Our History


1963
East Midlands Airport Joint Committee, which was formed to find a site to replace Burnaston Aerodrome, buys Castle Donington Airfield, a former RAF base decommissioned in 1946, is bought for the princely sum of 37,500.

1964
Planning permission to build a new 1.37 million airport on the site is approved and work begins.

1965
On April 2, East Midlands Airport is officially opened by the Duke of Edinburgh. Derby Airways, which had operated at Burnaston, moves to the new airport. The company would become British Midland. The airline still operates at East Midlands to this day in the form of its low cost airline, BMI Baby.

1970
The runway is extended by 7,480ft to allow the airport to receive larger aircraft.

1973
A second terminal, Cargo Terminal 2, opens allowing the airport to increase its freight operations.

1979
Royal Mail comes to EMA

1984
The number of people to use the airport passes the one million mark. ELAN (now DHL) starts its freight operations at the airport. Today, DHL has its UK air operations at East Midlands.

1986
Princess Anne opens a 3 million passenger terminal extension.

1993
The airport is privatised and bought by the National Express Group.

1996
A new departures building opens as part of a 14.5 million project. The airport welcomes its 25 millionth passenger.

1997
Cargo Terminal 4 opens.

2000
DHL opens its hub at ‘Cargo West’. The runway is extended again, taking its length to 2,893 metres.

2001
East Midlands Airport becomes part of the Manchester Airports Group. The new Aeropark aviation museum opens its gates.

2002
BMI Baby, BMI’s low cost airline, is launched and begins operating from the airport.

2003
Patricia Hewitt, Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, opens a new check-in hall extension.

2004
Low cost airline Ryanair begin operations at the airport. Self-service check-in is launched.

2005
The airport serves its 50 millionth passenger in 40 years.

2006
The airport publishes its Master Plan, outlining plans for its future growth up to 2030 and commits to make its ground operations carbon neutral by 2012.

2007
The airport applies for permission to install large wind turbines on site to generate 10% of its electricity, launches a green extension to the terminal, as well as being awarded five top travel awards.

2008
Work is complete on the 10million redevelopment programme; including a new shopping experience, a locally supplied restaurant and the airport reaches a record half a million passengers.

2009
In a world first, the airport launched a trial to power a passenger bus on Liquid bio-methane, easyJet announced their departure, which was quickly replaced by the announcement that Jet2.com would join the Donington based airport.

2010
The brand new dedicated education centre, ‘The Aerozone’ opened, the airport launched a UK a first with a 26 hectare willow farm, construction of a four star hotel began on site and the auto service centre was officially opened.

2011
The first coppicing of the airport’s willow farm takes place, the first of four wind turbines arrive on site, EMA takes part in the first National Climate Week and the airport hotel’s structure is complete.


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