Liverpool John Lennon international airport has been serving the North West of England for many years. The airport was formerly known as Speke Airport, RAF Speke and Liverpool Airport and is located within minutes from the City of Liverpool close to the estuary of the River Mersey. The airport is names after a the famous Beatles musician John Lennon. The airport typically caters for some domestic services and scheduled flights to destinations across Europe.
Liverpool Airport has been one of the fastest growing airports between 1997 and 2007 with an increasing annual passenger number. Passenger numbers have fallen since the economic recession to around 4.5Million making it the tenth busiest airport in the United Kingdom. According to TripHacker Liverpool John Lennon Airport operates a CAA Public Use Aerodrome Licence that allows flights for the public transport of passengers and for private flying instruction.
Liverpool Airport was built in part of the grounds of Speke Hall, Liverpool (Speke) Airport, as the airport was commonly known, started its very first scheduled flights in 1930 with a service by Imperial Airways via the Barton Aerodrome close to Eccles, Manchester. The Airport officially opened in mid-1933 and by the 1930s air traffic from Liverpool airport was beginning to increase with a high demand of flights for the popular Irish Sea crossings.
The airport was taken over by the RAF during World War II and was operated as a “shadow factory”. The factory built many types of bombers including the Bristol Blenheims and the Handley Page Halifaxes.
On the 8th of October 1940 Speke witnessed to what was thought to be the fastest air-to-air combat “kill” in the Battle of Britain and possibly of all time. Denys Gillam a Flight Lieutenant took off in his Hawker Hurricane from Speke to be confronted by Junkers 88 shooting across him. He targeted and shot Junkers down while his undercarriage was still retracting, and, along with Alois Vasatko and Josef Stehlik, all of the 312SQN, was awarded with the kill.
Normal Civillian operations started after VE-day and passengers began to increase from 50,000 to 75,00 between 1945 and 1948. The airport was well ahead of Manchester Airport, howeber the Ministry of Aviation proved to have a negative effect on the airport progress which enabled Manchester to gain the lead from 1949. This cause the loss of the only ground-controlled radar approach unit available to North West Airports.
After the war Speke has played host to an annual Air Display in aid of soldiers, sailors and air for association, a charity for veterans. The air displays were extremely popular and proved to be a crowd pleaser.
Liverpool took over the main operations of the airport on the 1st of January 1961 and prepared development plans. 1966 saw the development of the 7500ft (2,286m) runway which was opened by Prince Philip. The new runway totally enhanced the operation of the airport and allowed the business to be run around the clock. Later a modern passenger terminal adjacent to the new runway opened in 1986 and this was followed by the closure of the old 1930s building.
Liverpool was privatised in 1990, with BAE taking a majority shareholding of 76% in the new company. The airport has become wholly owned by a subsidiary of Peel Holdings Ltd. In 2000, work on a £42.5million passenger terminal began which allowed the airport to triple in size. Liverpool Airport has seen further modifications to allow the airport to cater largely for ‘low cost’ operators such as Ryan Air.
Liverpool airport was renamed in 2002 in honour of John Lennon, a founding member of The Beatles, 22 years after his death. On the roof of the airport is the motto “Imagine”:”Above us, only sky”. 2005 saw a large scale work of art of the Yellow Submarine being installed on a traffic island at the entrance of the airport.