East Midlands Airport
|Serves||Nottingham, Leicester, Derby, Lincoln and Birmingham|
|Location||Castle Donington, Leicestershire, England, UK|
|Focus city for|
|Elevation AMSL||306 ft / 93 m|
East Midlands Airport (IATA: EMA, ICAO: EGNX) is an international airport in the East Midlands of England, close to Castle Donington, Leicestershire, between Loughborough (10 miles (16 km)), Derby (12.5 miles (20 km)) and Nottingham (14 miles (23 km)); Leicester is (20 miles (32 km)) to the south. The airfield was originally built as a Royal Air Force station known as RAF Castle Donington in 1943, before being redeveloped as a civilian airport in 1965.
East Midlands Airport has established itself as a hub for low-fare airlines such as Jet2.com and Ryanair and tour operators like TUI Airways, which serve a range of domestic and European short-haul destinations. It is also a base for Flybe and Thomas Cook Airlines. Passenger numbers peaked in 2008 at 5.6 million but had declined to around 4.5 million in 2015, making it the 11th-busiest airport in the UK by passenger traffic. A major air cargo hub, it was the second-busiest UK airport for freight traffic in 2016, after London Heathrow.
The airport is owned by the Manchester Airports Group (MAG), the largest British-owned airport operator, which is controlled by the ten metropolitan borough councils of Greater Manchester, with Manchester City Council retaining the controlling stake.
RAF Castle Donington was opened as a Royal Air Force station in 1943, during the second world war. The airfield was equipped with three concrete runways, together with two hangars, and was a satellite airfield to RAF Wymeswold, situated some 9 miles (14 km) to the south-east. Initially the airfield was used by 28 Operational Training Unit, training RAF Bomber Command crews on the Vickers Wellington, and subsequently by 108 Operational Training Unit, later renamed 1382 Transport Conversion Unit, training RAF Transport Command crews on the Douglas Dakota. The airfield closed and the air force station was decommissioned in 1946.
In 1964, the site of the former RAF station was purchased by a consortium of local government authorities, when a major programme of building work and runway investment was begun. The airfield was renamed East Midlands Airport to reflect the area it served, and it opened for passengers in April 1965.
Go Fly established a hub at East Midlands, and the operation has been strengthened since the airline's absorption by easyJet. The majority of BMI operations were ceded to a new low-cost subsidiary, bmibaby, in 2002.
In 2004 the airport was controversially renamed Nottingham East Midlands Airport. The name change, however, did not last long, and on 8 December 2006 the airport's name was reverted to East Midlands Airport.
A major development towards the long-haul programme came in 2005 with the introduction of holiday flights to the Dominican Republic, Orlando and Cancún by First Choice Airways. Following increasing overcrowding at the terminal building, the airport facilities were extended and remodelled. There are new short-stay car parks, but there are charges for drop-off outside the terminals. The arrivals hall has been extended, a new transport interchange has been created and a new pier has been built to reduce across-tarmac walking to aircraft.
EasyJet ceased operating from the airport on 5 January 2010. However, it was announced on 13 April 2011 that Bmibaby would close its Manchester and Cardiff bases, moving an additional service to East Midlands Airport with increased frequencies and new routes for summer 2012. It was announced only just over a year later, on 3 May 2012, that Bmibaby would close down and cease all operations in September 2012, with a number of services being dropped from June. The parent company, International Airlines Group, cited heavy losses and the failure to find a suitable buyer as the reasons for the decision. In light of the announcement, Flybe and Monarch Airlines announced they would establish a base at the airport, and low-cost airline Jet2.com confirmed they would also expand their operations from the airport, with new routes and an additional aircraft from summer 2013. From 2015, the airport announced jet2.com would base a seventh aircraft at East Midlands Airport in the summer period. Monarch Airlines shut down its base at East Midlands as well by spring 2015. Ryanair expanded its East Midlands base with a series of new routes and frequency increases on existing routes. It now serves the airport with 9 based aircraft, 41 destinations, over 320 weekly flights and roughly 2.3 million passengers a year, making it the largest airline at the airport, accounting for about 50% of passenger traffic, with East Midlands now being Ryanair's third-largest UK airport, after LondonStansted and Manchester, both now also owned by MAG.
In 2016 Heathrow handled 1.54 million tonnes of freight and mail, compared with 300,100 tonnes at East Midlands. DHL Aviation have a large purpose-built facility at EMA, and courier companies United Parcel Service (UPS) and TNT use the airport as a base to import and export freight. Since July 2013, TUI Airways operates with their Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft out of East Midlands, serving the long-haul holiday destinations of Sanford (Orlando) and Cancun. There are also return flights to Jamaica and Barbados, operated once per year to join cruises and holidays.
The following airlines operate regular scheduled and charter flights to and from East Midlands Airport:
|BH Air|| Seasonal: Burgas |
Seasonal charter: Sofia
|Flybe||Amsterdam, BelfastCity, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Jersey|
|Jet2.com|| Alicante, Budapest, Faro, Fuerteventura, Funchal, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, Málaga, Prague, TenerifeSouth |
Seasonal: Almeria, Antalya, Bodrum, Corfu, Dalaman, Dubrovnik, Geneva, Girona, Heraklion, Ibiza, Kefalonia, Kos, Larnaca, Malta, Menorca, Palma de Mallorca, Paphos, Pisa, Reus, Rhodes, Salzburg, Split, Thessaloniki, Verona, Zakynthos
|Loganair||Brussels (begins 2 September 2019), Inverness (begins 2 September 2019)|
|Ryanair|| Alicante, Bergamo, BerlinSchönefeld, Budapest, Dublin, Faro, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Knock, Kraków, Lanzarote, Limoges, ód, Malaga, Malta, Riga, RomeCiampino, Rzeszów, Seville, TenerifeSouth, Treviso, Warsaw-Modlin, Wrocaw |
Seasonal: Barcelona, Bergerac, Carcassonne, Chania, Corfu, Dinard, Girona, Ibiza, Menorca, Murcia, Nantes (begins 1 July 2019), Naples, Palma de Mallorca, Pisa, Reus, Rhodes, Shannon, Valencia
|Thomas Cook Airlines|| Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, TenerifeSouth |
Seasonal: Antalya, Burgas, Corfu, Dalaman, Hurghada, Ibiza, Larnaca, Menorca, Palma de Mallorca, Paphos, Rhodes, Skiathos, Zakynthos
|TUI Airways|| Alicante, Fuerteventura, Funchal, Lanzarote, Málaga, Paphos, TenerifeSouth |
Seasonal: Antalya, Burgas, Cancún, Corfu, Dalaman, Dubrovnik, Enfidha (resumes 27 May 2019), Faro, Heraklion, Hurghada (begins 4 November 2019), Ibiza, Kefalonia, Kos, Larnaca, Menorca, Naples, OrlandoSanford, Palma de Mallorca, Pula, ReykjavíkKeflavík, Rhodes, Santorini , Skiathos, Thessaloniki, Zakynthos
Seasonal charter: Chambéry, Salzburg
|ASL Airlines Belgium||Ličge, Montpellier|
|ASL Airlines Ireland||BelfastInternational|
|DHL Air UK||Aberdeen, Amsterdam, BelfastInternational, Bergamo, Brussels, Cincinnati, Cologne/Bonn, Copenhagen, Dublin, Edinburgh, Frankfurt, Hamilton, Hong Kong, Leipzig/Halle, LondonHeathrow, Madrid, New YorkJFK, ParisCharles de Gaulle, Shannon, Vitoria|
|FedEx Express||Ličge, LondonStansted|
|Royal Mail||Aberdeen, BelfastInternational, Edinburgh, Exeter, Guernsey|
|UPS Airlines||Cologne/Bonn, Edinburgh, Louisville, Philadelphia|
|West Atlantic||Basel/Mulhouse, BelfastInternational, Edinburgh, Exeter, Guernsey, Isle of Man, Jersey, Newcastle upon Tyne|
2017 / 18
|2||Palma de Mallorca||326,367||6.8%|
The airport has excellent connections to the motorway network, as it is near the M1, M42 and A50, bringing the airfield within easy reach of the major population centres of the Midlands.
The airport introduced a charge of Ł1 to drop car passengers near the departure lounge in 2010. In May 2016, the charge was doubled to Ł2, with any stay in the area above ten minutes being charged at Ł1 per minute. Drivers needing longer can stay free for one hour in the long-term carpark, a five-minute bus ride from the terminal. The short-term parking is closer but charges Ł3.50 for 30 minutes. 
The airport has no direct access to the rail network or the Nottingham tram network. The nearest railway station is East Midlands Parkway, 4 miles (6.4 km) away, with regular services to Leicester, Derby, Sheffield, Nottingham and London. The original shuttle bus service linking the station and the airport ceased not long after it was introduced, but in 2015 an hourly minibus service was re-introduced by Elite Cars, restoring scheduled shuttle services to and from the airport. Connections to the airport via taxi are also available.
Although still in the initial planning stages, a proposed route for the High Speed 2 rail line from London Euston to the north of England via Birmingham could bring the Leeds branch very close to East Midlands Airport, with proposals for a station at Toton to serve the airport and the Nottingham and Derby catchment areas.
There are frequent Skylink services operated by Kinchbus and Trent Barton. Kinchbus run buses from Leicester to Derby via Loughborough, and Trent Barton operate a route from Nottingham to Loughborough via Beeston and Long Eaton. Both services operate every 20 minutes during the day and hourly throughout the night, seven days a week. Skylink Express, also operated by Trent Barton, started operating on 31 January 2016. This service runs via the A453 road into Nottingham, serving the Clifton South Park & Ride tram stop, Nottingham Trent University and West Bridgford.
The East Midlands Aeropark to the north west corner of the airport has a large number of static aircraft on public display, the majority of which are from British manufacturers. The museum and its exhibits are managed and maintained by the Aeropark Volunteers Association (AVA). It also offers two viewing mounds for watching aircraft arriving and departing from the main runway. AVA Members are allowed free access to the Aeropark. Exhibits include:
BMI Baby has delivered high levels of operational performance and customer service, but has continued to struggle financially, losing more than Ł100m in the last four years,
East Midlands is now one of only four UK airports to currently operate the revolutionary Thomson 787 Dreamliner aircraft along with London Gatwick, Manchester and Glasgow airports. Thomson Airways will fly the state-of-the-art aircraft from the East Midlands on long haul routes to Sanford, Florida and Cancun in Mexico.
Media related to East Midlands Airport at Wikimedia Commons