History of Cardiff Airport

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Established 1989 – Over 30
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As with nearly all of todays UK airports, Cardiff airport started life when the Air Ministry requisitioned land in the Vale of Glamorgan in 1940 to set up a training base for the RAF pilots. The airfield was officially opened in 1942 when No 53 training unit was set up for Spitfires.

The airport was not used for commercial purposes until the 1950’s when Aer Lingus started a service to Dublin. Prior to this the terminal building was little more than a shack and a new terminal building was added and flights to France, Belfast and Cork began.

It took until 1962 before 100,000 passengers passed through the airport for the year. Glamorgan County Council officially took over control of the airport in 1965 from the Air Ministry.The 1970’s saw major developments to the terminal building, control tower, and the main runway which was extended to 7000 feet allowing the airport to take wide bodied aeroplanes which coincided with the first flight to the USA.

Following local government reorganisation the ownership of the airport was split between South,Mid and West Glomorgan. By this time charter traffic was increasing and in the early 1980’s the airport saw over 250,000 passengers. Services to Canada and Florida further increased traffic levels and the runway extension by a further 750 ft allowed the new 747 jumbo jets to use the airport and helped attract British Airways to set up their maintenance department.

By the 1990’s passengers had crept up to 100,000 and when Manx Airlines established themselves at Cardiff airport and by 1992 numbers shot up to 700,000.

In 1995 the company was sold to TBI plc so that more capital could be raised to invest in the airport. Cardiff airport continued to grow and by 2006 the 2 million passenger barrier was broken.