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East Midlands Airport

East Midlands Airport
Airport type Public
Owner/Operator Manchester Airports Group
Serves Nottingham, Leicester, Derby
Location Castle Donington, Leicestershire
Hub for
Elevation AMSL 306 ft / 93 m
EGNX is located in Leicestershire
Location in Leicestershire
Direction Length Surface
m ft
09/27 2,893 9,491 Asphalt
Statistics (2014)
Passengers 4,510,544
Passenger change 13-14 4.1%
Aircraft movements 76,726
Movements change 13-14 0.2%
Sources: UK AIP at NATS[1]
Statistics from the UK Civil Aviation Authority[2]

East Midlands Airport (ICAO: EGNX) is an international airport in the East Midlands of England, located in Leicestershire close to Castle Donington. It lies between the cities of Nottingham (15 miles (24 km)) Leicester (18 miles (29 km)) and Derby (14 miles (23 km)). It mainly serves the counties of Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Staffordshire and South Yorkshire. Passenger numbers peaked in 2008 at 5.6 million, but had declined to 4.3 million in 2013 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 2013.[2]

EMA has a CAA Public Use Aerodrome Licence (Number P520) that allows flights for the public transport of passengers or for flying instruction. The airport is owned by the Manchester Airports Group (MAG), the largest British-owned airport operator which is controlled by the ten metropolitan boroughs of Greater Manchester with Manchester retaining the controlling stake.


  • History 1
  • Operations 2
  • Airlines and destinations 3
    • Passenger 3.1
    • Cargo 3.2
  • Statistics 4
  • Transport links 5
    • Motorway 5.1
    • Railway 5.2
    • Bus 5.3
  • East Midlands Aeropark 6
  • Accidents and incidents 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9


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.[3]

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-cost 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.[4]

By 2006, annual passengers had reached 4.72 million, twelfth highest in the UK. The five million mark was passed during April 2007.

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."[5]

Following increasing overcrowding at the terminal building, the airport facilities have been 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.


East Midlands Airport has established itself as a hub for low fare airlines such as and Ryanair and tour operators like Thomson Airways which serve a range of domestic and European short-haul destinations. It is also a base for BMI Regional, Flybe, and Thomas Cook Airlines.

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. On 28 August 2009, low fares airline announced that its seventh base would be at East Midlands Airport, starting with seven routes across Europe from May 2010 and two new winter routes from 20 December 2010 and have grown further since.

Ryanair has also expanded its East Midlands base with a series of new routes and frequency increases on existing routes. They will now serve the airport with 7 based aircraft, 40 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 London-Stansted and Manchester, both now also owned by MAG.

Since July 2013 Thomson Airways also operates with their Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft out of East Midlands, serving long haul holiday destinations such as Orlando or Cancun.[6]

EasyJet ceased operating from the airport on 5 January 2010.[7] As a result of this redeployment, Bmibaby announced plans to expand its operation by 40% by basing three more aircraft at the airport by summer 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 be closed 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.[8] In light of the announcement, Flybe and Monarch Airlines announced they would establish a base at the airport, and low-cost airline confirmed they would also expand their operations from the airport with new routes and an additional aircraft from Summer 2013. Monarch Airlines shut down its base at East Midlands as well by spring 2015.

Until 1982, when the head office moved to Donington Hall,[9] British Midland had its head office on the airport property.[10] BMI also had its maintenance base at the airport.

Airlines and destinations


Airlines Destinations
Aer Lingus Regional
operated by Stobart Air
Aurigny Air Services Guernsey
BH Air Seasonal charter: Burgas
BMI Regional Brussels
Eastern Airways Aberdeen
Flybe Belfast-City, Edinburgh, Glasgow-International
Seasonal: Jersey
Freebird Airlines Seasonal charter: Dalaman Alicante, Budapest, Lanzarote, Madeira, Málaga, Prague, Tenerife-South
Seasonal: Antalya, Bodrum, Chambéry, Corfu, Dalaman, Dubrovnik, Faro, Fuerteventura, Funchal, Geneva, Gran Canaria, Heraklion, Ibiza, Kos, Larnaca, Malta,[11] Menorca, Murcia, Palma de Mallorca, Paphos, Pisa, Reus, Rhodes, Zakynthos
Onur Air Seasonal charter: Dalaman
Ryanair Alicante, Bergamo, Berlin-Schönefeld, Dublin, Faro, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Knock, Kraków, Lanzarote, Limoges, Łódź, Malaga, Malta, Riga, Rzeszów, Tenerife-South, Treviso, Warsaw-Modlin, Wrocław
Seasonal: Barcelona, Bergerac, Carcassonne, Chania, Corfu, Dinard, Ibiza, La Rochelle,[12] Minorca, Murcia, Palma de Mallorca, Pisa, Rhodes, Rome-Ciampino, Valencia
Shaheen Air Islamabad (begins 1 March 2016)[13]
Thomas Cook Airlines Enfidha, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, Tenerife-South
Seasonal: Antalya, Bodrum, Corfu, Dalaman, Ibiza, Larnaca, Minorca, Palma de Mallorca, Paphos, Rhodes, Rovaniemi, Skiathos, Zakynthos
Thomson Airways Alicante, Fuerteventura, Funchal, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, Málaga, Palma de Mallorca, Sharm el-Sheikh, Tenerife-South
Seasonal: Antalya, Boa Vista, Bodrum, Barbados, Burgas, Cancún, Chambéry, Corfu, Dalaman, Faro, Enfidha, Heraklion, Ibiza, Kos, Larnaca, Minorca, Naples, Orlando-Sanford, Paphos, Pula,[14] Rhodes, Salzburg, Skiathos, Thessaloniki, Zakynthos


Airlines Destinations
Atlantic Airlines Jersey, Basel/Mulhouse
DHL Aviation
operated by AeroLogic
DHL Aviation
operated by DHL Air UK
Belfast-International, Bergamo, Brussels-International, Cincinnati, Copenhagen, Dublin, Edinburgh, Frankfurt, Leipzig/Halle, London Heathrow, Madrid, New York-JFK, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Shannon, Vitoria
DHL Aviation
operated by Kalitta Air
operated by Atlantic Airlines
Aberdeen, Cologne/Bonn
operated by Swiftair
Icelandair Cargo Liège, Reykjavík-Keflavík
Royal Mail
operated by West Atlantic
Aberdeen, Belfast-International, Cardiff, Isle of Man, Edinburgh, Bournemouth
Royal Mail
operated by
Belfast-International, Edinburgh, Exeter, Newcastle upon Tyne
Royal Mail
operated by Loganair
Royal Mail
operated by Titan Airways
RVL Aviation Dublin, Guernsey, Isle of Man
TNT Airways Belfast-International, Liège
UPS Airlines Cologne/Bonn, Louisville, Philadelphia
UPS Airlines
operated by Star Air (Maersk)
Cologne/Bonn, Belfast-International, Edinburgh
Woodgate Aviation Dublin

East Midlands Airport is the second largest cargo airport in the United Kingdom after London Heathrow. In 2012 Heathrow handled 1.56 million tonnes of freight & mail compared with 300,000 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 to import/export freight to Belfast and Liege.


The air traffic control tower at East Midlands airport, located at the south of the airfield, next to the terminal.
The terminal buildings as they appear today.
The check-in hall at the airport.
Busiest routes to and from East Midlands Airport (2014)[15][16]
Rank Airport Passengers handled % Change
2013 to 14
1 Alicante 394,894 9
2 Palma de Mallorca 344,996 3
3 Málaga 328,804 6
4 Tenerife South 282,907 23
5 Faro 253,471 4
6 Arrecife de Lanzarote 187,801 27
7 Ibiza 116,727 7
8 Dublin 115,728 36
9 Edinburgh 92,683 7
10 Glasgow-International 91,901 7
11 Murcia San Javier 90,707
12 Fuerteventura 89,333 10
13 Las Palmas de Gran Canaria 79,486 10
14 Wrocław 77,795 2
15 Dalaman 73,459
16 Mahon de Minorca 73,387 4
17 Barcelona 70,647
18 Enfidha 68,788 1
19 Paphos 65.810 2
20 Corfu 56,863 18

Transport links


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 nearest railway station is East Midlands Parkway, which is 4 miles (6.4 km) away.

The original shuttle bus service linking the station and the airport had ceased not long after it was introduced,[17] but in 2015 an hourly minibus service was re-introduced by Elite Cars, restoring scheduled shuttle services to and from the airport.[18] Connections to the airport via taxi are also available.

Although very much still in the initial stages of planning, 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 to serve the airport and the Nottingham and Derby catchment areas.[19]


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.[20][21]

East Midlands Aeropark

The 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 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 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.[23]
  • 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.[24]
  • 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 April 2014 An Air Contractors Boeing 737-400 freighter, registration EI-STD performing freight flight QY-1748 from Paris-Charles de Gaulle to East Midlands with 2 crew and 10 tonnes of freight, had safely landed on East Midland's runway 27 and slowed to taxi speed. While attempting to turn off the runway parts the left main landing gear collapsed disabling the aircraft on the runway. There were no injuries but the runway needed to be closed for most of the day.


  1. ^ "East Midlands – EGNX". Retrieved 8 November 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c "CAA: UK Annual Airport Statistics". UK Civil Aviation Authority. Retrieved 1 April 2014. 
  3. ^ Retrieved 16 June 2015. 
  4. ^ "Campaign News". DEMAND Campaign. Retrieved 7 October 2008. 
  5. ^ Alice O'Keeffe (6 November 2006). "Planet saved?: Why the green movement is taking to the streets".  
  6. ^"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."
  7. ^ "easyJet announces network redeployments". Retrieved 8 November 2010. 
  8. ^ "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,"
  9. ^ "the eighties." British Midland International. Retrieved on 28 December 2011.
  10. ^ "World Airline Directory." Flight International. 26 July 1980. 295. "Head Office: East Midlands Airport, Castle Donington, Derby, Great Britain. 37172."
  11. ^
  12. ^ "Ryanair Flight Timetable". Ryanair. Retrieved 5 August 2015. 
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^ "International Air Passenger Traffic To and From Reporting Airports for 2014 Comparison with the Previous Year" (PDF).  
  16. ^ "Domestic Air Passenger Traffic To and From Reporting Airports for 2014 Comparison with the Previous Year" (PDF).  
  17. ^ "Train services to and from East Midlands Parkway – East Midlands Trains".  
  18. ^ Department for Transport Report on HS2 - see paragraph 4.26
  19. ^ "Skylink". Skylink. Retrieved 2 October 2014. 
  20. ^ "Skylink Derby". Kinchbus. Retrieved 2 October 2014. 
  21. ^ "Accident description". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 7 October 2009. 
  22. ^ "ASN Aircraft accident Shorts 360-100 EI-BEM East Midlands Airport (EMA)". Retrieved 8 November 2010. 
  23. ^ "ASN Aircraft accident Fokker F-27 Friendship 200 G-BMAU East Midlands Airport (EMA)". Retrieved 8 November 2010. 
  24. ^ "Terrorist Bombers May Have Targeted Aircraft". Fox News. 7 April 2010. Retrieved 1 November 2010. 
  25. ^ "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. 
  26. ^ Rayner, Gordon (31 October 2010). "'"Cargo plane bomb plot: al-Qaeda terrorists 'threatened another Lockerbie. Telegraph. Retrieved 1 November 2010. 
  27. ^ "Al-Qaida claims responsibility for cargo bombs". MSNBC. 5 November 2010. Retrieved 8 November 2010. 

External links

  • Official website
  • East Midlands Aeropark – official museum website
  • Donair Flying Club – official flying club website
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