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Birmingham Airport

Birmingham International Airport

Airport Code: BHX

Birmingham Airport was opened at Elmdon, Birmingham on 8th July 1939. Owned and operated by Birmingham City Council as a municipal airport, it was designed to meet the needs of the residents and the industry of the city and its immediate surroundings.

Civil aviation ceased on the outbreak of the Second World War when the airport was requisitioned by the Air Ministry. Still under government control, the airport re-opened for civil flying in July 1946. The City of Birmingham took over responsibility again in 1960. In April 1974, the newly formed West Midlands Metropolitan County Council took over the airport. The county council incorporated the seven Metropolitan areas of Birmingham, Coventry, Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull, Walsall and Wolverhampton.

As international flights became available, the terminal and the runway were expanded to cater for these growing needs. However, it soon became evident that a long term solution was required. 1984 saw the opening of the Main Terminal, with a capacity for 3 million passengers.

In 1986 after the West Midlands County Council was abolished, ownership of the Airport transferred to a newly formed West Midlands District Joint Airport Committee still comprising the seven district councils of the West Midlands administrative area. The Airports Act 1986 introduced legislation requiring municipal airports with a turnover in excess of £1 million to become Public Airport Companies and on 1st April 1987, the ownership of the Airport transferred to Birmingham International Airport plc, a public limited company owned by the seven West Midlands district councils.

July 1991 saw the opening of the Birmingham International Airport's second terminal - the Eurohub. A concept already developed in the United States for domestic operations, Eurohub took the 'hub and spoke' principle a stage further by solving the complications of customs and immigration control which previously demanded separate terminals. was the first terminal in the world to combine domestic and international passengers. As a result, the greatest distance passengers have to walk to, from and between flights is only 250 metres, all within a target transfer time of just 25 minutes.

In 1993, government public sector borrowing restrictions meant that future development could only be funded by using private sector finance. The local authority owners therefore decided to reduce their shareholding to below 50% in order to restructure Birmingham International Airport into a private sector company and thereby make it possible to finance its £260 million development programme.

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