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John Lennon Airport

“above us only sky”

Liverpool International Airport

Airport Code: LPL

Liverpool is one of the UK's oldest operational Airport's, first thought of as an idea in 1928 with first scheduled flights commencing in 1930 and an 'official' opening ceremony some 3 years later on 1 July 1933.

Situated some 7 miles South East of Liverpool City Centre and adjacent to the Mersey Estuary, the Airport location was chosen for three reasons:

Close proximity to the City of Liverpool and surrounding conurbation's.

Ideal geography of the site for aircraft movements.

Excellent year round weather record (fog free).

First major construction on site took place in the late 1930's following the growth in passenger traffic through Liverpool, particularly on flights across the Irish Sea, when a dedicated passenger terminal and aircraft hangarage were built.

The Airport played a significant role in the war effort and with military aircraft construction taking place on site at both the Rootes and Lockheed aircraft factories, hard surface runways replaced the grass strips in order to cater for larger and heavier aircraft.

After the war the local Authority did not regain control of Liverpool Airport from the Ministry of Aviation until 1961 following which time the decision was taken to construct the current longer runway on land adjacent to the original Airport, referred to as the Southern Airfield.

The new runway was opened in 1966 and enabled Liverpool to become a 24 hour airport - a situation which has continued to the present day.

Control of the airport transferred to Merseyside County Council from Liverpool Corporation in the mid 1970's and 10 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, had previously opened in 1986, following the closure of the 1930’s building. This old terminal has recently been renovated and expanded to become the high quality Marriott Liverpool South Hotel, whilst the original hangars have been converted into a David Lloyd Tennis and Leisure centre.

Following the 1986 Airports Act, ownership of the Airport changed again in 1990 as Liverpool became the UK's first local authority owned Airport to move from public sector control to the private sector with British Aerospace acquiring a 76% majority shareholding.

During the mid 1990’s some £4 million was subsequently invested in improving and expanding the terminal with new and larger landside and airside passenger lounges and an expanded arrivals hall to cater for growth in passenger throughput. 47% of such developments was funded through the EC Objective One programme.

The Airport steadily continued to grow its passenger throughput with tour operator Direct Holidays choosing to fly from Liverpool in 1996 bringing a range of value for money Mediterranean charter flights to the Airport for the first time in many years.

Ownership of Liverpool International Airport

The most significant event in recent years however was the further change in ownership once again and today Liverpool John Lennon Airport is a wholly owned subsidiary of Peel Holdings p.l.c., the North West based property company. Peel acquired a 76% majority shareholding in 1997 from British Aerospace with the remaining shares held by the five Merseyside Local Authorities. On 9 May 2001 Peel Airports (Liverpool) Limited acquired the remaining 24% shareholding.

Liverpool Airport Business

Since the Peel Group took control of Liverpool John Lennon Airport passenger numbers have quadrupled, with over 2.8 million passengers using Liverpool in 2002 and an estimated 3.2 million forecast in 2003. Liverpool is moving up the league table of U.K. airports and is today one of the fastest growing in Europe.

Regular daily scheduled services currently operate to 13 domestic and European destinations, whilst holiday charter flights are due to serve 21 Mediterranean resorts in the Summer. EasyJet, the popular low cost carrier who began flights from Liverpool in 1997, signed a 20 year contract with the Airport in early 2001 which will see a continued expansion at their second U.K. base. Their seventh based aircraft commenced operations in December 2002 and their newest daily scheduled service to Alicante started in January 2003. Similarly Ryanair, Europe’s second largest low cost airline, signed a 10 year agreement with the Airport early in 2002, to develop a range of European services from Liverpool and a daily Brussels service commenced in June 2002. This brings a continued increase in the numbers of passengers using Liverpool from throughout the North West, North Wales, Yorkshire and the Midlands.

In 2001 further major commitments from top tour operators Thomson, MyTravel and JMC were announced as the Airport continued to look to capitalise on the tremendous market potential for local holiday departures.

The Airport also handles significant volumes of freight and mail (over 30,000 tonnes in 2002). The Royal Mail have operated their night-time hub through Liverpool since 1979 with a sorting office on site, whilst express parcels, newspapers, car parts and general freight movement also combine to provide extremely busy night-time operations. Location, weather record and 24 hour operations have all helped to develop such business.

Liverpool Airport Re-branding

In July 2001 Yoko Ono visited the Airport to announce a renaming and re-branding to Liverpool John Lennon Airport. This coincided with construction and subsequent future completion of the new look Airport and in honour of her late husband as a fitting, lasting tribute to the former Beatle who originated from Liverpool. The Airport became the first in the UK to be named after an individual.

The new logo for the Airport included the famous self portrait drawing by John Lennon and the strapline “above us only sky”, taken from the lyrics of Lennon’s “Imagine”, one of the most popular songs of all time.

The renaming and re-branding was completed in March 2002 when Yoko Ono returned to the Airport to jointly unveil a 7ft bronze statue of John Lennon by well known local sculptor Tom Murphy. The imposing statue is sited on the main passenger walkway overlooking the check-in hall and is clearly visible to all Airport users.

Award Winning Airport

The Airport won the prestigious Fred Camenisch Award for its outstanding contribution towards tourism on Merseyside at the 2002 Mersey Tourism Awards. The award was presented in recognition of the role that the Airport has played in bringing a growing number of visitors, particularly from Europe to the region.


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