Birmingham Airport
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Birmingham Airport

Birmingham Airport
Airport typePublic
OwnerSeven Metropolitan Boroughs of West Midlands (49%), the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan (48.25%) and employees (2.75%)[1]
OperatorBirmingham Airport Ltd
ServesBirmingham, United Kingdom
LocationBickenhill, Solihull, United Kingdom
Hub forFlybe[2]
Focus city for
Elevation AMSL341 ft / 104 m
Coordinates52°27?14?N 001°44?53?W / 52.45389°N 1.74806°W / 52.45389; -1.74806Coordinates: 52°27?14?N 001°44?53?W / 52.45389°N 1.74806°W / 52.45389; -1.74806
EGBB is located in West Midlands county
Location in the West Midlands
EGBB is located in the United Kingdom
EGBB (the United Kingdom)
Direction Length Surface
m ft
15/33 3,052 10,013 Asphalt
Statistics (2018)
Passenger change 17-18Decrease4.2%
Aircraft MovementsDecrease8.1%
Sources: UK AIP at NATS[3]
Statistics from the UK Civil Aviation Authority[4]
The airport site, as it was around 1921.
British Airways and British Caledonian aircraft at the old terminal in 1978
The Maglev rapid transport system, which operated from 1984 to 1995, was the first commercial maglev system in the world
The control tower and runway, with aircraft standing at the main terminal building in the foreground.

Birmingham Airport (IATA: BHX, ICAO: EGBB), formerly Birmingham International Airport[5] and before that, Elmdon Airport, is an international airport located 7 nautical miles (13 km; 8.1 mi) east-southeast of Birmingham city centre, slightly north of Bickenhill in the Metropolitan Borough of Solihull, England.

Birmingham Airport has its origins in a 1928 decision by Birmingham City Council to establish a municipal airport to serve the city. While delayed by the Great Depression, the project was re-launched in 1931 and planning commenced thereafter, cumulating in the passing of a private bill through Parliament that authorised its construction in the district of Elmdon, which lent its name to the airport. Construction commenced during 1937 and was completed during early 1939. On 8 July 1939, the Duchess of Kent, Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark, officially opened Elmdon Airport. However, civilian operations would quickly be ended by the outbreak of the Second World War, during which the airport was requisitioned by the Air Ministry and used by both the Royal Air Force (RAF) and the Royal Navy as RAF Elmdon. It was largely used for flight training and wartime production purposes. On 8 July 1946, the aerodrome was reopened to civilian operations.

During 1961, an additional terminal building to handle the growing international traffic was opened, which was fittingly called The International Building, while the airport's main runway was extended to 7,400 feet (1.4 miles) between 1967 and 1970. Birmingham Airport was once home to the world's first commercial maglev system in the form of a low-speed maglev shuttle that ran along a 620-metre line between the terminal and the nearby Birmingham International railway station; opened to great fanfare during April 1984, it was discontinued after 11 years due to unreliability. A replacement cable-hauled system, the AirRail Link people mover was opened in 2003. During November 2007, Birmingham Airport published a master plan for its development up to 2030, called "Towards 2030: Planning a Sustainable Future for Air Transport in the Midlands". During September 2009, a new three-storey International Pier was opened. During January 2011, the airport merged its two terminals into a single terminal building. A new air traffic control tower was completed in March 2012, replacing its original 1939 control tower. In May 2014, a 400-metre runway extension was officially opened. Further improvements have been mooted.

Birmingham Airport currently holds a CAA Public Use Aerodrome Licence (Number P451) that allows flights for the public transport of passengers or for flying instruction. Passenger throughput in 2017 was over 12.9 million, making Birmingham the seventh busiest airport in the UK.[4][6] The airport offers both domestic flights within the UK and international flights to destinations in Europe, the Middle East, the Indian subcontinent, North America, and the Caribbean. Birmingham Airport is an operating base for Flybe,, Ryanair, TUI Airways and previously Thomas Cook Airlines.


Birmingham Airport is 5.5 NM (10.2 km; 6.3 mi) east-south-east of Birmingham city centre, in the Metropolitan Borough of Solihull. It is bordered by the National Exhibition Centre to the east, Marston Green to the north, Sheldon to the west, the village of Bickenhill to the south, and the village of Elmdon to the south west.

It is primarily served by the A45 main road, and is near Junction 6 of the M42 motorway. It is connected by the elevated AirRail Link with Birmingham International railway station on the West Coast Main Line.

The airport's location south-east of the city, plus the only operational runway being north-west - south-east (15/33), means that depending on wind direction, aircraft land or take-off directly over Birmingham. The relatively short north-east - south-west runway (06/24) is not operational, and has been incorporated into the taxiway for aircraft departing the end of runway 33, or gaining access to runway 15.


Construction and opening

In 1928, the Birmingham City Council decided that the city required a municipal airport; thus soon thereafter a committee was established to work towards establishing such a facility.[7] By 1931, several locations, including Shirley, Elmdon and Aldridge, were reportedly under consideration as potential sites. While Elmdon was considered to be an impressive and appropriate site for the airport, further progress was delayed due to spending cutbacks that had been initiated as a consequence of the Great Depression.[7] By 1933, the project was revived and a new airport committee was formed during the following year to oversee the airport's establishment. Prior to any major construction decisions being taken, members of the committee visited various successful airports around Europe in 1935, including Amsterdam, Berlin, Lyon, Paris, Brussels and London.[7]

During January 1935, the airport committee approached British architectural and engineering practice Norman and Dawbarn, inviting their attendance and seeking their participation as expert advisers on the airport's construction, the practice was subsequently appointed as the project's architects.[7] In 1933, Birmingham City Council authorised the compulsory purchase of 300 acres of land for the use by the airport; another 214 acres were similarly acquired during the following year. During 1936, a private bill presented by the Birmingham Corporation was passed through Parliament, which authorised the acquisition of further land as well as the diversion of various roads and footpaths to permit the airport's development. Shortly following the bill's passing, various agencies, including the City Engineer and Surveyor, the Public Works Department and a firm of aeronautical consultants, including Norman and Dawbarn, commenced work on preparing the ground, designing both the terminal and hangar buildings, and planning out the airport's detailed layout.[7]

By January 1937, Norman and Dawbarn had been authorised to finalise the design drawings; these were apparently completed by June 1937.[7] In October of that year, various contractors were appointed to construct various elements of the airport's buildings, including its elaborate terminal. Reportedly, the project's total expenditure amounted to around £360,000.[7] Construction work proceeded at a rapid pace; on 1 May 1939, the airport had been completed to such a degree that it was ready to handle traffic.[7]

On 8 July 1939, the Duchess of Kent, Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark, accompanied by the Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain, officiated at the opening of Elmdon Airport.[8] Its terminal, which incorporated the airport's air traffic control tower, was designed by Norman and Dawbarn in an Art Deco style; this facility would continue to be used as a terminal until 1984 and subsequently as staff offices and for private flights; it is still intact as of 2018.[9][7] The airport was owned and operated by Birmingham City Council. Initial services flew to Croydon, Glasgow, Liverpool, Ryde, Shoreham, Manchester, and Southampton; further services were added soon thereafter, although its use as a civilian airport would soon be interrupted by the outbreak of the Second World War.[7]

Second World War

During the Second World War, Elmdon Airport was requisitioned by the Air Ministry and was used by both the Royal Air Force (RAF) and the Royal Navy as RAF Elmdon. It was largely operated as an Elementary Flying School and a base for the Fleet Air Arm.[7] It was during this era that the original grass airstrip was replaced by two hard runways: 06/24 at 2,469 feet (753 m) and 15/33 at 4,170 feet (1,271 m).[10] Large numbers of Avro Lancaster and Stirling bombers were manufactured at the Austin Aero Company's shadow factory at Cofton Hackett, but were unable to take off from the short runways at Longbridge; thus, they were transported by road to RAF Elmdon, their wings being removed beforehand and re-attached after arrival. They were test flown from the aerodrome and, once declared airworthy, they were flown to their operational units. On 8 July 1946, the aerodrome was reopened to civilian operations, though it remained under government control.[7][10]

1950 to 1980

During the post-war years, a number of public events, such as air fairs and air races, were held on the site. In 1949, scheduled services began with British European Airways (BEA) launching routes to Paris; the number of flights to the continent steadily grew over the years, including services to Zurich, Düsseldorf, Palma, Amsterdam and Barcelona commencing between 1955 and 1960. During 1960, the City of Birmingham resumed responsibility for the airport's operation again, ending central government control.[10]

In 1961, an additional terminal building to handle the growing international traffic was opened, which was fittingly called The International Building.[10] Furthermore, work to extend the airport's main runway to 7,400 feet (1.4 miles) was undertaken between 1967 and 1970, which permitted the launch of new services using turboprop and jet-powered airliners. Accordingly, a new service to New York using VC-10 airliner was launched during 1967.[10] By the early 1970s, Birmingham Airport was reportedly handling around one million passengers per year, albeit through a relatively congested passenger terminal. In 1974, the newly-formed West Midlands Metropolitan County Council took over management of the airport.[10]

On 16 September 1980, the supersonic airliner Concorde made its first visit to Birmingham Airport.[11] On 20 October 2003, Concorde made its final visit to the airport as part of its farewell tour.[12]

1981 to 2000

Birmingham Airport was once home to the world's first commercial maglev system in the form of a low-speed maglev shuttle that ran along a 620-metre line between the terminal and the nearby Birmingham International railway station.[13] Following a year of testing and trial use, the Birmingham Airport Maglev was opened to great fanfare during April 1984.[14] However, during 1995, the Maglev rail link was discontinued after 11 years; the closure has been attributed to the system's unreliability, it having suffered from frequent breakdowns. The original guideway lay dormant but intact for a time, while proposals for its restoration or adaption for other uses were considered.[15] In 2003, a replacement cable-hauled system, the AirRail Link Cable Liner people mover, was opened, which reused the track and much of the existing infrastructure.[16][17]

During 1993, the government limited public sector borrowing came into force and was applied to Birmingham Airport. This change meant that the airport could only expand by using private sector finance. 51% of the local council shares were sold to restructure the airport into a private sector company; this initiative led to the commencement of a £260 million restructuring programme in 1997.[]

2001 to 2009

In June 2006, a new turnoff from the main runway was completed and saw an improvement in traffic rates on southerly operations; previously the only available exit option for landing traffic had been at the end of the runway.[]

During November 2007, Birmingham Airport published a master plan for its development up to 2030, called "Towards 2030: Planning a Sustainable Future for Air Transport in the Midlands".[18] This set out details of changes to the terminals, airfield layout and off-site infrastructure. As with all large scale plans, the proposals were controversial, with opposition from environmentalists and local residents. In particular, the requirement for a second parallel runway based on projected demand was disputed by opponents. Plans for a second runway (a third when demand requires) on the other side of the M42 and a new terminal complex and business park have been published, and they could help to create around 250,000 jobs. It has been estimated that if these plans went ahead, the airport could handle around 70,000,000 passengers annually, and around 500,000 aircraft movements.[19]

In January 2008, the shorter runway (06/24) was decommissioned. It had been used less often due to its short length, noise impact, and its inconvenient position crossing the main runway, making it uneconomic to continue operation. The closure also allowed for apron expansion on both sides of the main runway. However, runway 06/24 remains open as a taxiway and a helicopter airstrip.[20] In the same month, plans for the extension of the airport runway and the construction of a new air traffic control tower were submitted to Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council.

In June 2008, work began on building the new three-storey International Pier; it was officially opened on 9 September 2009. As part of the airport's 70th anniversary, the airport welcomed the Airbus A380 as the first user of the pier. The special service was the first commercial A380 flight in the UK outside London Heathrow Airport. The new pier is 240 metres long and 24 metres wide. Departing passengers are accommodated on the top level, with arriving passengers on the middle level and office accommodation for airline and handling agents on the ground floor. The new facility provides air-bridged aircraft parking for seven wide-bodied aircraft and enough space for 13 smaller aircraft. It can accommodate 'next generation' environmentally-efficient wide-bodied aircraft such as the Airbus A380, the A340-600, the Boeing 747-8, and the Boeing 777X. The new pier also has a new lounge for business class Emirates passengers.[21] In March 2009, the runway extension plans were approved.[22]

Development since 2010

In September 2010, it was announced that after the merging of Terminals 1 and 2 into a single building facility in 2011, the airport would drop the "International" from its official name to become "Birmingham Airport'".[23] A Midlands-based marketing agency was recruited to "create a new corporate identity that reflects Birmingham Airport's current position in the market place, as well as its future potential". Figures from Birmingham Airport show that 8 million people live within a one hour's drive of the airport, but less than 40% of them use it. It is hoped that the rebrand will make the airport "more visible to the market".[24] In November 2010, the new name started to be used.[25] The new logo, interlocking circles in shades of blue, and slogan, "Hello World", were designed to reflect the airport's new positioning as a global travel hub.[26]

In January 2011 the spectators gallery, 'Aviation Experience And Gift Shop', above Terminal 1 closed indefinitely.[27] In the same month, the airport merged its two terminals into a single terminal building, which involved the construction of two additional floors. A new lower ground floor accommodates the new Arrivals and Meet & Greet area, while the 3rd floor was built in the Millennium Link and the two terminals to accommodate the new Centralised Security Search area. In July 2011, construction of a new control tower began.[28] The new control tower was completed in March 2012. In summer 2012, the new control tower's equipment was installed and testing and training began; it replaced the airport's original tower, which had been used since the airport opened in 1939, months later.[]

On 23 February 2011, it was reported that Birmingham Airport had announced that the High Speed 2 extension could be a solution to runway capacity problems in London; management figures have suggested that it would be quicker to get to London from Birmingham than from London-Stansted once completed, and claimed that the airport had capacity for nine million more passengers.[29]

An Olympic ceremony was held at the airport on 23 April 2012. The Olympic rings were unveiled on the tower and could be seen from the A45 road and the main terminal building. This was to commemorate the build-up to the London 2012 Olympic Games. These rings were removed once the Olympic Games officially closed, just before the 2012 Summer Paralympics began.

In autumn 2012, construction of the runway extension began.[30][31] The extension to the southern end of the runway originally required the A45 Coventry Road to be diverted into a tunnel under the extended section, but to cut costs, it was diverted south of the runway instead.[32] In Summer 2013 the new air traffic control tower became fully operational;[28] the old carriageway of the A45 was closed and the new carriageway was opened.[33][34] In May 2014, the 400-metre runway extension was officially opened.[30] Improvements to the taxiways were completed one month later.

The Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan, a Canadian institutional investor, increased its stake in the airport to 48.25% in early 2015. It also owns 100% of Bristol Airport.[35] Birmingham handled over 11.6 million passengers in 2016, a record total for the airport, making it the seventh busiest UK airport.[4]

On 28 September 2016, £100 million of investment was allocated to the airport. It plans to put into place a new baggage handling systems and two new car parks, including a drop-off car park.[36]

Facilities and infrastructure

Main check-in hall in Terminal 1
Departure lounge area


Birmingham Airport currently features two interconnecting terminals labelled as Terminal 1 and Terminal 2. Between the two terminals is the Millennium Link building, constructed in 2000, which houses shops, restaurants and service counters. In the terminals themselves, security areas, check-points and a large airside area equipped with more shops, restaurants and bars are located on the first floor. There are 48 departure gates, with gates 1-20 located in Terminal 2 and gates 40-68 in Terminal 1. Terminal 2 features nine stands equipped with jet-bridges as well as three walk-boarding stands while Terminal 1 features 11 stands with jet-bridges of which some are able to handle wide-body aircraft.

Terminal 1 was opened on 3 April 1984, seventeen years after the original plans to construct a new terminal to ease congestion in the original Elmdon Terminal (Grade II listed since August 2018 and used for private and official flights).[37][38] Since then, T1 has been extended multiple times to accommodate the increase in both passenger numbers and aircraft movements.

Terminal 2 (also known as Eurohub) was opened in 1991. European carriers including Air France, BMI and KLM switched from T1 to T2 to focus on the "Hub & Spoke" model of air transport. British Airways also moved its European and domestic operations in to T2, leaving predominately international flights from BA and non-European carriers operating out from T1.


Plans for the extension of the airport's current runway, and the construction of the new air traffic control tower, were submitted to Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council in January 2008, and approved in March 2009.[22] The construction of the runway extension, and the new air traffic control tower, began in March 2011. The extension to the southern end of the runway originally required the A45 Coventry Road to be diverted into a tunnel under the extended section, but to cut costs, it was diverted to the south of the runway. However, a tunnel under the runway's southern end is due for construction In the early 2020s when expansion to the south goes ahead. In August 2013, the old carriageway of the A45 road was closed, and the new carriageway was opened.[33][34]

Originally, the target for completion was in time for the 2012 London Olympics and Paralympics. Work began in late 2012, and the runway was completed in early May 2014.[39] The runway extension began to be used by aircraft in May 2014, and was officially opened on 22 July 2014, when China Southern Airlines operated its first charter flight between Birmingham and Beijing. This was the first aircraft that needed to make use of the new runway length. The extension caused controversy as more than 2000 local residents complained about the increased noise levels due to the new flight path around the airport that was required after the runway was extended.[39]

Airlines and destinations


The following airlines operate regular scheduled and charter services to and from Birmingham:[40]

Aer Lingus Dublin
Aer Lingus Regional Cork, Dublin, Shannon
Air France Paris-Charles de Gaulle
Air India Amritsar,[41]Delhi
Air Malta Seasonal: Malta
Austrian Airlines Vienna (begins 1 January 2020)[42]
Seasonal charter: Innsbruck[43]
BH Air Seasonal: Burgas
Blue Air Bucharest
Brussels Airlines Brussels
Czech Airlines Seasonal: Prague[44]
easyJet Belfast-International, Edinburgh (begins 29 March 2020),[45]Geneva, Glasgow (begins 29 March 2020)[46]
Emirates Dubai-International
Enter Air Seasonal charter: Hurghada (begins 17 December 2019)[47]
Eurowings Düsseldorf, Vienna (ends 31 December 2019)[42]
Flybe[48] Aberdeen, Amsterdam, Belfast-City, Düsseldorf, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Guernsey, Inverness, Isle of Man, Jersey, Knock, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Stuttgart
Seasonal: Avignon, Bastia, Bergerac, Berlin-Tegel,[49]Biarritz, Bordeaux, Brest, Chambéry, Geneva, La Rochelle, Lyon,[49]Milan-Malpensa,[49]Nantes, Newquay
Seasonal charter: Innsbruck,[50]Kefalonia,[51]Lleida, Preveza/Lefkada,[52]Turin[51]
FlyEgypt Seasonal charter: Hurghada [47]
Iberia Express Madrid Alicante, Antalya, Barcelona (begins 3 April 2020),[53]Budapest, Faro, Fuerteventura, Innsbruck (begins 21 December 2019),[54]Funchal, Gran Canaria, Kraków, Lanzarote, Málaga, Malta, Palma de Mallorca, Paphos, Prague, Rome-Fiumicino, Tenerife-South
Seasonal: Almería, Bergerac,[55]Bodrum, Burgas,[56]Chania,[57]Corfu, Dalaman, Dubrovnik, Geneva, Girona, Grenoble, Heraklion, Ibiza, ?zmir,[55]Kefalonia (begins 6 May 2020),[57]Kos, Larnaca, Menorca, Murcia (begins 22 May 2020),[57]Naples, Newark (begins 19 November 2020),[58]Nice (begins 22 May 2020),[57]Pisa, Preveza/Lefkada (begins 24 May 2020),[59]Pula,[55]Reus, Rhodes, Salzburg, Skiathos (begins 13 May 2020),[53]Split, Thessaloniki, Turin, Venice, Verona,[55]Vienna, Zakynthos
KLM Amsterdam
Lauda Vienna[60]
Lufthansa Frankfurt, Munich
Qatar Airways Doha
Ryanair Alicante, Barcelona, Bratislava, Bydgoszcz, Dublin, Faro, Fuerteventura, Gda?sk, Gran Canaria, Katowice, Kraków, Lanzarote, Madrid, Málaga, Malta, Murcia, Palma de Mallorca, Porto, Sofia, Tenerife-South, Verona, Warsaw-Modlin
Seasonal: Chania, Corfu, Ibiza, Perpignan, Reus
Scandinavian Airlines Copenhagen
Titan Airways Seasonal charter: Chambéry,[61]Lourdes/Tarbes[61]
TUI Airways[62] Agadir, Alicante, Boa Vista, Cancún, Enfidha, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Hurghada, Lanzarote, Málaga, Marrakesh, Marsa Alam (begins 16 December 2019),[63]Montego Bay, Paphos, Sal, Tenerife-South
Seasonal: Alghero, Almería, Antalya, Barbados, Bodrum, Burgas, Catania, Chania, Corfu, Dalaman, Dubrovnik, Faro, Girona, Heraklion, Ibiza, ?zmir, Kavala, Kefalonia, Kos, Langkawi,[64]Larnaca, Malta, Menorca, Naples, Orlando/Sanford, Palma de Mallorca, Pattaya-U-Tapao,[64]Podgorica, Porto Santo, Pula, Punta Cana, Reus, Rhodes, Rovaniemi, Salzburg, Santorini, Skiathos, Split, Thessaloniki, Verona, Zakynthos
Seasonal charter: Chambéry,[61]Innsbruck,[61]Kuusamo,[61]Sofia,[61]Toulouse,[61]Turin[61]
Turkmenistan Airlines Ashgabat
Turkish Airlines Istanbul
Vueling Barcelona
Wizz Air Bucharest, Budapest, Cluj-Napoca,[65]Kraków,[66]Pozna?,[67]Warsaw-Chopin, Wroc?aw



Passenger figures

Number of
Number of
Birmingham Airport Passenger Totals
2000-2018 (millions)
1997 6,025,485 79,880
1998 6,709,086 88,332
1999 7,013,913 98,749
2000 7,596,893 108,972
2001 7,808,562 111,008
2002 8,027,730 112,284
2003 9,079,172 116,040
2004 8,862,388 109,202
2005 9,381,425 112,963
2006 9,147,384 108,658
2007 9,226,340 114,679
2008 9,627,589 112,227
2009 9,102,899 101,221
2010 8,572,398 95,454
2011 8,616,296 93,145
2012 8,922,539 92,632
2013 9,120,201 95,713
2014 9,705,955 97,346
2015 10,187,122 98,015
2016 11,645,334 113,184
2017 12,983,436 122,067
2018 12,445,295 104,492
Source: UK Civil Aviation Authority[4]

Busiest routes

Busiest routes to and from Birmingham (2018)[4]
Rank Airport Passengers
% Change
1 Republic of Ireland Dublin 923,343 Increase 1.8%
2 United Arab Emirates Dubai 710,517 Decrease 4.6%
3 Netherlands Amsterdam 703,047 Increase 4.1%
4 France Paris-Charles de Gaulle 412,080 Increase 3.1%
5 Spain Palma de Mallorca 383,348 Decrease 5.3%
6 Spain Málaga 367,867 Decrease 21.2%
7 Spain Alicante 357,780 Decrease 17.0%
8 Spain Tenerife-South 333,730 Decrease 23.1%
9 Germany Frankfurt 321,985 Increase 5.0%
10 United Kingdom Belfast-City 275,477 Increase 2.4%
11 Germany Düsseldorf 270,446 Decrease 0.2%
12 United Kingdom Edinburgh 267,695 Increase 4.9%
13 Portugal Faro 253,213 Decrease 17.3%
14 United Kingdom Belfast-International 252,079 Increase 12.3%
15 Spain Lanzarote 249,657 Decrease 5.0%
16 United Kingdom Glasgow 234,522 Increase 5.8%
17 Spain Barcelona 218,425 Decrease 25.6%
18 Germany Munich 209,484 Increase 2.2%
19 Spain Gran Canaria 176,874 Decrease 3.5%
20 Spain Fuerteventura 149,776 Decrease 14.9%

Accidents and incidents

  • 19 January 1973 (1973-01-19): A Vickers Viscount passenger jet G-AZLR inbound from Leeds Bradford Airport suffered a severe port undercarriage failure upon landing.[72]
  • 23 February 2006 (2006-02-23): Mahan Air Airbus A310 operating a flight from Tehran, Iran, was involved in a serious incident while on approach to Birmingham International Airport. The aircraft descended to the published minimum descent altitude of 740 ft despite still being 11 nm from the runway threshold. At a point 6 nm from the runway the aircraft had descended to an altitude of 660 ft, which was 164 ft above ground level. Having noticed the descent profile, Birmingham air traffic control issued an immediate climb instruction to the aircraft, however, the crew had already commenced a missed approach, having received a GPWS alert. The aircraft was radar vectored for a second approach during which the flight crew again initiated an early descent. On this occasion, the radar controller instructed the crew to maintain their altitude and the crew successfully completed the approach to a safe landing. The accident investigation determined that the primary cause was use of the incorrect DME for the approach, combined with a substantial breakdown in the Crew Resource Management. Three safety recommendations were made.[73]
  • 15 June 2006 (2006-06-15): A TNT Airways cargo 737-300 made an emergency landing at Birmingham with damaged landing gear.[74] The aircraft, registration OO-TND, had been flying from Liège in Belgium to London-Stansted. Due to poor visibility at Stansted the flight diverted to East Midlands Airport. As the weather at East Midlands was also poor, the aircraft performed a full autopilot approach. During this approach the autopilot momentarily disengaged causing it to deviate from the course. The aircraft hit the grass to the side of the runway, which caused the right main gear to detach. The crew initiated a go-around, declared an emergency and diverted to Birmingham. After it landed on Birmingham's main runway, the airport was closed for a number of hours. The pilots were unharmed.[75] However, the company ascribed the incident to human error and both pilots were dismissed.[76] The official report into the accident highlighted a number of factors contributing to the accident - poor weather forecast information; a message passed from the Air Traffic Control to the aircraft at an "inappropriate" time; the pilot accidentally disconnecting the autopilot when attempting to respond to the message; the pilot losing "situational awareness" and failing to abort the landing.[77] Follow this link for a more detailed report and Official reports from the AAIB.[78]
  • 19 November 2010 (2010-11-19): A Cessna Citation aircraft, registration G-VUEM, crashed at Birmingham Airport during final approach in thick fog. Reports from West Midlands Police were that there were two casualties, one critical. The aircraft was bringing a human liver from Belfast airport, for a transplant operation which was subsequently completed successfully.[79] The airport reopened at around mid-day the following day. Follow this link for a more detailed report and Official reports from the AAIB.[80]

Security incidents

  • 6 June 2007 (2007-06-06): The Tonight with Trevor McDonald programme exposed serious security flaws at Birmingham Airport over six months. Fifteen members of staff working for the security contractor "ICTS UK Ltd" were suspended and subsequently dismissed for gross misconduct.[81] Members of security were filmed asleep on duty, reading magazines whilst operating x-ray scanners, leaving aircraft unguarded, and ignoring bags sent for extra security checks, as well as being understaffed. The security lapse was deemed so serious, that Bennie Thompson, the chairman of the US Congress Homeland Security Committee, commented on it in the United States Congress and advised that all flights to and from Birmingham Airport should cease.[82] ICTS dismissed the members of staff shown in the programme for their actions, but still claimed that the footage had been "contrived to exaggerate and sensationalise" the issues.[83]
  • 8 June 2009 (2009-06-08): The West Midlands Police helicopter (G-WMAO) was destroyed by arsonists,[84] and subsequently written off.[85] A year later, a new Eurocopter EC135 similar to G-WMAO was handed over to West Midlands Police at the Farnborough Airshow. Thousands of pounds were subsequently spent upgrading security surrounding the police helicopter.[86]
  • 17 July 2014 (2014-07-17): A member of the public got onto the airfield through a restricted area of the terminal by crawling through the opening of a baggage carousel and getting onto the airport's tarmac apron, and then got aboard a Lufthansa Embraer 195 plane. He was subsequently fined.[87][88]

Ground transport

The AirRail Link joins the railway station to the airport, operated by a track and pulley system
The proposed 'Birmingham Interchange'

Public transport


Birmingham Airport is served by Birmingham International railway station. The station is on the West Coast Main Line between Birmingham and London, and trains are operated by West Midlands Trains, Virgin Trains, TfW Rail, and CrossCountry. Access between the railway station and the airport terminal is provided by free AirRail Link.[89]

Proposed High Speed 2

As part of Phase 1 of the High Speed 2 rail link, a new railway station called Birmingham Interchange will be built to serve both the airport and the National Exhibition Centre. The station will be built on the far side of the M42 motorway and connect to the airport using a "rapid transit people mover". High Speed 2 is currently planned for completion by 2026.[90]

Bus and coach

National Express West Midlands operates the main bus routes calling at Birmingham Airport, those being the X1 to Birmingham city centre and Coventry, and the X12 to Chelmsley Wood and Solihull.[91] Other smaller operators also call at the airport. Bus stops are situated outside Terminal One.[92] Most buses are operated by National Express West Midlands.[93]

National Express Coaches operates various long distance coaches calling at Birmingham Airport on the way to or from Birmingham Coach Station, such as the 777 and the 422.


Black cabs are available at the taxi-rank outside the arrivals area of the terminal.


Birmingham Airport is accessible from the north and south via Junction Six of the M42 motorway. From Birmingham city centre, the A45 runs directly to the airport. Charges apply in some areas even for very short periods of time, with locations farther from the airport being cheaper than those near the airport.


The only cycle route available heads south over the A45 travelling towards Solihull. Birmingham Airport has however published "recommended routes" for cyclists.[94] Free short term cycle parking is available close to the terminal. For longer stays, bicycles must be stored in the Left Luggage for a charge.[95]

See also


  1. ^ "Birmingham Airport". Airport Watch. Archived from the original on 4 January 2014. Retrieved 2013.
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