|Owner||Seven Metropolitan Boroughs of West Midlands (49%), the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan (48.25%) and employees (2.75%)|
|Operator||Birmingham Airport Ltd|
|Serves||Birmingham, United Kingdom|
|Location||Bickenhill, Solihull, United Kingdom|
|Focus city for|
|Elevation AMSL||341 ft / 104 m|
Birmingham Airport (IATA: BHX, ICAO: EGBB), formerly Birmingham International Airport and before that, Elmdon Airport, is an international airport located 7 nautical miles (13 km; 8.1 mi) east-southeast of Birmingham city centre, slightly north of Bickenhill in the Metropolitan Borough of Solihull, England. It has a CAA Public Use Aerodrome Licence (Number P451) that allows flights for the public transport of passengers or for flying instruction. Passenger throughput in 2017 was over 12.9 million, making Birmingham the seventh busiest UK airport. The airport offers both domestic flights within the UK and international flights to destinations in Europe, the Middle East, the Indian subcontinent, North America, and the Caribbean. Birmingham Airport is an operating base for Flybe, Jet2.com, Ryanair, TUI Airways and previously Thomas Cook Airlines.
Birmingham Airport is 5.5 NM (10.2 km; 6.3 mi) east-south-east of Birmingham city centre, in the Metropolitan Borough of Solihull. It is bordered by the National Exhibition Centre to the east, Marston Green to the north, Sheldon to the west, the village of Bickenhill to the south, and the village of Elmdon to the south west.
It is primarily served by the A45 main road, and is near Junction 6 of the M42 motorway. It is connected by the elevated AirRail Link with Birmingham International railway station on the West Coast Main Line.
The airport's location south-east of the city, plus the only operational runway being north-west south-east (15/33), means that depending on wind direction, aircraft land or take-off directly over Birmingham. The relatively short north-east south-west runway (06/24) is not operational, and has been incorporated into the taxiway for aircraft departing the end of runway 33, or gaining access to runway 15.
On 8 July 1939 the Duchess of Kent, Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark opened Elmdon Airport. The airport was owned and operated by Birmingham City Council. Initial services flew to Croydon, Glasgow, Liverpool, Ryde, Shoreham, Manchester, and Southampton.
During World War II the airport was requisitioned by the Air Ministry and was used by the RAF and the Royal Navy as RAF Elmdon, an Elementary Flying School and a base for the Fleet Air Arm. During this time, the original grass strip was replaced by two hard runways: 06/24 at 2,469 feet (753 m) and 15/33 at 4,170 feet (1,271 m). Avro Lancaster and Stirling bombers manufactured at the Austin Aero Company's shadow factory at Cofton Hackett could not take off from the short runways at Longbridge. Instead they were transported by road, minus the wings that would be attached at Elmdon. They were test flown from the aerodrome, and once declared airworthy they were flown to their operational units. On 8 July 1948, the aerodrome returned to civilian use, though still under government control.
During the post-war years, public events, such as air fairs and air races were held on the site. In 1961, an additional terminal building to handle international traffic was opened, called The International Building. The main runway was extended to 7,400 feet (1.4 miles) to allow jet operations, including introducing VC-10 services to New York in 1967.
The 620 metre Maglev rail link train between the airport terminal and nearby railway station opened in April 1984. The Maglev rail link closed in 1995 after 11 years, following a string of breakdowns.
The government limited public sector borrowing applied in 1993. This meant that the airport could only expand by using private sector finance. 51% of the local council shares were sold to restructure the airport into a private sector company, enabling a £260 million restructuring programme to begin in 1997.
In June 2006, a new turnoff from the main runway was completed and saw an improvement in traffic rates on southerly operations; previously the only available exit option for landing traffic had been at the end of the runway.
The airport published a master plan for its development up to 2030 in November 2007, called "Towards 2030: Planning a Sustainable Future for Air Transport in the Midlands". This set out details of changes to the terminals, airfield layout and off-site infrastructure. As with all large scale plans, the proposals were controversial, with opposition from environmentalists and local residents. In particular, the requirement for a second parallel runway based on projected demand was disputed by opponents. Plans for a second runway (a third when demand requires) on the other side of the M42 and a new terminal complex and business park have been published, and they could help to create around 250,000 jobs. It has been estimated that if these plans went ahead, the airport could handle around 70,000,000 passengers annually, and around 500,000 aircraft movements.
In January 2008, the shorter runway (06/24) was decommissioned. It had been used less often due to its short length, noise impact, and its inconvenient position crossing the main runway, making it uneconomic to continue operation. The closure also allowed for apron expansion on both sides of the main runway. However runway 06/24 remains open as a taxiway and a helicopter airstrip. In the same month, plans for the extension of the airport runway and the construction of a new air traffic control tower were submitted to Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council.
In June 2008, work began on building the new three-storey International Pier. It was officially opened on 9 September 2009. As part of the airport's 70th anniversary, the airport welcomed the Airbus A380 as the first user of the pier. The special service was the first commercial A380 flight in the UK outside London Heathrow Airport. The new pier is 240 metres long and 24 metres wide. Departing passengers are accommodated on the top level, with arriving passengers on the middle level and office accommodation for airline and handling agents on the ground floor. The new facility provides air-bridged aircraft parking for seven wide-bodied aircraft and enough space for 13 smaller aircraft. It can accommodate 'next generation' environmentally-efficient wide-bodied aircraft such as the Airbus A380, the A340-600, the Boeing 747-8, and the Boeing 777X. The new pier also has a new lounge for business class Emirates passengers. In March 2009, the runway extension plans were approved.
In September 2010, it was announced that after the merging of Terminals 1 and 2 into a single building facility in 2011, the airport would drop the "International" from its official name to become "Birmingham Airport'".  A Midlands-based marketing agency was recruited to "create a new corporate identity that reflects Birmingham Airport's current position in the market place, as well as its future potential". Figures from Birmingham Airport show that 8 million people live within a one hour's drive of the airport, but less than 40% of them use it. It is hoped that the rebrand will make the airport "more visible to the market". In November 2010 the new name started to be used. The new logo, interlocking circles in shades of blue, and slogan, "Hello World", were designed to reflect the airport's new positioning as a global travel hub.
In January 2011 the spectators gallery, 'Aviation Experience And Gift Shop', above Terminal 1 closed indefinitely. In the same month, the airport merged its two terminals into a single Terminal Building. This involved building two new floors. A new Lower Ground Floor accommodates the new Arrivals and Meet & Greet area. The 3rd floor was built in the Millennium Link and the two terminals to accommodate the new Centralised Security Search area. In July 2011 construction of a new control tower began, to replace the old tower used since the airport opened in 1939. The new air traffic control tower was completed in March 2012. In summer 2012, the new air traffic control tower's equipment was installed and testing and training began.
On 23 February 2011 it was reported that Birmingham Airport had announced that the High Speed 2 extension could be a solution to runway capacity problems in London: they said it would be quicker to get to London from Birmingham than from LondonStansted once completed, and claimed that the airport had capacity for nine million more passengers.
An Olympic ceremony was held at the airport on 23 April 2012. The Olympic rings were unveiled on the tower and could be seen from the A45 road and the main terminal building. This was to commemorate the build-up to the London 2012 Olympic Games. These rings were removed once the Olympic Games officially closed, just before the 2012 Summer Paralympics began.
In autumn 2012, construction of the runway extension began. The extension to the southern end of the runway originally required the A45 Coventry Road to be diverted into a tunnel under the extended section, but to cut costs, it was diverted south of the runway instead. In Summer 2013 the new air traffic control tower became fully operational; the old carriageway of the A45 was closed and the new carriageway was opened. In May 2014, the 400-metre runway extension was officially opened. Improvements to the taxiways were completed one month later.
The Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan, a Canadian institutional investor, increased its stake in the airport to 48.25% in early 2015. It also owns 100% of Bristol Airport. Birmingham handled over 11.6 million passengers in 2016, a record total for the airport, making it the seventh busiest UK airport.
On 28 September 2016, £100 million of investment was allocated to the airport. It plans to put into place a new baggage handling systems and two new car parks, including a drop-off car park.
Birmingham Airport currently features two interconnecting terminals labelled as Terminal 1 and Terminal 2. Between the two terminals is the Millennium Link building, constructed in 2000, which houses shops, restaurants and service counters. In the terminals themselves, security areas, check-points and a large airside area equipped with more shops, restaurants and bars are located on the first floor. There are 48 departure gates, with gates 120 located in Terminal 2 and gates 4068 in Terminal 1. Terminal 2 features nine stands equipped with jet-bridges as well as three walk-boarding stands while Terminal 1 features 11 stands with jet-bridges of which some are able to handle wide-body aircraft.
Terminal 1 was opened on 3 April 1984, seventeen years after the original plans to construct a new terminal to ease congestion in the original Elmdon Terminal (Grade II listed since August 2018 and used for private and official flights). Since then, T1 has been extended multiple times to accommodate the increase in both passenger numbers and aircraft movements.
Terminal 2 (also known as Eurohub) was opened in 1991. European carriers including Air France, BMI and KLM switched from T1 to T2 to focus on the "Hub & Spoke" model of air transport. British Airways also moved its European and domestic operations in to T2, leaving predominately international flights from BA and non-European carriers operating out from T1.
Plans for the extension of the airport's current runway, and the construction of the new air traffic control tower, were submitted to Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council in January 2008, and approved in March 2009. The construction of the runway extension, and the new air traffic control tower, began in March 2011. The extension to the southern end of the runway originally required the A45 Coventry Road to be diverted into a tunnel under the extended section, but to cut costs, it was diverted to the south of the runway. However, a tunnel under the runway's southern end is due for construction In the early 2020s when expansion to the south goes ahead. In August 2013, the old carriageway of the A45 road was closed, and the new carriageway was opened.
Originally, the target for completion was in time for the 2012 London Olympics and Paralympics. However, work began in late 2012, and the runway was completed in early May 2014. The runway extension began to be used by aircraft in May 2014, and was officially opened on 22 July 2014, when China Southern Airlines operated its first charter flight between Birmingham and Beijing. This was the first aircraft that needed to make use of the new runway length. The extension caused controversy as more than 2000 local residents complained about the increased noise levels due to the new flight path around the airport that was required after the runway was extended.
The following airlines operate regular scheduled and charter services to and from Birmingham:
|Aer Lingus Regional||Cork, Dublin, Shannon|
|Air Arabia Maroc||Agadir|
|Air France||ParisCharles de Gaulle|
|Air India||Amritsar, Delhi|
|Air Malta||Seasonal: Malta|
|Austrian Airlines|| Vienna|
Seasonal charter: Innsbruck
|BH Air||Seasonal: Burgas|
|Blue Air||Bucharest, Larnaca (ends 26 October 2019)|
|easyJet||BelfastInternational, Edinburgh (begins 29 March 2020), Geneva, Glasgow (begins 29 March 2020)|
|Flybe|| Aberdeen, Amsterdam, BelfastCity, BerlinTegel, Düsseldorf, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Guernsey, Hamburg (ends 25 October 2019), Hanover (ends 25 October 2019), Inverness, Isle of Man, Jersey, Knock, MilanMalpensa, ParisCharles de Gaulle, Stuttgart |
Seasonal: Avignon, Bastia, Bergerac, Biarritz, Bordeaux, Brest, Chambéry, Geneva, La Rochelle, Nantes, Newquay
Seasonal charter: Innsbruck, Kefalonia, Lleida, Preveza/Lefkada, Turin
|Jet2.com|| Alicante, Antalya, Budapest (begins 8 November 2019), Faro, Fuerteventura, Funchal, Gran Canaria, Kraków, Lanzarote, Málaga, Palma de Mallorca, Paphos, Prague, RomeFiumicino, TenerifeSouth |
Seasonal: Almería, Bergerac, Bodrum, Burgas, Chania, Corfu, Dalaman, Dubrovnik, Geneva, Girona, Grenoble, Heraklion, Ibiza, Innsbruck (begins 21 December 2019), zmir, Kefalonia (begins 6 May 2020), Kos, Larnaca, Malta, Menorca, Murcia (begins 22 May 2020), Naples, Nice (begins 22 May 2020), Pisa, Preveza/Lefkada (begins 24 May 2020), Pula, Reus, Rhodes, Salzburg, Split, Thessaloniki, Turin, Venice, Verona, Vienna, Zakynthos
|Lauda||Vienna (begins 29 October 2019)|
|Pakistan International Airlines||Islamabad|
|Ryanair|| Alicante, Barcelona, Bratislava, Bydgoszcz, Dublin, Faro, Fuerteventura, Gdask, Gran Canaria, Katowice, Kraków, Lanzarote, Madrid, Málaga, Malta, Murcia, Palma de Mallorca, Porto, Sofia, TenerifeSouth, Verona, WarsawModlin |
Seasonal: Chania, Corfu, Girona, Ibiza, Perpignan, Reus
|Swiss International Air Lines||Zürich|
|Titan Airways||Seasonal charter: Chambéry, Lourdes/Tarbes|
|TUI Airways|| Agadir, Alicante, Boa Vista, Cancún, Enfidha, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Hurghada, Lanzarote, Málaga, Marrakesh, Marsa Alam (begins 16 December 2019), Montego Bay, Paphos, Sal, TenerifeSouth |
Seasonal: Alghero, Antalya, Barbados, Bodrum, Burgas, Catania, Chania, Corfu, Dalaman, Dubrovnik, Faro, Girona, Heraklion, Ibiza, zmir, Kavala, Kefalonia, Kos, Langkawi, Larnaca, Malta, Menorca, Naples, Orlando/Sanford, Palma de Mallorca, PattayaU-Tapao, Podgorica, Porto Santo, Pula, Punta Cana, Reus, Rhodes, Rovaniemi, Salzburg, Santorini, Skiathos, Thessaloniki, Verona, Zakynthos
Seasonal charter: Chambéry, Innsbruck, Kuusamo, Sofia, Toulouse, Turin
|Wizz Air||Bucharest, Budapest, Cluj-Napoca, Kraków, Pozna, WarsawChopin, Wrocaw|
|FedEx Express||Manchester, ParisCharles de Gaulle|
|Birmingham Airport Passenger Totals|
|Source: UK Civil Aviation Authority|
Birmingham Airport is served by Birmingham International railway station. The station is on the West Coast Main Line between Birmingham and London, and trains are operated by West Midlands Trains, Virgin Trains, TfW Rail, and CrossCountry. Access between the railway station and the airport terminal is provided by free AirRail Link.
As part of Phase 1 of the High Speed 2 rail link, a new railway station called Birmingham Interchange will be built to serve both the airport and the National Exhibition Centre. The station will be built on the far side of the M42 motorway and connect to the airport using a "rapid transit people mover". High Speed 2 is currently planned for completion by 2026.
National Express West Midlands operates the main bus routes calling at Birmingham Airport, those being the X1 to Birmingham city centre and Coventry, and the X12 to Chelmsley Wood and Solihull. Other smaller operators also call at the airport. Bus stops are situated outside Terminal One. Most buses are operated by National Express West Midlands.
Birmingham Airport is accessible from the north and south via Junction Six of the M42 motorway. From Birmingham city centre, the A45 runs directly to the airport. Charges apply in some areas even for very short periods of time, with locations farther from the airport being cheaper than those near the airport.
The only cycle route available heads south over the A45 travelling towards Solihull. Birmingham Airport has however published "recommended routes" for cyclists. Free short term cycle parking is available close to the terminal. For longer stays, bicycles must be stored in the Left Luggage for a charge.
Media related to Birmingham Airport at Wikimedia Commons