Leeds Bradford International Airport

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Leeds Bradford International Airport
Leeds Bradford International Airport ( IATA: LBA, ICAO: EGNM) is located at Yeadon, in the City of Leeds Metropolitan District in West Yorkshire, England, northwest of Leeds itself. It was opened in October 1931 as Yeadon Aerodrome, It serves the cities of Leeds and Bradford, as well as the wider Yorkshire region including the cities of York and Wakefield, 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 has a CAA Public Use Aerodrome Licence (Number P800) that allows flights for the public transport of passengers and for flight training. The airport is also the highest in England at an elevation of 681 ft (208 m). By the number of passengers handled in 2010, Leeds Bradford was the 16th busiest airport in the UK.


Early history
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 m 2) 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). In 1936, No.609 (West Riding) Squadron of the Royal Auxiliary Air Force (RAuxAF), Royal Air Force (RAF) formed at Yeadon, and seasonal flights between Yeadon and Liverpool commenced. Work also began on a terminal building, but progress was halted after only one section had been completed.

Wartime use
Civil aviation at Yeadon was halted in 1939, with the outbreak of World War II. 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. The aircraft manufactured included the Bristol Blenheim (250), the Lancaster bomber (695), the Anson (over 4,500), the York (45) and the Lincoln (25). Significant developments were made to the aerodrome; the addition of two runways, taxiways and extra hangarage led to Yeadon becoming an important site for military aircraft testing.

1947 to 1969
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. Although during this period of time, Yeadon still had military activity from 1946-1960.
  • 609 (West Riding) Squadron 1936-1946, 1946”“1952
  • 23 Gliding School 1946-1950
  • Leeds University Air Squadron 1955-1960
  • 1970 Flight AAC 1952-1957
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 1994
By the mid 1970s the package holiday had become popular in the UK and in 1976 the first holiday charter flight to the Iberian Peninsula departed Leeds Bradford. 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 in 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 later discontinued. In August 1986, an Air France Concorde charter flight from Paris landed at Leeds Bradford for the first time, and an estimated 60,000 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 date
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. Since 2000 the airport has been home to the Yorkshire Air Ambulance. The original runway (09/27) was closed on 6 October 2005, to be redeveloped as a taxiway and to provide additional apron space. In 2006 Isle of Man based airline Manx2 re-opened the airport's oldest air route, to the Isle of Man. 2008 saw the introduction of long-haul scheduled flights to Islamabad with Shaheen Air International. This service was introduced in February but ceased after only four months due to a shortage of aircraft. The route was reinstated by Pakistan International Airlines in July 2008. 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 lost its direct link with London temporarily in March 2009 when BMI ceased its route to London Heathrow, however Flybe revived the link with a route to London Gatwick in June 2009. However, it was announced in late March that the London Gatwick route will be discontinued on 31 March 2011. On 11 August 2009 Ryanair announced it would set up a new base at Leeds Bradford, initially basing two aircraft at the airport offering 17 routes from March 2010. Ryanair also said they would be interested in starting flights to Eastern Europe in the near future.

In line with government recommendations, Leeds Bradford Airport published a masterplan. However since then the airport has been privatised and the new plans of Bridgepoint Capital deviate in areas from the masterplan. The plans that Bridgepoint Capital published were approved by Leeds City Council in July 2009, despite much criticism from protesters. The plans were originally rejected by Leeds City Council on the grounds of further traffic generated from an enlarged airport. The revised plans included the provision of further bus services, however no commitment was made to invest in a rail or light rail link, although the plan continues to be considered. Incidentally, neither the previously proposed Leeds Supertram or the currently proposed Leeds Trolleybus go to Leeds Bradford International Airport, although both have a terminus nearby at Boddington Hall, Lawnswood.

The masterplan
In 2004 the airport published a master plan in line with government recommendations. The master plan set out the following proposals for future development:
  • Expansion of the terminal buildings, with new gates added including airbridge boarding tunnels.
  • New aircraft parking areas (there are currently 24 stands, this would increase to 31).
  • A change to the runway configuration (part of which has already been carried out). This includes building a taxiway parallel to the main runway. This would allow aircraft movements to increase from 16 to 25 per hour.
  • New airfield equipment and buildings (including aircraft hangars, new flight catering facilities and a new fuel farm).
  • Hotel and office space (the first phase of which is now complete).
  • A railway station from a spur near Horsforth.
  • New car parking areas.
  • A new link road from the A65, to the airport and then to the A658.
The master plan sets out the stages of development for Leeds Bradford Airport over the next 10 years and outlines general proposals for the period from 2016 to 2030. It is estimated that by 2016 the airport will handle in excess of 5.1 million passengers per year as well as seeing a significant increase in freight traffic. Both Flybe and Ryanair have expressed an interest in expanding their routes at the airport, with Ryanair announcing intentions to base aircraft there. By 2010 Ryanair had made good this pledge and had Boeing 737-800 aircraft based at the airport operating new routes. Bridgepoint Capital and Leeds City Council hope that by redeveloping the airport, it will attract even more companies, jobs and people to the area which already has a population of 2.9 million.

Bridgepoint Capital development plan of 2008
On 5 November 2008, Bridgepoint Capital announced their £28 million plans to redevelop the airport terminal. Planning permission was submitted to Leeds City Council in late November 2008. The plans involve building in front of the current terminal building, effectively turning the current crescent-shaped building into a semicircle. As the current terminal buildings are the product of 40 years of extensions, there is no continuity to the layout and the buildings can become very congested. The extension would be set over two stories and would facilitate new departure and arrival facilities. The ground floor will house new check-in halls, while on the first floor there will be a large departure lounge, featuring a glass roof. Both arrival and departure facilities will benefit from new retail facilities as the management claimed that current facilities were 'inadequate and unenticing'. It is estimated that with the completion of the airport extension and the forecast new flights, an extra 2,000 jobs will be generated at the airport.

Since 2008 the redevelopment plans have remained largely unchanged, however the proposed external appearance of the building has changed, being clad in black instead of the while cladding that had initially been proposed.

Airport ownership
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 when Bradford Council became the last of the five controlling councils to agree to sell off the airport to the private sector. On 4 April 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. On 4 May 2007 Bridgepoint Capital acquired the airport from Leeds, Bradford, Wakefield, Calderdale and Kirklees councils for £145.5 million. Although Bridgepoint Capital own 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. The new owners said they were to implement a £70 million capital expenditure plan, to focus on improving passenger and retail infrastructure in order to increase passenger capacity to 7 million per annum by 2015.

Airlines and destinations

Other facilities
Jet2.com's head office is located on the grounds of Leeds Bradford Airport. As of 2006 the facility was under construction, meant to accommodate pilots, cabin crew, and "behind the scenes" employees.


Bus interchange The airport has connections to the local road network and is signposted on a large number of routes in the region. Bus services that link the airport include services 737 & 747 to Bradford operated by Centrebus. Centrebus also operate service 757 to Leeds, While Harrogate is connected by the 767 service operated by Dales and District Buses. Other local surrounding areas which include, Pool, Otley and Yeadon are connected by service 967 which is operated by TLC Travel. A service is planned to be restarted to York in the near future. Services to Bradford and Leeds link the airport with the National Rail network via Bradford Interchange, Bradford Forster Square and Leeds railway station and connects with long distance coach services at Bradford Interchange and Leeds City bus station. 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. 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 there is service 757 from Leeds - Airport which provides a service between the Airport and New Road side in Horsforth where further changes can be made with service(s) 31, 32 to connect with Horsforth Rail station on a Monday to Saturday daytime.

Flight Training and General Aviation
Multiflight aircraft hangar. 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 13 training aircraft are based at the airport. During 2005 two new hangars capable of housing 4 x B737-800's 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.

Incidents and accidents
Prior to 1985, there were two recorded incidents of runway overruns at Leeds Bradford Airport, both involving British Midland Airways Viscount aircraft, and both showing evidence of hydroplaning. 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 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.

Airlines Destinations Air Southwest Bristol, Newquay, Plymouth Austrian Airlines Seasonal: Innsbruck BH Air Seasonal: Burgas BMI operated by BMI Regional Brussels, Edinburgh, Glasgow-International Eastern Airways Aberdeen, Bristol, Durham Tees Valley, Southampton EasyJet Seasonal: Geneva Flybe Aberdeen, Belfast-City, Exeter, Southampton Charter: Innsbruck Jet2.com Alicante, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Belfast-International, Düsseldorf, Faro, Geneva, Lanzarote, Madeira, Málaga, Murcia, Palma de Mallorca, Paris Charles de Gaulle, Paphos, Prague, Rome Fiumicino, Tenerife-South Seasonal: Avignon, Bergerac, Bodrum , Chambéry, Corfu, Dalaman, Dubrovnik, Heraklion, Ibiza, Jersey, La Rochelle, Larnaca, Milan-Orio al Serio, Menorca, Nice, Olbia, Pisa, Rhodes, Salzburg, Toulouse, Venice Marco Polo KLM operated by KLM Cityhopper Amsterdam Manx2 Isle of Man Pakistan International Airlines Islamabad Ryanair Alicante, Barcelona, Dublin, Faro, Fuerteventura, Gdansk, Knock, Krakow, Lanzarote , Málaga, Malta, Venice-Treviso, Weeze Seasonal: Ibiza, Limoges, Montpellier, Murcia, Nantes, Palma de Mallorca, Pisa Thomas Cook Airlines Bodrum, Fuerteventura, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Tenerife-South Seasonal: Antalya, Dalaman, Enfidha , Ibiza, Kos , Lanzarote, Larnaca, Minorca, Palma de Mallorca, Rhodes, Zakynthos Thomson Airways Seasonal: Corfu, Palma de Mallorca, Sharm el-Sheikh, Tenerife-South
Number of Passengers Number of Movements 1997 1,254,853 26,123 1998 1,406,948 25,615 1999 1,462,497 26,185 2000 1,585,039 29,263 2001 1,530,227 28,397 2002 1,530,019 28,566 2003 2,017,649 29,397 2004 2,368,604 31,493 2005 2,609,638 35,949 2006 2,792,686 37,251 2007 2,881,539 39,603 2008 2,873,321 37,604 2009 2,574,426 32,531 2010 2,755,110 33,911 Source: UK Civil Aviation Authority 20 Busiest Routes to and from Leeds Bradford Airport (2010) Rank Airport Passengers handled % Change 2009 / 10 1 Amsterdam 223,470 2 2 Málaga 194,178 34 3 Alicante 188,143 0 4 Dublin 175,254 6 5 Palma de Mallorca 164,426 14 6 Faro 115,093 36 7 Murcia 104,508 38 8 Belfast International 82,469 6 9 Paris Charles de Gaulle 73,359 18 10 Belfast City 71,791 8 11 Southampton 70,357 12 12 Tenerife South 69,554 13 13 Ibiza 61,456 13 14 Barcelona 53,087 11 15 Dusseldorf 52,568 0 16 London Gatwick 50,617 66 17 Prague 46,036 1 18 Girona 45,989 15 19 Lanzarote 43,779 18 20 Krakow 38,162 38 Source: UK Civil Aviation Authority

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