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Leeds/Bradford AirportLeeds Bradford International Airport, Leeds and Bradford in West Yorkshire, England

June 9th, 2007 / / Links: Google Earth, Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, Virtual Earth / Nearest places

Leeds Bradford International Airport (IATA: LBA, ICAO: EGNM) is located between the cities of Leeds and Bradford in West Yorkshire, England. The airport was in public ownership until May 2007, when it was sold for £145.5 million.

Leeds Bradford has a CAA Public Use Aerodrome Licence (Number P800) that allows flights for the public transport of passengers or for flying instruction.

Leeds and Bradford councils jointly bought a site at Yeadon in 1930, and opened it as Yeadon Aerodrome in 1931, for club flights and training. Scheduled flights began four years later in 1935. The first flights were to Newcastle, Edinburgh, Blackpool and the Isle of Man.

In 1936, 609 (West Riding) Auxiliary Squadron of the RAF formed at Yeadon. Seasonal flights between Yeadon and Isle of Man and Liverpool also started this year. Work began on a terminal building in that year, but progress was halted after only one wing had been built.

Civil aviation ended at Yeadon in 1939 when WWII started; the nearby Avro factory was used to produce military aircraft and many of these flew from Yeadon Aerodrome. Aircraft manufactured included Lancasters, Anson, York and Lincoln. Significant developments were made to the aerodrome; the addition of two runways, taxiways and extra hangarage meant that Yeadon became an important site for military aircraft testing.

Civil flights didn't recommence until 1947; and shortly after this in 1953 Yeadon Aviation Ltd was formed to run the Airport and Aero Club. Two years later 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 the terminal building was sadly destroyed by fire. A replacement terminal was opened by 1968.

In 1976 the first package holiday flight to the Iberian Peninsula flew out of Leeds Bradford.

In 1978 it was decided that with runway extensions the airport's status could be upgraded to a regional airport. Work began in 1982, and was completed by 1984. This included significant extension to the main runway including putting the A658 Bradford to Harrogate road into a tunnel. The airport also underwent significant terminal extensions and redevelopments. The first phase of these developments was opened in 1985.

The first wide-body airliner service to operate from Leeds Bradford was a Britannia Airways Boeing 767 flight to Palma, which began in 1985. It attracted the attention of the local media.

For a period in the 1980s there were transatlantic services from Leeds Bradford Airport operated by Wardair that flew to Toronto Pearson International Airport.

In 1986, Concorde visited Leeds Bradford for the first time with an estimated 60,000 people at the airport to see it land.

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%).

Although initially the airport had restrictions on its operating hours, these were removed in 1994, meaning that flights could depart from and fly into Leeds Bradford at any time of day or night.

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 2006 nearly 2.8 million passengers passed through the airport, a 73% increase in just six years and more than twice as many compared with 1997 (1.2 million). Much of the growth in passengers since 2003 has been due to the active promotion by the based low-cost airline of new scheduled routes from the airport.

Since 2000 the airport has been home to the Yorkshire Air Ambulance.

The original runway, 09/27, closed on 6th October 2005, to be redeveloped as a taxiway and extra apron space.

Last year Isle of Man based airline Manx2 re-opened the airport's oldest air route - to the Isle of Man - with a double daily service.

In October 2006 plans to privatise the airport were confirmed when Bradford Council became the last of the five controlling councils (the others being Leeds, Wakefield, Calderdale and Kirklees councils) to agree to sell off the airport to the private sector.

On April 4, 2007 the five controlling councils announced that Bridgepoint Capital had been selected as the preferred bidder. On May 3, 2007 Bridgepoint was confirmed as the buyer - the final price being £145.5 million.

On May 4, 2007 Bridgepoint Capital acquired the airport from Leeds, Bradford, Wakefield, Calderdale and Kirklees councils for £145.5 million. The new owners have said they are to implement a £70 million capital expenditure plan, to focus on improving passenger and retail infrastructure. Other aims include more than doubling passenger numbers to 7 million per annum and adding up to 20 new scheduled destinations, both by 2015.

[Source: Wikipedia]

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