Leeds Bradford Airport
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Leeds Bradford Airport (IATA: LBA, ICAO: EGNM) is located at Yeadon, in the City of Leeds Metropolitan District in West Yorkshire, England, about 7 miles (11 km) northwest of Leeds city centre itself, and about 9 miles (14 km) from Bradford city centre. It was opened in October 1931 as Yeadon Aerodrome, and is still often referred to as Yeadon Airport by locals. It serves the cities of Leeds and Bradford, as well as the wider Yorkshire region including the cities of York and Wakefield, and the District of Harrogate, and is the largest airport within Yorkshire. The airport was in public ownership until May 2007, when it was sold for £145.5 million to Bridgepoint Capital.
Leeds Bradford Airport
|Operator||Leeds Bradford Airport Limited|
|Serves||Leeds, Harrogate, Bradford, York, Huddersfield, Kirklees, Calderdale, and Wakefield|
|Location||Yeadon, West Yorkshire, England|
|Opened||17 October 1931|
|Focus city for|
|Elevation AMSL||681 ft / 208 m|
Leeds Bradford has a CAA Public Use Aerodrome Licence (Number P800) that allows flights for the public transport of passengers and for flight training. The Airport operates to many domestic and European destinations. The airport is also the highest in England at an elevation of 681 ft (208 m). By the number of passengers handled in 2016, Leeds Bradford was the 15th busiest airport in the UK. It is a base for Eastern Airways, Jet2.com and Ryanair.
The airport was opened as the "Leeds and Bradford Municipal Aerodrome" (Yeadon Aerodrome) on 17 October 1931 and was operated by the Yorkshire Aeroplane Club on behalf of Leeds and Bradford Corporations. In 1935 the aerodrome was expanded by 35 acres (140,000 m2) and scheduled flights began on 8 April 1935 with a service by North Eastern Airways from London (Heston Aerodrome) to Newcastle upon Tyne (Cramlington). The service was soon extended to Edinburgh (Turnhouse). In June 1935 Blackpool and West Coast Air Services started a service to the Isle of Man. By 1936 the London/Yeadon/Newcastle/Edinburgh service was flying three times a week and also stopped at Doncaster and carried on to Aberdeen (Dyce).
Civil aviation at Yeadon was halted in 1939, with the outbreak of the Second World War. Avro built a new shadow factory, to produce military aircraft, just to the north of the aerodrome; a taxiway connected the factory to the aerodrome and many of the aircraft first flew from Yeadon. Around 5,515 aircraft were produced and delivered from Yeadon of the following main types: Anson (over 4,500), Bristol Blenheim (250), Lancaster bomber (695), York (45) and the Lincoln (25). The Avro factory was camouflaged and had dummy cows placed on top of the factory so that from the air it would look just like fields with cattle. The original hangars remain to this day.
1947 to 1969Edit
Civil flights recommenced at the airport in 1947, after Geoff Rennard fought for Leeds and Bradford to have an aerodrome, and eventually gained permission for an Aero Club. He was then appointed Airport Manager and stayed at the post for 5 years. Subsequently, Yeadon Aviation Ltd was formed in 1953 to run the Airport and Aero Club. Two years later in 1955 flights to Belfast, Jersey, Ostend, Southend, the Isle of Wight and Düsseldorf were added to Yeadon's destination list. Scheduled flights to London began in 1960, and Dublin was added shortly after. A new runway was opened in 1965, and in that year the terminal building was destroyed by a fire, with a replacement terminal opened by 1968.
1970 to 1994Edit
In 1978, it was decided that, with runway extensions, the airport could be upgraded to regional airport status. Work began in 1982, and was completed in November 1984. This included a significant extension to the main runway, including the construction of a tunnel to take the A658 Bradford to Harrogate road beneath the runway. The airport also underwent significant extensions and redevelopments to the Terminal building, the first phase of which was opened on 18 July 1985.
On 4 November 1984, the day the runway extension was officially opened, Wardair commenced transatlantic flights from Leeds Bradford to Toronto, using Boeing 747s, though these flights were discontinued in 1989 when Wardair ceased operations. However, Worldways Canada, Odyssey International, Air Transat, Nationair and Caledonian all operated the route well into the 1990s using a mixture of Lockheed Tristar and Boeing 757 200 equipment .
On 2 August 1986, an Air France Concorde charter flight from Paris landed at Leeds Bradford for the first time, and an estimated 70,000 people were there to see it. Occasional Concorde charter flights, all of which used British Airways aircraft, continued until June 2000, just one month before the Concorde disaster in Paris.
Initially the airport had restricted operating hours, and this deterred many charter airlines, whose cheap fares depended on 'round-the-clock' use of their aircraft. In 1994, these restrictions were removed and flights could use the airport 24 hours a day, so more airlines were attracted to Leeds Bradford.
1995 to dateEdit
Work on the airport terminal has been ongoing since 1996, and the result of this has been significant growth in terminal size and passenger facilities. In 2007 nearly 2.9 million passengers passed through the airport, an 88% increase in just seven years and more than twice as many compared with 1997 (1.2 million). Much of the growth in passenger numbers since 2003 has been due to the introduction of scheduled flights by the based low-cost airline Jet2.com.
The original runway (09/27) was closed on 6 October 2005, to be redeveloped as a taxiway and to provide additional apron space. In November 2008 the early stages of the airport masterplan were clarified, with in-depth detailed plans for the expansion of the airport terminal being published, at an estimated cost of £28 million.
The airport has one terminal and two air bridges. It has 24 aircraft stands capable of handling up to Boeing 767-200 aircraft but there are proposals to expand this by up to around 32. The terminal consists of two check-in halls: Check in hall A is used by all airlines except Jet2; the other is solely used and operated by Jet2. Upstairs there is a retail space which comprises shops, restaurants, bars and a duty-free area. There are three lounges in the international departures lounge. There are long, medium and short-stay car parks with over 7000 parking spaces as well as a drop off points. The Airport benefits from a large World Duty free offer and well as other food and beverage offers including Camden Foods, Burger King, WH Smiths, Boots and Starbucks.
|Royal Air Force Station Yeadon|
|Controlled by||Royal Air Force|
|In use||1936-1939, 1946-1957|
|Garrison||RAF Fighter Command|
609 (West Riding) Squadron was based here from its formation on 10 February 1936 until 27 August 1939 when they moved to Catterick (not returning again until 1947). 609 reformed in 1946 and returned to Yeadon in 1947 with their Mosquito MK.XXX aircraft, which proved difficult due to the runways being too short to comfortably operate these aircraft. Safety speed (that which the aircraft needs to be flown and controlled on a single engine) was not reached until over flying central Leeds if taking off in that direction—with obviously drastic results should things go wrong on take-off. In addition, the airfield sloped downhill, meaning that it was necessary to land at RAF Linton-on-Ouse (20 miles away) if the wind was coming from the wrong direction. Eventually the Air Ministry re-equipped 609 with Spitfire LFXVIs. This was sufficient as a short-term measure, but the grass airstrip was not ideally suited to Spitfire operations, and so it was decided that 609 Squadron should move to the hard runways of RAF Church Fenton in October 1950.
Yeadon was requisitioned by the Royal Air Force and became part of firstly 13 Group, then 12 Group at a later date. Once 609 (West Riding) Squadron left for Catterick, Yeadon served as a Flying Training School, bomber maintenance unit, and a scatter airfield. In January 1942 it was transferred to the Ministry of Aircraft Production, whereupon Avro built a shadow factory for the production of Albermarles, Ansons, Lancasters, Yorks, and Lincolns. It was also used by Hawker Aircraft for development work on its Tornado design. The Royal Air Force remained a part of Yeadons life until 1957, operating Austers, Supermarine Spitfires, De Havilland Mosquitoes out of here. RAF Yeadon finally closed in 1959.
- 609 (West Riding) Squadron 1936-1939, 1946–1950
- 23 Gliding School 1946-1950
- Leeds University Air Squadron 1955-1960
- 1970 Flight 1952-1957
Aircraft that would have been based at Yeadon:
In line with government recommendations, Leeds Bradford Airport published a masterplan in March 2017. Since then, planning has been secured in January 2019 to redevelopment the terminal to create additional departure gate access, extended seating areas, improved baggage reclaim facilities and enlarged immigration and customs facilities. Both Leeds City Council and the West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) consulted in 2019 on the delivery of a new link road and parkway rail station for the Airport the latter of which will provide a 10min connection to Leeds city main train station.
Leeds and Bradford councils jointly bought the airport site at Yeadon in 1930, which opened as Yeadon Aerodrome in 1931. The airport became a limited company in 1987, and was shared between the five surrounding boroughs of Leeds (40%), Bradford (40%) and Wakefield, Calderdale and Kirklees (together sharing the remaining 20%). In October 2006 plans to privatise the airport were confirmed and on 4 April 2007 the five controlling councils announced that Bridgepoint Capital had been selected as the preferred bidder. On 4 May 2007 Bridgepoint Capital acquired the airport from Leeds, Bradford, Wakefield, Calderdale and Kirklees councils for £145.5 million. Although Bridgepoint Capital owned the airport 100% financially, the councils hold a "special share" in the airport, to protect its name and continued operation as an air transport gateway for the Yorkshire region. In Nov 2017 Bridgepoint Capital sold the airport to AMP Capital who own several other airports around the world. AMP plans to expand the airport, improve the customer experience and secure more business flights.
Airlines and destinationsEdit
The following airlines operate regular scheduled and charter flights to and from Leeds/Bradford:
Passengers and movementsEdit
|Leeds Bradford Airport Passenger Totals|
|Source: UK Civil Aviation Authority|
2017 / 18
|2||Dublin||289,963||2.6%||Aer Lingus Regional, Ryanair|
|4||Palma de Mallorca||253,567||4.3%||Jet2, Ryanair, TUI Airways|
|5||Amsterdam||252,180||4.3%||Jet2, KLM Cityhopper|
|12||Las Palmas||93,472||1.7%||Jet2, Ryanair|
Jet2.com's head office is located in the Low Fare Finder House, a building on the grounds of Leeds Bradford Airport. Jet2.com's parent company, Dart Group, has its head office in the same building. West Yorkshire metropolitan police are also based at the airport. The airport processes a small amount of freight from it’s two cargo sheds on site with a view to expanding this operation, a key focus of the business and masterplan objectives.
Bus services that link the airport include the 757 route to Leeds operated by Yorkshire Tiger which runs every 20 minutes. Routes 737 and 747, also operated by Yorkshire Tiger, run to Bradford Interchange, and the 747 route extends to Harrogate. Keighley Bus Company operates route 62 to Otley and extends to Menston railway station, Ilkley and Keighley . Services to Leeds and Bradford link the airport with the National Rail network via Leeds railway station, Bradford Interchange and Bradford Forster Square and connects with long distance coach services at Leeds City bus station and Bradford Interchange.
As part of both the airport and Metro's long-term strategies, there are proposals for the construction of a direct rail link to the airport on a branch from the Harrogate Line, however no firm commitments or timescales have been announced. Leeds North West MP Greg Mulholland has consistently campaigned for the construction of a rail link, having his case heard by transport minister Susan Kramer in March 2015. The two nearest railway stations are Guiseley and Horsforth. There is a direct link by the 737 Bradford–Airport bus from the airport to Guiseley, and service 757 between Leeds and the Airport provides a service between the Airport and New Road Side in Horsforth where connections exist with service(s) 31 and 32 to Horsforth railway station Monday to Saturday during daytime.
Flight training and general aviationEdit
The airport is home to Multiflight, a flight training and aircraft engineering organisation. They are also the dedicated FBO at the airfield and provide helicopter and fixed wing charter flights as well as aircraft sales and management. General aviation operations are confined to the south-side of the airport, in order to maintain separation from commercial traffic utilising the main terminal.
In addition to numerous privately owned aircraft hangared on the south-side, a fleet of around 18 training aircraft are based at the airport. These include Cessna 152s, Piper PA28s and Beechcraft BE-76 Duchess twin engine trainers and Robinson R22 and R44 helicopters.
During 2005 two new hangars capable of housing 4 × B737-800s were constructed, as well as a new apron and direct taxiway to the runway. A dedicated southside fuel farm was also installed. In the past decade, over £10m has been invested into infrastructure on the south side by Multiflight.
The Aviation Academy is also located in a hangar at Leeds Bradford Airport, in conjunction with the Open University. Aviation professionals Derek Brickell and Peter Jackson, are based at the academy. The academy trains and prepares students to work in the aviation industry.
Incidents and accidentsEdit
- On 27 May 1985, a Lockheed Tristar operated by British Airtours, registration G-BBAI, overran the runway surface on landing from Palma after a rain shower. The aircraft was evacuated, with only minor injuries sustained by the 14 crew and 398 passengers. The nose landing gear strut folded backwards during the overrun, leading to severe damage to the underside of the forward fuselage. The undersides of both wing-mounted engines were flattened and both engines suffered ingestion damage. The main wheels of the aircraft also dug deep troughs in the area beyond the end of the runway, damaging the buried airfield lighting cables. The accident report concluded that the overrun was caused by the inability of the aircraft to achieve the appropriate level of braking effectiveness and recommended that both the scheduled wet runway performance of the TriStar and the condition of the surface of runway 14 at Leeds Bradford Airport should be re-examined.
- On 24 May 1995, an Embraer EMB 110 Bandeirante aircraft, registration G-OEAA operated by Knight Air on a flight between Leeds Bradford and Aberdeen (see Knight Air Flight 816) entered a steeply descending spiral dive, broke up in flight and crashed into farmland at Dunkeswick Moor near Leeds. All 12 occupants were killed. The probable cause of the accident was the failure of one or both artificial horizon instruments. There was no standby artificial horizon installed (as there was no airworthiness requirement for one on this aircraft) and the accident report concluded that this left the crew without a single instrument available for assured attitude reference or simple means of determining which flight instruments had failed. The aircraft entered a spiral dive from which the pilot, who was likely to have become spatially disoriented, was unable to recover.
- On 18 May 2005, a Jordanian Airbus A320, registration JY-JAR operating for Spanish charter airline LTE suffered a braking malfunction on landing at Leeds Bradford Airport following a flight from Fuerteventura. The aircraft touched down on runway 14 just beyond the touchdown zone, approximately 400 m (1,300 ft) beyond the aiming point. The pilots determined that the rate of deceleration was inadequate and applied full reverse thrust and full manual braking in an effort to stop the aircraft, however the normal braking system malfunctioned and the Captain turned the aircraft onto a level grassed area to the right of the runway where it came to rest. There were no injuries to the passengers or crew, however the Air Accidents Investigation Branch made seven safety recommendations in the final accident report.
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