021.
  40. ^ "Southampton International Airport" (PDF). Southampton City Council. 28 January 2020. p. 2. Retrieved 23 March 2021. The majority of the airport site....falls within the administrative boundary of Eastleigh Borough Council. The southern part of the airport falls within the administrative boundary of Southampton

External links[edit]