East-midlands Airport Parking
East-midlands airport history
The airport was originally a Royal Air Force station, RAF Castle Donington, which was decommissioned and purchased by a consortium of local government authorities in the early 1960s who renamed it East Midlands Airport to reflect the area it served. Effectively, it replaced the smaller Derby Airport at Burnaston, which was moved to a new site near Marston on Dove. 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 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 5,850ft runway, 60ft taxiway, 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 freight traffic, soon demanding further development. In 1970 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 and terminal upgrade in the late 1970s. During 1985 one million passengers passed through 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 freight 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, 600m 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. National Express investment would eventually total over £77m over an 8 year period.
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 Airport Group for £241m.
The arrival of low fares "no-frills" carriers in 2001 resulted in a sharp jump in passenger numbers, rising 7% in a year to 2.38m passengers annually. Go Fly established a hub at East Midlands, which has been retained and strengthened since the airline's absorption by easyJet, and the majority of bmi operations were ceded to a new low cost subsidiary, bmibaby, in 2002.
In a controversial move in 2004, East Midlands Airport was renamed Nottingham East Midlands Airport, despite lying in Leicestershire, having a Derby postcode and the nearest city being Derby. 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 a BBC's local news program East Midlands Today which travelled to Amsterdam. Whilst there they asked locals to identify the location of Nottingham on a map of the UK. The vast majority failed.
The airport has excellent connections to the motorway network due to its proximity to the M1 and M42 motorways, bringing the airfield within easy reach of the major population centres of the Midlands. Access by train is less easy; the closest railway station is Long Eaton, but the Airline Shuttle service links the airport directly to Loughborough railway station, Nottingham, Leicester and indirectly to Derby. The train operator Midland Mainline is building a new railway station East Midlands Parkway closer to the airport, to which it will be linked by shuttle bus.
Nottingham East Midlands has established itself as a hub for low fare airlines easyJet, bmibaby and Ryanair, and serves a range of domestic and European short haul destinations. 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 the First Choice Airways.
An interesting fact to note is that NEMA is the largest unrestricted airport in the UK, while at the same time being the second largest freight airport. This is an important point for local residents, since the majority of freight operations take place at night and thus are intrusive.
The airport lies just east of Donington Park, the venue of the Formula One Grand Prix of Europe 1993. Aircraft taking off heading west fly directly over the circuit, as can be seen from this map.
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