Celebrating 80 years of Birmingham Airport

We're turning 80

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This year is our 80th anniversary. Birmingham Airport has celebrated many milestones over the years, from the opening of the Airport by the Duchess of Kent at Elmdon Airport to today, an airport that carries over 13 million passengers a year. We are very proud to have served over 275 million passengers for the past eight decades and look forward to an exciting future serving the Midlands region.

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To mark the 80th anniversary year, we are holding a number of employee and community events over 2019. We want to take this opportunity to celebrate with our local communities and those who have supported the airport over the last eight decades. 

We've already held a birthday lunch for our staff exactly 80 years on from when Elmdon Airport opened in 1939, as well as being headline sponsor of Solihull Summer Fest which took place in July.

Read on to find out more about what we have planned for the rest of our 80th year...

Over the years

Airport timeline

We are proud to have been able to play a very important role in the region by connecting people and business, reuniting friends and family and allowing people to visit and explore new places. Check out just some of the key events that have taken place over 80 years.

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Elmdon Airport's ceremonial opening, by the Duchess of Kent, took place on Saturday 8th July in typical British Summer weather - torrential rain for most of the day!

1940s ATC

Just two months after the opening on the 8th July 1939, the Second World War broke out, the Air Ministry requisitioned the airport and all civil flying ended. However, on the 8th July 1946, exactly seven years to the day, the airport reopened for civil flying.

Airport shop Dec 1967

In 1967-1970 the main runway was extended allowing turboprops and jets to use the airport. VC10 services began to New York. By the early 1970s over one million passengers, a year were passing through a now congested Passenger Terminal.

Her Majesty the Queen officially opens the current terminal in 1984

In 1984 her Majesty the Queen opened the new facilities and operations were transferred to the new passenger terminal. The first year of the new operation saw record numbers of passengers.


Pope Benedict XVI visited Birmingham Airport in September 2010.


In 2013 our new air traffic control tower was opened.

We celebrated with the community

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To mark such a special milestone, we organised a free family festival on Sunday 1st September‘Birmingham Airport Fest'. It was our chance to give back to the local community and to say thank you for supporting the airport over the last 80 years.

Milkshake Jen/Derek

We kicked off the day with Jen and Derek from Milkshake who put on a fantastic production with amazing songs and dances, for the little ones! 

Zoom and Skylar

We announced Skylar as our new mascot! 

Face painting

There were lots of activities including face painting, balloon making, and circus skills!

Aston PAA

We ended the day with a performance from the Aston Performing Arts Academy.

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