East Midlands Airport

East Midlands Airport
East Midlands Airport
East Midlands Airport logo.png
East Midlands2.JPG
The runway at East Midlands Airport
Airport type Public
Owner/Operator Manchester Airports Group
Serves East Midlands
Location Castle Donington, Leicestershire
Elevation AMSL 306 ft / 93 m
Coordinates 52°49′52″N 001°19′41″W / 52.83111°N 1.32806°W / 52.83111; -1.32806Coordinates: 52°49′52″N 001°19′41″W / 52.83111°N 1.32806°W / 52.83111; -1.32806
Website www.eastmidlandsairport.com
EGNX is located in Leicestershire
Location in Leicestershire
Direction Length Surface
m ft
09/27 2,893 9,491 Asphalt
Statistics (2010)
Passengers 4,113,501
Passenger change 09-10 decrease11.7%
Aircraft Movements 69,452
Movements change 09-10 decrease16.6%
Sources: UK AIP at NATS[1]
Statistics from the UK Civil Aviation Authority[2]

East Midlands Airport (IATA: EMAICAO: EGNX) is an airport in the East Midlands of England, located at Castle Donington in North West Leicestershire. It lies between the cities of Derby, 7 NM (13 km; 8.1 mi) southeast,[1] Leicester and Nottingham, all within a 20-mile (30 km) radius of the airfield. It serves primarily as an airport for the local inhabitants of the counties of Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire, Staffordshire and South Yorkshire. Passenger numbers peaked in 2008 at 5.6 million, but declined by 27% to 4.1 million in 2010 making it the 12th busiest airport in the UK by passenger traffic, although it was the second busiest UK airport for freight traffic in 2010.[2]

It was announced on 13 April 2011 that bmibaby, a small low-cost British airline, would close its Manchester and Cardiff bases, moving an additional service to East Midlands Airport with increased frequencies and new routes, to be announced soon for Summer 2012.

The airport is owned by the Manchester Airports Group (MAG) which is controlled by the ten metropolitan boroughs of Greater Manchester and is the largest UK-owned airport group.

EMA has a CAA Public Use Aerodrome Licence (Number P520) that allows flights for the public transport of passengers or for flying instruction. EMA is the second largest cargo airport in the UK.



The airport was originally a Royal Air Force station, RAF Castle Donington, which was decommissioned in 1946. The site was purchased by a consortium of local government authorities in 1964, 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.

Effectively, EMA replaced the smaller pre-war grass airfield at Derby Burnaston, and the base's light aircraft later moved to a new site at Derby Egginton Airfield near Hilton. The original Derby Airport site at Burnaston has since been redeveloped into a Toyota car factory.

Derby Airways, which was in the process of being renamed British Midland Airways, moved its operations to the new airport and established its headquarters in nearby Donington Hall in Castle Donington, creating a network of domestic and international scheduled and charter flights at East Midlands. The airfield was established with basic requirements of a 5,850 ft (1,780 m) runway, a 60 ft (18 m) taxiway, a new hangar floor and aprons and parking for 850 cars. Financially, it was not an instant success. However the picture quickly changed with the increased volume of cargo traffic, soon demanding further development. In 1970, an agreement was reached on creating a new freight complex and both the runway and the terminal were extended.

Expansion was swift, with a further runway extension to 2,283 m (7,490 ft) and terminal upgrade in the late 1970s. During 1985, one million passengers utilized the airport for the first time, calling for yet another terminal extension. Following government legislation, the airport became a public limited company in 1987, distancing it from all-out control of the local authorities.

With growing passenger and cargo traffic, further expansion was proposed for East Midlands in 1992. However, despite the enthusiasm of the local authorities who owned the airport, the funds necessary were not raised, so in 1993 East Midlands became the first major regional airport in the UK to be privatised. National Express Group successfully purchased the airfield for £24.3m and began their investment into the airport facilities. A £20m, 610m extension to the runway was added to allow EMA to handle long haul flights, and a new air traffic control tower was constructed, the second tallest in the UK at the time. National Express investment would eventually total over £77m over an eight year period.

Britannia Airways Boeing 737 operating holiday charters in 1982

DHL Aviation opened a new £35m cargo facility on site in 2000, and in the same year a business park was constructed next to the airport. However, National Express Group announced its intention to concentrate on bus and rail provision, and sold East Midlands Airport, together with Bournemouth Airport, in March 2001 to Manchester Airports Group for £241m.

The arrival of low fares no frills carriers in 2002 resulted in a sharp jump in passenger numbers, rising 36% in that year to 3.23 million. 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.

The DEMAND Campaign was formed in 2004 to campaign against night flights at the airport and against increasing levels of noise generally.[3]

By 2006, annual passengers had reached 4.72 million, twelfth highest in the UK. The five-million mark was passed during April 2007 (per official statistics issued by the United Kingdom Civil Aviation Authority).

In September 2006 Plane Stupid blocked a taxiway at the airport for four hours, their spokesman Leo Murray said "The people of the past didn't know what the problem was. For the people of the future it's going to be too late. People in developing countries are powerless to do anything about it. If we don't do this, it's not going to get done."[4]

Following increasing overcrowding of the terminal building the facilities have been extended and remodelled. The arrivals hall has been extended and a new transport interchange has been created and a new pier built to reduce 'across tarmac' walking to aircraft. A major extension is being created airside.[citation needed]

Future developments

Although very much still in the initial stages of development and planning, a proposed route for the High Speed 2 rail line from London Euston to the north of England via Birmingham would bring the Leeds Branch very close to East Midlands Airport with proposals for a station to serve the Airport and the Nottingham and Derby catchments areas.[5]


In a controversial move in 2004, East Midlands Airport was renamed Nottingham East Midlands Airport, despite part of the airport lying in Leicestershire, being in the Derby postal area and the nearest cities being Derby and Nottingham. Furthermore, there was already a Nottingham Airport, which is closer to Nottingham, even though it was a small airfield catering to general aviation.

The reasoning behind the name change was that many people from outside the UK and unfamiliar with the country's geography could not identify with the term 'East Midlands' and understandably did not know exactly where in the UK it was. The argument for adding 'Nottingham' to the name was that the city had greater international recognition through its size and historical connections. This assertion was disputed in the BBC's local news programme East Midlands Today which travelled to Amsterdam. Whilst there the BBC reporters asked the Amsterdam residents to identify the location of Nottingham on a map of the UK. The vast majority failed; however, many more Dutch locals had heard of "Nottingham" than "the East Midlands".

A BBC report on 18 October 2006 suggested that the airport might change its name again,[6] and the eventual change, to East Midlands Airport: Nottingham, Leicester, Derby came into effect on 8 December 2006, despite the city of Leicester being furthest away from the airport.[7]


The air traffic control tower at East Midlands airport, located at the south of the airfield, next to the terminal.

East Midlands Airport has established itself as a hub for low fare airlines, Bmibaby and Ryanair, and serves a range of domestic and European short haul destinations. EasyJet ceased operating from the airport on 5 January 2010.[8] As a result of this redeployment, bmibaby announced plans to expand their operation by 40% by basing 3 more aircraft at the airport by summer 2010.

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. The Indian resort of Goa has subsequently been added.

On Friday, 28 August low fares airline Jet2.com announced a move into the airport commencing with 7 routes across Europe from May 2010 and 2 new winter routes from 20 December 2010.

The airport is a major base for Thomson Airways and Thomas Cook which offer flights to Greece, Spain, Egypt, Bulgaria, and longhaul flights to Orlando, Florida and Cancún. BMI have their maintenance base at the airport.

Other charter airlines operating in the summer are Viking Airlines, Koral Blue Airlines, Monarch, Saga Airlines, Air Europa, Onur Air and many more.

Airlines and destinations


Airlines Destinations
Aurigny Air Services Guernsey
BH Air Seasonal: Bourgas, Varna
BMI operated by BMI Regional Brussels, Frankfurt
Bmibaby Alicante, Amsterdam, Belfast-City, Cologne/Bonn, Edinburgh, Faro, Geneva, Gibraltar [begins 31 March], Glasgow-International, Jersey, Málaga, Malta, Palma de Mallorca, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Venice-Marco Polo
Seasonal: Alghero, Almería, Barcelona, Catania [begins 27 May], Chambery [begins 16 December], Corfu [begins 28 May], Dubrovnik, Ibiza, Minorca, Munich, Murcia [begins 31 March], Naples [begins 1 April], Newquay, Nice, Prague, Toulouse [begins 23 December], Verona
Eastern Airways Aberdeen
Flybe Belfast-City
Jet2.com Tenerife-South
Seasonal: Alicante, Bodrum, Corfu, Dalaman, Faro, Heraklion, Lanzarote, Málaga [begins 1 June], Murcia [begins 31 May], Palma de Mallorca, Paphos, Pisa [begins 5 May], Rhodes
Ryanair Alicante, Berlin-Schönefeld, Dinard, Dublin, Faro, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Knock, Kraków, Lanzarote, Limoges, Łódź, Malaga, Milan-Orio al Serio, Riga, Rzeszow, Tenerife-South, Venice-Treviso, Wrocław
Seasonal: Bergerac, Carcassonne, Girona, Ibiza, Marrakech, Murcia, Nantes, Palma de Mallorca, Pisa, Reus, Rome-Ciampino, Seville, Tallinn, Valencia
Thomas Cook Airlines Bourgas, Fuerteventura, Funchal, Gran Canaria, Hurghada, Izmir, Lanzarote, Madeira, Monastir, Paphos, Sharm el-Sheikh, Tenerife-South
Seasonal: Alicante, Antalya, Bodrum, Corfu, Dalaman, Faro, Heraklion, Ibiza, Kos, Larnaca, Malta, Minorca, Palma de Mallorca, Reus, Rhodes, Rovaniemi, Skiathos, Zakynthos
Thomson Airways Alicante, Fuerteventura, Funchal, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, Málaga, Madeira, Palma de Mallorca, Puerto Plata, Punta Cana, Sharm el-Sheikh, Tenerife-South
Seasonal: Acapulco, Antalya, Boa Vista, Bodrum, Barbados, Burgas, Cancún, Chambery, Corfu, Dalaman, Faro, Enfidha, Heraklion, Ibiza, Kos, Larnaca, Minorca, Naples, Orlando-Sanford, Paphos, Rhodes, Salzburg, Skiathos, Thessaloniki, Zakynthos


The DHL cargo centre at East Midlands airport located at the south west of the airfield.
Airlines Destinations
Aerologic Leipzig/Halle, Frankfurt, Bahrain
DHL A300/757 Belfast-International, Brussels-International, Copenhagen, Dublin, Edinburgh, Frankfurt, Leipzig/Halle, London-Heathrow, Madrid, Milan-Orio al Serio, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Vitoria
DHL 767 Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky, New York-JJFK
DHL Air UK operated by Atlantic Airlines Aberdeen, Cologne/Bonn
DHL Air UK operated by ABX Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky
DHL Air UK operated by Swiftair Milan-Orio al Serio
DHL Air UK operated by Bluebird Cargo Shannon
Kalitta Air Newark
Royal Mail operated by Atlantic Airlines Aberdeen, Belfast-International, Cardiff, Isle of Man
Europe Airpost (Royal Mail) Edinburgh
Icelandair Cargo Rekjavik-Keflavík, Liege
Jet2.com (Royal Mail) Belfast-International, Edinburgh, Exeter, Newcastle upon Tyne
Loganair (Royal Mail) Aberdeen
Titan Airways (Royal Mail) Bournemouth
TNT Airways Belfast-International, Edinburgh, Liège
UPS Airlines Cologne/Bonn, Louisville, Philadelphia
UPS Airlines operated by Star Air (Maersk Air) Cologne/Bonn, Belfast-International, Edinburgh

Busiest routes

Busiest routes to and from East Midlands Airport (2010)[2]
Rank Airport Passengers handled  % Change
2009 / 10
1 Flag of Spain.svg Málaga 228,463 decrease26
2 Flag of Spain.svg Palma de Mallorca 218,037 decrease16
3 Flag of Spain.svg Alicante 209,373 decrease22
4 Flag of Ireland.svg Dublin 188,740 decrease13
5 Flag of Spain.svg Tenerife South 151,100 increase9
6 Flag of Portugal.svg Faro 146,291 decrease20
7 Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Edinburgh 108,700 decrease17
8 Flag of Turkey.svg Dalaman 102,501 increase34
9 Flag of the Netherlands.svg Amsterdam 101,119 decrease3
10 Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Glasgow International 99,740 decrease13
11 Flag of France.svg Paris Charles de Gaulle 91,572 decrease11
12 Flag of Spain.svg Murcia 85,698 decrease20
13 Flag of Egypt.svg Sharm el-Sheikh 83,703 increase76
14 Flag of Spain.svg Las Palmas 74,927 increase12
15 Flag of Germany.svg Berlin Schönefeld 74,826 decrease7
16 Flag of Spain.svg Fuerteventura 69,537 increase16
17 Flag of Spain.svg Girona 64,466 decrease30
18 Flag of Poland.svg Wrocław 63,726 increase5
19 Flag of Spain.svg Ibiza 61,474 decrease22
20 Flag of Cyprus.svg Paphos 58,089 increase33

Air cargo

East Midlands Airport is the second largest cargo airport in the United Kingdom after London Heathrow. In 2010 Heathrow handled 1.47 million tonnes of freight compared with 273,600 tonnes at East Midlands.[2] DHL Aviation have a large purpose built facility at EMA, and courier companies United Parcel Service (UPS) and TNT also use the airport as a base.

Transport links

The airport has excellent connections to the motorway network due to its proximity to the M1 and M42, bringing the airfield within easy reach of the major population centres of the Midlands.

The closest railway station is East Midlands Parkway, which is 4 miles (6.4 km) away. The initial shuttle bus service linking the station and the airport has ceased but it is possible to take a taxi at a reduced fare providing the booking is made at least 12 hours in advance.[9]

Skylink branded bus services operate to and from Leicester, Nottingham, Derby, Loughborough and Coalville.[10] Nottingham, Derby and Loughborough buses pick up at the rail stations serving the areas (but not at East Midlands Parkway).

In 2011 low cost coach operator Gorilla Bus started serving East Midlands Airport. Direct services are available to Birmingham, Wolverhampton and Stoke-on-Trent as well as destinations as far away as Yorkshire, Cheshire, Merseyside, Cumbria and Scotland.

East Midlands Aeropark

Aeropark at East Midlands Airport.

The East Midlands Aeropark to the north west corner of the airport has a large number of static aircraft on public display.

The museum and its exhibits are managed and maintained by the Aeropark Volunteers Association (AVA). It also offers two excellent viewing mounds for watching aircraft arriving and departing from the main runway. AVA Members are allowed free access to the Aeropark.

Exhibits include:

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.[11]
  • On 31 January 1986, A Aer Lingus Fight 328, Short 360 registration EI-BEM on a flight 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.[12]
  • On 18 January 1987, Fokker F-27 G-BMAU of British Midland Airways crashed on approach to the airport on a training flight with three crew. None was killed or injured.[13]
  • 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 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, after being alerted to the existence of a bomb, an initial search by British police of a UPS plane in the UPS parcels distribution depot at East Midlands Airport came up empty.[14] But after consulting with officials in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, where another package in the plot was discovered, British police discovered the bomb in a second search.[15][16] The packages, found in the UK and Dubai on two planes from Yemen, contained the powerful high explosive PETN; the devices had more explosive power than the explosives carried by the would-be Christmas Day Bomber, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. 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.[17]


  1. ^ a b "East Midlands – EGNX". Nats-uk.ead-it.com. http://www.nats-uk.ead-it.com/public/index.php%3Foption=com_content&task=blogcategory&id=60&Itemid=109.html. Retrieved 8 November 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c d "CAA: UK Annual Airport Statistics". UK Civil Aviation Authority. http://www.caa.co.uk/default.aspx?catid=80&pagetype=88&pageid=3&sglid=3. Retrieved 11 March 2011. 
  3. ^ "Campaign News". DEMAND Campaign. http://www.demand.uk.net/campaign-news.asp. Retrieved 7 October 2008. 
  4. ^ Alice O'Keeffe (6 November 2006). "Planet saved?: Why the green movement is taking to the streets". New Statesman. http://www.newstatesman.com/200611060014. Retrieved 14 January 2008. 
  5. ^ Department for Transport Report on HS2 - see paragraph 4.26
  6. ^ "– "Airport to consider name change"". BBC News. 19 October 2006. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/nottinghamshire/6064224.stm. Retrieved 8 November 2010. 
  7. ^ "– "Airport announces change to name"". BBC News. 8 December 2006. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/6220118.stm. Retrieved 8 November 2010. 
  8. ^ "easyJet announces network redeployments". Corporate.easyjet.com. http://corporate.easyjet.com/media/latest-news/news-year-2009/03-09-09.aspx. Retrieved 8 November 2010. 
  9. ^ "Train services to and from East Midlands Parkway – East Midlands Trains". East Midlands Trains. http://www.eastmidlandstrains.co.uk/YourDestinations/Pages/East%20Midlands%20Parkway.aspx. Retrieved 19 May 2011. 
  10. ^ "Skylink". Skylink. http://www.skylink.co.uk. Retrieved 8 November 2010. 
  11. ^ "Accident description". Aviation Safety Network. http://aviation-safety.net/database/record.php?id=19690220-0. Retrieved 7 October 2009. 
  12. ^ "ASN Aircraft accident Shorts 360-100 EI-BEM East Midlands Airport (EMA)". Aviation-safety.net. http://aviation-safety.net/database/record.php?id=19860131-1. Retrieved 8 November 2010. 
  13. ^ "ASN Aircraft accident Fokker F-27 Friendship 200 G-BMAU East Midlands Airport (EMA)". Aviation-safety.net. http://aviation-safety.net/database/record.php?id=19870118-0. Retrieved 8 November 2010. 
  14. ^ "Terrorist Bombers May Have Targeted Aircraft". Fox News. 7 April 2010. http://www.foxnews.com/us/2010/11/01/terrorist-bombers-targeted-aircraft/. Retrieved 1 November 2010. 
  15. ^ "How many more bombs out there?: Device found in Dubai had been on two PASSENGER flights, airline reveals". Daily Mail. 1 November 2010. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1325470/How-bombs--Device-Dubai-PASSENGER-flights-airline-reveals.html. Retrieved 1 November 2010. 
  16. ^ Rayner, Gordon (31 October 2010). "Cargo plane bomb plot: al-Qaeda terrorists 'threatened another Lockerbie'". Telegraph. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/terrorism-in-the-uk/8100970/Cargo-plane-bomb-plot-al-Qaeda-terrorists-threatened-another-Lockerbie.html. Retrieved 1 November 2010. 
  17. ^ Updated 23 minutes ago 11/8/2010 12:24:00 PM +00:00. "Al-Qaida claims responsibility for cargo bombs - World news - Mideast/N. Africa - msnbc.com". MSNBC. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/40031838/ns/world_news-mideastn_africa/. Retrieved 8 November 2010. 

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