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Liverpool John Lennon Airport
Liverpool Airport
Liverpool John Lennon Airport logo.png
John Lennon Airport Lpool.jpg
Owner Peel Group
Operator Liverpool Airport plc
Serves Liverpool
North Wales
Location Speke, Liverpool, Merseyside
Hub for
Elevation AMSL 80 ft / 24 m
Coordinates 53°20′01″N 002°50′59″W / 53.33361°N 2.84972°W / 53.33361; -2.84972 (Liverpool John Lennon Airport)Coordinates: 53°20′01″N 002°50′59″W / 53.33361°N 2.84972°W / 53.33361; -2.84972 (Liverpool John Lennon Airport)
Direction Length Surface
m ft
09/27 2,286 7,500 Asphalt
Statistics (2009)
Movements 79,298
Passengers 4,884,494

Liverpool John Lennon Airport (IATA: LPLICAO: EGGP) is an international airport serving the city of Liverpool and North West England. Formerly known as Speke Airport and RAF Speke, the airport is located within the City of Liverpool adjacent to the estuary of the River Mersey some 6.5 NM (12.0 km; 7.5 mi)[1] southeast of the centre of Liverpool, the airport is named after assassinated musician and peace activist John Lennon. Alongside domestic services, there are also regular scheduled flights to dozens of locations across Europe, the Near East and North Africa as well as formerly North America.

Until 2007 it was one of Europe's fastest growing airports, having increased its annual passenger numbers from 875,000 in 1998 to 5.47 million. CAA UK airport statistics show that the number of passengers during 2009 reduced by 8.4% compared with 2008, to 4.9 million,[2] making Liverpool the tenth busiest airport in the United Kingdom.

Liverpool Airport has a CAA Public Use Aerodrome Licence (Number P735) that allows flights for the public transport of passengers and for flying instruction.



The old terminal building, used between the 1930s and 1986, in 2008. The building is now the Crowne Plaza Liverpool John Lennon Airport Hotel. The former apron is home to several preserved aircraft
The new terminal building, completed in 2002
The interior of the terminal building in 2006
the 160-room Hilton Hotel at John Lennon Airport
Design proposal for extended and new terminal buildings at John Lennon Airport

Built in part of the grounds of Speke Hall, Liverpool (Speke) Airport, as the airport was originally known, started scheduled flights in 1930 with a service by Imperial Airways via Barton Aerodrome near Eccles, Manchester, and Birmingham to Croydon Airport near London. However, it was not "officially" opened until the summer of 1933. By the late 1930s, air traffic from Liverpool was beginning to take off with increasing demand for Irish Sea crossings, and a distinctive passenger terminal, control tower and two large aircraft hangars were built.

During World War II, the airport was taken over by the Royal Air Force and known as RAF Speke. Rootes built many bombers in a "shadow factory" here, including Bristol Blenheims and 1,070 Handley Page Halifaxes. Lockheed Aircraft Corporation assembled many types including Hudsons and Mustangs, that had been shipped from the United States to Liverpool Docks. The airport was also home to the Merchant Ship Fighter Unit.

On 8 October 1940, Speke was witness to what is thought to be the fastest air to air combat "kill" in the Battle of Britain and possibly of all time. Flight Lieutenant Denys Gillam took off in his Hawker Hurricane from Speke to be confronted by a Junkers 88 passing across him. As his undercarriage was still retracting he shot the Junkers down, and, along with Alois Vašátko and Josef Stehlík, all of 312 Squadron, was credited with the kill. The moment has been caught in a painting by Robert Taylor called "Fastest Victory".[3][4]

Civil airline operations resumed on a normal basis after VE-day and passengers increased from 50,000 in 1945 to 75,000 in 1948, remaining ahead of Manchester Airport. Ownership by the Ministry of Aviation proved to be a drag on the airport's progress thereafter and Manchester gained the lead from 1949, resulting in Liverpool's loss of the only ground-controlled radar approach unit available to North West airports, further hampering operation.

The city took over control of the airport on 1 January 1961 and prepared development plans. In 1966, a new 7,500 ft (2,286 m) runway was opened by Prince Philip on a new site to the southeast of the existing airfield. It enabled the airport to be open for business around the clock and is in use to this day. Control of the airport transferred to Merseyside County Council from Liverpool Corporation in the mid 1970s and then, ten years later, to the five Merseyside councils following the abolition of Merseyside County Council. A new modern passenger terminal, adjacent to the runway on the southern airfield site, opened in 1986, and this was followed by the closure of the original 1930s building.[5]

The original terminal building dating from the late 1930s, famously seen on early television footage with its terraces packed with Beatles fans, was left derelict for over a decade after being replaced in 1986. However it has recently been renovated and adapted to become the Crowne Plaza Liverpool John Lennon Airport Hotel, preserving its Grade II listed Art Deco style. The former apron of the terminal is also listed and retained in its original condition, although it is no longer connected to the airport or subject to airside access control. It is the home of several aircraft, including BAe Jetstream 41 prototype G-JMAC and Bristol Britannia G-ANCF, preserved by the Jetstream Club. The two art deco style hangars that flank the terminal and apron have also been converted for new uses. One is now a David Lloyd leisure centre, whilst the other has been adapted as the headquarters of the Shop Direct Group, and is now known as Skyways House.[6][7][8][9]

In 1990 ownership of the airport was privatised, with British Aerospace taking a 76% shareholding in the new company. Subsequently the airport has become a wholly owned subsidiary of Peel Holdings Ltd. In 2000, work on a £42.5 million modern passenger terminal began, tripling its size and passenger capacity, and this development was completed in 2002. There have since been further extensions. The airport's strategy is to cater largely for 'low cost' operators, and consequently the layout of the terminal and gates requires passengers to walk unprotected from the weather to and from passenger aircraft. Destinations served are located throughout Europe, the 2007 scheduled services to the USA and Canada having been withdrawn.

2002 saw the airport being renamed in honour of John Lennon, a founding member of the Liverpudlian group The Beatles, twenty-two years after Lennon's death. A 7 ft (2.1 m) tall bronze statue of the local icon stands overlooking the check-in hall. On the roof is painted the airport's motto, a line from Lennon's song "Imagine": "Above us, only sky".[10] In 2005 the Yellow Submarine, a large-scale work of art, was installed on a traffic island at the entrance to the airport.

In late 2006, the now defunct airline Flyglobespan began daily flights from John Lennon Airport to Tenerife South Airport, the Canary Islands, Spain and the airport's first long haul flights to John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport near Toronto, Canada and John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City, the United States. Although they proved fairly popular, a long series of problems with the service lead to it being abandoned the next year.

In September 2006 reconstruction started on the main runway and taxiways. This was the first time the runway had been reconstructed (as opposed to resurfaced) since it was opened in 1966. This work was completed in 2007.[11] In addition to runway and shoulder work was the upgrade of the 40 year old airfield group lighting with a new system, intended to upgrade the runway to ILS Category III standards.[citation needed] In 2007 Liverpool Airport started the construction of a new multi-level car park and a budget Hampton by Hilton Hotel with an overhead bridge to the main terminal.[12] In 2009 a announcement came from Peel Airports Group that they are considering new investors to continue its investment at its airports. The proposed developments for Liverpool Airport will see improvements in retail by creating additional shop units and a more advanced security area aiming at reducing waiting times. The new facilities are due to be completed in Autumn 2010.[13]

A Master Plan is in place to be completed by 2030 which plans for the airport to grow significantly. This includes, new terminal buildings as well as the introduction of permenant long-haul services.[14]

Airlines and destinations

Airlines Destinations
Eastern Airways Aberdeen, Southampton
EasyJet Alicante, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Belfast-International, Berlin-Schönefeld, Bodrum [begins 11 June:seasonal], Bordeaux [seasonal], Dubrovnik [seasonal], Faro, Fuerteventura, Geneva, Ibiza [seasonal], Innsbruck [seasonal], Isle of Man [beings 21 May], Jersey, Kraków, Lanzarote, Lisbon [seasonal], Madrid, Málaga, Malta [begins 13 June], Minorca [seasonal], Naples [seasonal], Nice, Palma de Mallorca, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Rhodes [begins 12 June]
Flybe Isle of Man
KLM operated by KLM Cityhopper Amsterdam
Ryanair Alicante, Arrecife, Agadir, Belfast-City, Bergerac [seasonal], Bratislava, Bremen, Bydgoszcz [seasonal], Carcassonne, Cork, Derry, Dublin, Faro, Fuerteventura [begins 31 March], Girona, Granada [ends 4 May], Grenoble [seasonal], Ibiza [seasonal], Kaunas, Knock, Kraków, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Limoges, Lodz [begins 1 April], Málaga, Milan-Orio al Serio, Murcia, Nîmes [seasonal], Oslo-Torp, Palma de Mallorca, Pisa [seasonal], Porto [seasonal], Poznań, Reus, Riga, Rimini [begins 31 March], Rome-Ciampino, Rzeszów, Seville [seasonal], Shannon, Stockholm-Skavsta, Szczecin [begins 21 May], Tenerife-South, Trapani [begins 30 March], Venice-Treviso, Wrocław
Thomson Airways Alicante [ends 27 April]
Wizz Air Gdańsk, Katowice, Prague, Warsaw


Other flight-providing organisations at the airport include:

  • Merseyflight (Flying school)
  • Liverpool Flying School
  • Ravenair (charter and flying training)


An aerial view of John Lennon Airport alongside the River Mersey
The airport's control tower
EasyJet Airbus A319 turning onto Alpha One
Number of Passengers [2] Number of Movements [15]
1997 689,468 28,521
1998 873,172 28,585
1999 1,304,959 27,064
2000 1,982,711 32,442
2001 2,253,398 30,510
2002 2,835,871 32,764
2003 3,177,009 38,760
2004 3,353,350 39,736
2005 4,411,243 49,341
2006 4,963,886 47,792
2007 5,468,510 45,772
2008 5,334,152 43,708
2009 4,884,494 42,143
20 Busiest Current Routes out of Liverpool John Lennon Airport (2009)
Rank Airport Passengers handled 2008-2009 Change Airlines that serve(d)
1  Great Britain - Belfast International Airport 397,052 1% Easyjet
2  Spain - Malaga Airport 297,157 1% Easyjet, Ryanair
3  Netherlands - Amsterdam Airport 288,875 13% Easyjet, KLM
4  Ireland - Dublin Airport 283,062 3% Ryanair
5  Spain - Alicante Airport 269,112 3% Easyjet, Ryanair, Thomson Airways
6  Spain - Palma Airport 197,779 7% Easyjet, Ryanair
7  Portugal - Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport 167,237 7% Easyjet
8  Spain - Barcelona Airport 158,700 5% Easyjet
9  Great Britain - Belfast City Airport 158,172 1% Ryanair
10  France - Nice Airport 137,664 1% Easyjet
11  Switzerland - Geneva Airport 137,179 5% Easyjet
12  Portugal - Faro Airport 135,437 36% Easyjet, Ryanair
13  Spain - Madrid Airport 130,843 1% Easyjet
14  Poland - Kraków Airport 128,814 4% Easyjet, Ryanair
15  United Kingdom - Isle of Man Airport 117,492 12% Flybe
16  Spain - Berlin Schönefeld Airport 96,086 1% Easyjet
17  Spain - Girona Airport 89,669 10% Ryanair
18  Ireland - Cork Airport 89,485 4% Ryanair
19  Spain - Murcia Airport 80,624 24% Ryanair
20  Spain - Reus Airport 71,421 26% Ryanair
Source: UK Civil Aviation Authority [1]

Transport links

Liverpool South Parkway railway station was built to improve links to the airport

By road, the airport is readily accessible by the M53 and M56 motorways via the A533 / Runcorn Bridge to the south, and the M57 and M62 motorways via the Knowsley Expressway to the north of the airport.

The airport does not have its own railway station. The nearest station is at Liverpool South Parkway, from which there are regular bus shuttle services to the airport. The station provides frequent rail services to central Liverpool, Crosby, Hunts Cross and Southport, on the suburban Merseyrail network, together with longer distance direct links to Manchester, Birmingham, Sheffield, Nottingham, Grantham, Peterborough and Norwich on the National Rail network.

There are also regular bus services linking the airport with the surrounding urban areas. Express shuttle services also operate to Liverpool and Manchester.

Accidents and incidents



  • Liverpool Airport - an Illustrated History. Phil Butler. Tempus Publishing, Stroud, 2004. ISBN 0-7524-3168-4.


  1. ^ a b "Liverpool - EGGP". NATS (Services) Limited. Retrieved 2009-01-01. 
  2. ^ a b c "UK Airport Statistics: 2009 - annual". UK Civil Aviation Authority. Retrieved 2009-03-16. 
  3. ^ "Shooting down of a Ju88 by No 312 Squadron". RAF Millom Aviation & Military Museum Group. Retrieved 2009-01-21. 
  4. ^ Taylor, Robert. "Fastest Victory". Retrieved 2008-09-10. 
  5. ^ "Liverpool John Lennon Airport History". Liverpool John Lennon Airport. 2004. Retrieved 2005-11-15. 
  6. ^ "Liverpool Marriott Hotel South". Marriott International Inc. Retrieved 2005-11-15. 
  7. ^ "Recent History and Current Developments". Friends of Liverpool Airport. Retrieved 2008-09-09. 
  8. ^ "The Jetstream Club". The Jetstream Club. Retrieved 2008-09-09. 
  9. ^ Roberts, Patricia (2005-07-14). "Home shopping jobs go west". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 2008-09-09. 
  10. ^ Peter Adey, ""Above Us Only Sky": Themes, Simulations, and Liverpool John Lennon Airport," pp. 153-166 in The Themed Space: Locating Culture, Nation, and Self, ed. Scott A. Lukas (Lanham, MD, Lexington Books, 2007), ISBN 0-7391-2142-1
  11. ^ "Tarmac's John Lennon Airport resurfacing". Contract Journal. Retrieved 2009-01-21. 
  12. ^ "Liverpool John Lennon Airport Hampton by Hilton Hotel". Business Traveller. 2009. 
  13. ^ "Liverpool John Lennon Airport Press Release". Liverpool Airport. 2009. 
  14. ^
  15. ^ Number of Movements represents total air transport takeoffs and landings during that year.
  16. ^ "Accident description". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 7 October 2009. 

External links


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