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East Midlands Airport

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East Midlands Airport
Airport typePublic
ServesNottingham, Leicester, Derby, Lincoln
LocationCastle Donington, Leicestershire, England, UK
Hub for
Focus city for
Elevation AMSL306 ft / 93 m
Coordinates52°4952N 001°1940W / 52.83111°N 1.32778°W / 52.83111; -1.32778Coordinates: 52°4952N 001°1940W / 52.83111°N 1.32778°W / 52.83111; -1.32778
Location in Leicestershire
Direction Length Surface
m ft
09/27 2,893 9,491 Asphalt
Statistics (2017)
Passenger change 16-174.8%
Aircraft movements77,067
Movements change 16-174.6%
Sources: UK AIP at NATS[1]
Statistics from the UK Civil Aviation Authority[2]

East Midlands Airport (IATA: EMA, ICAO: EGNX) is an international airport in the East Midlands of England, close to Castle Donington in northwestern 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 Loganair. 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.[2]

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.[3]


RAF Castle Donington

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.[4][5][6]

East Midlands Airport

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.[4][5]

Until 1982, when the head office moved to Donington Hall,[7] British Midland had its head office on the airport property.[8] BMI also had its maintenance base at the airport.

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.[citation needed]

In 2004 the airport was controversially renamed Nottingham East Midlands Airport.[9] The name change, however, did not last long, and on 8 December 2006 the airport's name was reverted to East Midlands Airport.[10]

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.[citation needed] 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.[citation needed]

EasyJet ceased operating from the airport on 5 January 2010.[11] 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.[12] 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.[citation needed] 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[citation needed], 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.[2] 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.

Airlines and destinations


The following airlines operate regular scheduled and charter flights to and from East Midlands Airport:[13]

Aurigny Guernsey
BH Air Seasonal: Burgas
Seasonal charter: Sofia[14]
Flybe Amsterdam, BelfastCity, Guernsey, Jersey
Freebird Airlines Seasonal charter: Dalaman[15]
Jet2.com Alicante, Budapest, Faro, Fuerteventura, Funchal, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, Málaga, Prague, TenerifeSouth
Seasonal: Almeria, Antalya, Bodrum, Burgas, Corfu, Dalaman, Dubrovnik, Geneva, Girona, Grenoble (begins 15 February 2020),[16] Heraklion, Ibiza, Izmir (begins 5 May 2020),[17] Kefalonia, Keflavík, Kos, Larnaca, Malta, Menorca, Palma de Mallorca, Paphos, Pisa, Reus, Rhodes, Salzburg, Split, Thessaloniki, Verona, Zakynthos
Loganair Aberdeen (begins 24 February 2020),[18] Edinburgh,[19] Glasgow
Ryanair Alicante, Bergamo, BerlinSchönefeld, Budapest, Dublin, Faro, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Knock, Kraków, Lanzarote, Limoges, Malaga, Malta, Riga, Rzeszów, TenerifeSouth, Treviso, WarsawModlin, Wrocaw
Seasonal: Barcelona, Bergerac, Carcassonne, Chania, Corfu, Dinard, Girona, Ibiza, Menorca, Palma de Mallorca, Pisa, Reus, Rhodes, RomeCiampino, Sofia ,[20] Valencia
TUI Airways[15] Alicante, Fuerteventura, Funchal, Hurghada (begins 25 May 2020),[15] Lanzarote, Málaga, TenerifeSouth
Seasonal: Antalya (begins 26 May 2020),[15] Burgas, Corfu, Dalaman, Dubrovnik, Enfidha,[21] Faro, Heraklion, Ibiza, Kefalonia, Kittilä, Kos, Larnaca, Menorca, Naples, Palma de Mallorca, Paphos, Pula, Rhodes, Santorini, Sharm El Sheikh (resumes 5 November 2020),[15] Zakynthos
Seasonal charter: Chambéry, Salzburg[22]

East Midlands Airport is a major hub for freight operations throughout Europe due to its central location within the United Kingdom. It serves as a hub for DHL Air UK and UPS Airlines and sees flights by several of their sub-contractors to domestic, European and few intercontinental destinations.


Busiest routes to and from East Midlands (2018)[23]
Rank Airport Total
2017 / 18
1 Alicante 401,789 0.2%
2 Palma de Mallorca 326,367 6.8%
3 TenerifeSouth 326,095 1.8%
4 Málaga 297,758 2.4%
5 Faro 244,844 1.1%
6 Dublin 204,772 6.4%
7 Lanzarote 197,317 4.8%
8 BelfastCity 150,497 1.0%
9 Fuerteventura 117,558 10.3%
10 Ibiza 101,587 7.5%
11 Murcia 98,824 2.7%
12 Gran Canaria 98,683 2.5%
13 Glasgow 97,143 5.4%
14 Edinburgh 93,215 0.4%
15 Wrocaw 85,587 1.1%
16 Menorca 83,643 0.9%
17 Corfu 74,899 22.8%
18 Barcelona 74,471 17.5%
19 Budapest 74,095 14.2%
20 Paphos 70,292 7.5%

Ground transport


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.

Drop-off fees

The airport introduced a charge of £1 to drop car passengers near the departure lounge in 2010. In May 2016, the charge was doubled to £2, with any stay in the area above ten minutes being charged at £1 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 £3.50 for 30 minutes.[24][25]


The airport has no direct access to the rail network or the Nottingham Express Transit tram network.[26] The nearest railway station is East Midlands Parkway, 4 miles (6.4 km) away, with regular services to Leicester, Derby, Sheffield, Nottingham and London St Pancras. The original shuttle bus service linking the station and the airport ceased not long after it was introduced,[27] but in 2015 an hourly minibus service was re-introduced by Elite Cars, restoring scheduled shuttle services to and from the airport.[28] 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.[29]


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,[30] 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.[31][32] From 28 October 2019, Midland Classic will be extending their Service 9 from Burton that goes via Swadlincote and Ashby de la Zouch to the Airport, with buses up to every hour that will go via Melbourne to Ashby. The timetables will be on the company website closer to the date.

East Midlands Aeropark

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:[citation needed]

Other facilities

Pegasus Business Park, an office complex, is on the airport grounds. The now-defunct airline flybmi formerly had its head office at Pegasus Business Park.[33]

Accidents and incidents

  • On 20 February 1969, Vickers Viscount G-AODG of British Midland Airways was damaged beyond economic repair when it landed short of the runway. There were no casualties.[34]
  • On 31 January 1986, Aer Lingus Flight 328, a Short 360, en route from Dublin, struck power lines and crashed short of the runway. None of the 36 passengers and crew died but two passengers were injured in the accident.[35]
  • On 18 January 1987, a British Midland Fokker F27 Friendship, on a training flight, crashed on approach to East Midlands Airport due to wing and tail surface icing. There were no fatalities.[36]
  • On 8 January 1989, British Midland Flight BD092 crashed on approach to East Midlands Airport, killing 47 people. The Boeing 737 aircraft had developed a fan blade failure in one of the two engines while en route from London Heathrow to Belfast and a decision was made to divert to East Midlands. The crew mistakenly shut down the functioning engine, causing the aircraft to lose power and crash on the embankment of the M1 Motorway just short of the runway. No one on the ground was injured and no vehicles were damaged despite the aircraft crashing on the embankment of one of the busiest sections of motorway in the UK. The investigation into the Kegworth air disaster, as the incident became known, led to considerable improvements in aircraft safety and emergency instructions for passengers. The official report into the disaster made 31 safety recommendations.
  • On 29 October 2010, in the 2010 cargo plane bomb plot, British police searched a UPS plane at East Midlands Airport but found nothing.[37] Later that day, when a package was found on a plane in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, British officials searched again and found a bomb.[38][39] The two packages, found on two planes originating in Yemen, contained the powerful high explosive PETN. The U.K. and the U.S. determined that the plan was to detonate them while in flight. Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula took responsibility.[40]


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  2. ^ a b c "Aircraft and passenger traffic data from UK airports". UK Civil Aviation Authority. 3 March 2017. Archived from the original on 11 February 2017. Retrieved 15 March 2017.
  3. ^ "AGMA to consider Manchester Airport restructure in takeover bid". Manchester Evening News. 15 February 2012. Archived from the original on 20 April 2013. Retrieved 12 April 2012.
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  6. ^ Care, Adam (9 November 2018). "This is the moving way the fallen are being honoured at East Midlands Airport". Leicester Mercury. Archived from the original on 28 April 2019. Retrieved 28 April 2019.
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  12. ^ "BMI Baby to be grounded by BA owner IAG". BBC. 3 May 2012. Archived from the original on 25 September 2015. Retrieved 14 October 2016. BMI Baby has delivered high levels of operational performance and customer service, but has continued to struggle financially, losing more than £100m in the last four years,
  13. ^ eastmidlandsairport.com - Flight Timetables Archived 6 October 2016 at the Wayback Machine retrieved 5 October 2016
  14. ^ "Flight only timetable". balkanholidays.co.uk.
  15. ^ a b c d e "Flight Timetable". tui.co.uk.
  16. ^ https://westbridgfordwire.com/jet2-announces-new-skiing-destination-from-east-midlands-airport/
  17. ^ Liu, Jim. "Jet2.com S20 new routes as of 18OCT19". Routesonline. Retrieved 22 October 2019.
  18. ^ Loganair to add Aberdeen flights
  19. ^ "Loganair expands East Midlands network from late-Oct 2019". routesonline.com. 22 September 2019.
  20. ^ "Ryanair Launches New East Midlands Ski Route To Sofia". corporate.ryanair.com. 3 July 2019.
  21. ^ "TUI Airways S19 short-haul routes additions as of 04JAN19". routesonline.com. Archived from the original on 30 March 2019. Retrieved 2 April 2019.
  22. ^ "Ski Holidays 2016/2017 - Get More Winter With Crystal Ski". Crystal Ski. Archived from the original on 8 July 2017. Retrieved 19 April 2017.
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  29. ^ "welcome - skylink express - run by trentbarton". Archived from the original on 24 May 2016. Retrieved 15 January 2017.
  30. ^ "Skylink". Skylink. Archived from the original on 20 November 2009. Retrieved 2 October 2014.
  31. ^ "Skylink Derby". Kinchbus. Archived from the original on 6 October 2014. Retrieved 2 October 2014.
  32. ^ "Contact Us." Flybmi. 12 July 2017. retrieved on 18 February 2019. "Head Office bmi regional Pegasus Business Park Herald Way East Midlands Airport Castle Donington DE74 2TU"
  33. ^ "Accident description". Aviation Safety Network. Archived from the original on 25 October 2012. Retrieved 7 October 2009.
  34. ^ "ASN Aircraft accident Shorts 360-100 EI-BEM East Midlands Airport (EMA)". Aviation-safety.net. Archived from the original on 6 August 2011. Retrieved 8 November 2010.
  35. ^ "ASN Aircraft accident Fokker F-27 Friendship 200 G-BMAU East Midlands Airport (EMA)". Aviation-safety.net. Archived from the original on 6 June 2011. Retrieved 4 December 2017.
  36. ^ "Terrorist Bombers May Have Targeted Aircraft". Fox News Channel. 7 April 2010. Archived from the original on 4 November 2010. Retrieved 1 November 2010.
  37. ^ "How many more bombs out there?: Device found in Dubai had been on two PASSENGER flights, airline reveals". Daily Mail. 1 November 2010. Retrieved 1 November 2010.
  38. ^ Rayner, Gordon (31 October 2010). "Cargo plane bomb plot: al-Qaeda terrorists 'threatened another Lockerbie'". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 2 November 2010. Retrieved 1 November 2010.
  39. ^ "Al-Qaida claims responsibility for cargo bombs". NBC News. 5 November 2010. Retrieved 8 November 2010.

External links

Media related to East Midlands Airport at Wikimedia Commons

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