Southampton Airport

Southampton Airport

Infobox Airport
name = Southampton Airport
nativename =

image-width = 195
type = Public
owner-oper = BAA
city-served = Southampton
location =
elevation-f = 44
elevation-m = 13
coordinates = coord|50|57|01|N|001|21|24|W|type:airport
website = []
metric-rwy = Yes
r1-number = 02/20
r1-length-f = 5,653
r1-length-m = 1,723
r1-surface = Asphalt
footnotes = Source: United Kingdom AIP [ [ UK Aeronautical Information Service] ]

Southampton Airport airport codes|SOU|EGHI is the 20th largest airport in the UK, located in Eastleigh near Southampton. Southampton Airport is owned and operated by BAA, which also owns and operates six other UK airports [ [ UK airports owned and operated by BAA] ] , including the three busiest airports serving London, and is itself owned by an international consortium led by the Spanish Ferrovial Group. [ [ BAA: "Who owns us?"] ]

The airport handled 1,965,686 passengers during 2007, a 2.8% increase on the 2006 total of 1,912,979. [ [ CAA UK Airport Statistics 2007] ] 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's runway is reputed to be built over the remains of a Roman villa. [ [ Itchen Locations: Roman Level] Accessed 5th April 2007]

According to local history author John Edgar Mann's "Book of the Stonehams" the site's connection with aviation can be traced back to 1910 when pioneer pilot Eric Moon used the meadows belonging to North Stoneham Farm as a take-off and landing spot for his monoplane, Moonbeam Mk II.

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. [ [ BAA Southampton Official Airport Website] ] It eventually passed back into civilian ownership in April 1946.

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 1965 a new concrete runway was built, opening for use in 1966, enabling the operation of larger aircraft.

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 Cunliffe-Owen selling their factory to Ford. This factory is still in use, although now located off-field due to the opening of the M27 motorway in 1983. Cierva Autogiro rented portions of the Cunliffe-Owen plants starting in 1946, and had to move to another location on the field when it was sold to Ford. They continued operations on the field until about 1960.

Links with the Spitfire

In 1936 the first test flights of the Supermarine Spitfire were conducted at the airport, an event commemorated in 2004 with the erection of a near-full size sculpture of K5054, the prototype Spitfire at the road entrance.

On March 5, 2006 at 16:30 GMT, five restored Spitfires took off from Southampton Airport to commemorate the seventieth anniversary of the first flight the of the Spitfire at the precise same time as the test flights in 1936.

There are plans, supported by the local council, to rename the airport after R. J. Mitchell, designer of the Spitfire. However, the choice whether to rename the airport lies with BAA. [ [ Airport rename to honour Spitfire] ] [ [ Airport Spitfire rename supported] ]

Airlines and destinations

*Aer Arann (Cork) [seasonal]
*Air France
**operated by Airlinair (Paris-Charles de Gaulle)
*Aurigny Air Services (Alderney)
*Blue Islands (Alderney, Geneva, Guernsey, Jersey, Zurich)
*Eastern Airways (Aberdeen, Angers, Leeds/Bradford, Newcastle)
*Flybe (Aberdeen, Alicante, Amsterdam, Avignon, Belfast-City, Bergerac, Berne [seasonal] , Bordeaux, Brest, Brussels, Chambéry [seasonal] , Dublin, Dubrovnik [begins 03 May 2009] , Düsseldorf, Edinburgh, Faro, Frankfurt, Geneva [seasonal] , Glasgow-International, Guernsey, Hanover, Inverness, Isle of Man, Jersey, La Rochelle, Leeds/Bradford, Limoges, Málaga, Manchester, Newcastle, Nice, Palma de Mallorca, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Perpignan, Rennes, Salzburg [seasonal] , Split [begins 02 May 2009] )
*Isles of Scilly Skybus (Isles of Scilly) [seasonal]
*Thomsonfly (Palma de Mallorca) [seasonal]


Southampton Airport has one runway, designated 02/20. The runway has an instrument landing system (ILS) installed for aircraft approaching from the north only. [ [ Southampton Airport Master Plan - November 2006] Para 4.0.4]

Ground Transportation

Southampton Airport is served by a dedicated mainline railway station, Southampton Airport (Parkway), on the South Western Main Line from London Waterloo and Winchester to Southampton, Bournemouth and Poole, with a fast and frequent service to those places.The airport is also located close to the junction between the M3 motorway and M27 motorway, giving easy road access to Southampton, Winchester, Bournemouth, Portsmouth and places between.


*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. [ [ Aircraft Accident Report No. 1/92] ]
*On 26 May 1993, a Cessna 550 Citation II landed with a tailwind of 15 knots, where the operating manual recommended a maximum safe tailwind of 10 knots, which itself resulted in a landing distance requirement greater than that available at the airport. The plane overran Runway 20 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. [cite web |url= | title=Report on the accident to Cessna 550 Citation II, G-JETB at Southampton (Eastleigh) Airport on 26 May 1993 | work= UK AAIB | accessdate= 2008-04-07 ]


External links

* [ Southampton Airport website] Official BAA Airport website

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