Birmingham International Airport is a major airport located on the border of the city of Birmingham and borough of Solihull in the West Midlands, England .
Birmingham International Airport is the fifth busiest airport in the UK and handles (as of 2005) nine million passengers a year. Birmingham International Airport presently offers many domestic flights in addition to destinations across Europe and some flights to the Indian subcontinent, the Middle East and North America.
Birmingham International Airport is next to the M42 Motorway and A45 main road. It is also served by Birmingham International railway station on the Birmingham to London line.
Birmingham International Airport was opened at Elmdon on July 8, 1939, and was owned and operated by Birmingham City Council. During the Second World War the airport was requisitioned by the Air Ministry and was used by the RAF for military purposes. It returned to civilian use in July 1946, though still under government control.
During the post-war years, public events, such as air fairs and even circuit-races were held on the site. The City of Birmingham took over responsibility again in 1960, and ownership of Birmingham International Airport passed to the newly-formed West Midlands County Council in 1974.
Birmingham International Airport became busier, and international flights became more frequent, it was gradually expanded. In 1984 a new terminal was opened, which could handle three million passengers a year. A second terminal, “Eurohub”, supposedly the first terminal in the world to combine domestic and international passengers, opened on July 26, 1991,more than doubling the airport’s capacity. The original art deco1939 terminal and control tower are still evident, alongside hangars to the west of the main runway.
In 1983 Birmingham International Airport was privatized, although the local authorities still own a 49% share. On April 1, 1987, the ownership of the Airport transferred to Birmingham International Airport plc, a public limited company owned by the seven West Midlands district councils.
Birmingham International Airport has published a master plan for its development up to 2030. The first major element is an extension to the main runway, targeted for completion in time for the 2012 London Olympics. The extension will increase the runway length to 3000 meters, as well as including a starter strip to provide a maximum takeoff run of 3150 meters.
The airport company believes that there is likely to be sufficient demand for long-range direct services operated by aircraft whose operation would be constrained by the current runway. At 2605 meters, this is relatively short for an airport with Birmingham ‘s passenger throughput and range of destinations.
The construction of this extension to the southern end of the main runway will require the A45 Coventry Road to be diverted into a tunnel under the extended section.
The second element will be the construction of a shorter (2000 meter) parallel runway. This is scheduled for “some time after 2016”.
Both proposals are very controversial, with much opposition from environmentalists and local residents. In particular the requirement for a second runway based on projected demand is vociferously disputed by opponents. The master plan also proposes the development of a satellite extension to the current Terminal 1, and the construction of a third terminal.
In addition a new high-speed turnoff has been completed runway and into the parking areas without forcing them to travel to the end of the runway or to other existing turnoff strips.
A new food court has been constructed as well, comprising a smart seating area, a self-service bar, a coffee bar and an American/Italian restaurant. As well as this new redevelopment the airport also has a number of other food establishments. It also has a substantial airside and terminal-side shopping area.