London Southend Airport

London Southend Airport

Infobox Airport
name = London Southend Airport
nativename = Southend Airport
nativename-a =
nativename-r =

image-width =
caption =
type = Public
owner =
operator = London Southend Airport Company
city-served = Southend, Essex and East London areas
location = Southend
elevation-f = 49
elevation-m = 15
coordinates = coord|51|34|17|N|000|41|44|E|type:airport
website = []
metric-rwy = yes
r1-number = 06/24
r1-length-f = 5,266
r1-length-m = 1,605
r1-surface = Asphalt
r2-number =
r2-length-f =
r2-length-m =
r2-surface =
h1-number =
h1-length-f =
h1-length-m =
h1-surface =
stat-year = 2007
stat1-header = Aircraft Movements
stat1-data = 39,881
stat2-header = Passengers
stat2-data = 49,311
footnotes = Source: United Kingdom AIP [ [ UK Aeronautical Information Service] ] Statistics from the UK CAA [ Aircraft Movements] , [ Air Passengers by Type and Nationality of Operator] ]

London Southend Airport or Southend Airport Airport codes|SEN|EGMC is a regional airport in south east England, in the county of Essex.


Location map
label = SEN
background = white
lat = 51.571389
long = 0.695556
caption = Map showing location of London Southend Airport in Essex. The built up area of Greater London can be seen to the lower left.
float = right
width = 200
The airport is closer to Rochford than it is to Southend town centre. A frequent rail service runs from Rochford (3/4 mile away) to London Liverpool Street with a journey time of approximately 50 minutes. Taxis are available outside the terminal.


Southend Airport mainly operates passenger charter and business flights, cargo flights, pilot training (in both aircraft and helicopters), and recreational flying. Heavy maintenance services and hangarage for aircraft up to Boeing 757 and Airbus A321 size are available. The airport is run by London Southend Airport Co Ltd , which employs over 90 people. In January 2008 it was announced by the airport that it is up for sale, in order that the investment needed to fulfil the potential of the airport is available.

Southend Airport has a CAA Ordinary Licence (Number P893) that allows flights for the public transport of passengers or for flying instruction as authorised by the licensee (London Southend Airport Company Limited) [ [ Civil Aviation Authority Aerodrome Ordinary Licences] ] .

Regular public air services are scheduled flights to Jersey on summer Saturdays and Wednesdays, operated by Flybe, and to Le Touquet in France, operated by based operator Flywatch Air Services. Since June 7 2006, a regular service to Cologne has been operated by Flightline, on behalf of Ford Motor Company to transport its employees. This service is not available to the public.

Percentage growth in passenger numbers in 2006 was 491% up on 2005, the highest growth rate in the U.K. In 2007 there was a 62% growth from 2006, according to CAA statistics.

Aircraft can be chartered from based operator Flightline (UK). Ground handling at the airport is provided by the airport owned 'Southend Handling', who can assist companies, groups or individuals in chartering aircraft to or from the airport.

Annual seafront airshows off Southend and Clacton fronts result in extra aircraft being based at the airport for the duration of the displays.

Companies located at and around the airport employ over 1000 skilled workers, providing services such as engineering and maintenance work on airliners, including re-spraying, refurbishment, upgrades to avionics, manufacture of aircraft seats and the installation of new or hush-kitted engines.

ATC Lasham is the major engineering company at the airport, in previous times known as ATEL (Aviation Traders Engineering Limited, founded by the late Sir Freddie Laker of Skytrain fame) and Heavylift Engineering. Other companies include Air Livery (aircraft re-finishing), Avionicare, BAC Engineering, Flightline Aircraft Engineering, IAVNA (airport visual aids), Inflite Engineering (previously 'World Aviation Support' and 'BAF Engineering'), IPECO/Benson-Lund and JRB Aviation.

Southend Airport has an excellent weather record, which means that smaller airliners use it as a diversion alternative when adverse weather or other incidents cause aircraft to divert from either Stansted or London City Airport.

The airport is also popular with film-makers, who find that the airport is able to accommodate their needs better than busier airports.


It has a cafe and departure lounge for passengers, spectators and private pilots, and a photo booth. Bus services operated by Arriva Southend are available from the public road fronting the airport entrance to Southend (7, 8 and 9), Rochford (7 and 8), Ashingdon (7), Hawkwell (8), Hockley (7 and 8), Eastwood (9) and Rayleigh (7, 8 and 9).

Flying clubs

The Airport is home to several Flying Clubs:
* Flight Centre Flying Club
* Seawing Flying Club
* Southend Flying Club
* Willowair Flying Club

Aviation history

A preserved Avro Vulcan may be seen from the road into Rochford. The Vulcan usually undertakes fast taxi runs along the runway once or twice a year (Vulcan Restoration Trust).There used to be an aviation museum on the western boundary of this airport which was officially opened as a municipal airport in 1935. Southend Airport is often remembered for the car ferry flights operated by the piston-engined Bristol Freighter and the Aviation Traders Carvair.

Southend was the base for British World Airlines (ICAO code was 'BWL', IATA code 'VF'), who previously operated as British Air Ferries (ICAO code was 'VF' and then 'BAF'); and before then as British United Air Ferries formed from the merger of Channel Air Bridge (based at Southend, and famous for operating the Carvair) and Silver City Airways. BAF/BWA owned many Vickers Viscount turboprop airliners, fitted out for passenger and cargo operations. These aircraft, dating from the mid/late 1950s to the early 1960s, were originally owned and operated by BEA, one of the two main predecessors of the present-day British Airways. Powered by four Rolls-Royce Dart turboprop engines, these graceful airliners were sold in the late 1990s; they also owned and operated several Handley Page Herald aircraft from the 1970's to the early 1990's. In the 1990's, BWA operated several British Aerospace ATP's and Boeing 737- 300's. The airline ceased operations late in 2001, affected by the downturn caused by the September 11 attacks.

Channel Airways, (originally East Anglian Flying Services), one of the UK's five leading Independent airlines of the 1960s, had its administrative headquarters as well as its main operational base at the airport until its demise in February 1972.

Southend Airport handled more traffic than Stansted until well into the 1970s, making it London's "de facto" third airport. [ [,Authorised=false.html? "Southend Airport up for sale" by Kevin Done, Aerospace Correspondent at, published/last updated: January 28, 2008, 13.36 (GMT)] ]

In 2002/3 a debate centered on the possible relocation of St Laurence and All Saints Church, (a Grade 1 listed church), further away from the side of the main runway. This was opposed by English Heritage, some local residents, Councillors and the Church. The planning application was rejected by Southend Council. cite web
title=Committee meeting minutes
work=Historic Built Environment Advisory Committee meeting minutes
] .

A compromise scheme was implemented resulting in slightly shorter licensed runway lengths. However this enabled passenger flights to be restarted using regional jet/turboprop aircraft similar to those already in use at London City airport.

Military history

The airfield was established by the Royal Flying Corps during World War I.

In 1939 the Air Ministry requisitioned the airfield and it became RAF Rochford during World War II. It became a satellite base. In World War II it became a fighter base squadrons of Supermarine Spitfires and Hawker Hurricane fighters, as well as the Bristol Blenheim fighter-bomber. Many of the 50 pillboxes, that were design to protect the airport from paratroop landings, still survive, as does the underground defence control room, which is near to Southend Flying Club. A further 20 or so pillboxes also remain in the surrounding countryside. In 1946 the airfield was decommissioned from military use and civil aviation returned in 1947, as did the Southend Municipal Airport name.

Canewdon, a couple of miles to the north east of the airport, was the location of one of the World War II Chain Home radar stations. The 360 foot high transmitter tower at Canewdon was relocated to the Marconi works at Great Baddow in the 1950s.

Future developments

The airport has planning consent to build a new terminal and railway station on the eastern boundary of the airport. Construction of the rail station is planned for 2009, the new terminal at a later date.

The airport's ambition to restart passenger flights dovetails with Government aims outlined in the White Paper on airport development and the strategic Thames Gateway development. Undoubtedly the airport will have a supporting role to play in the 2012 London Olympics in East London, for which it is well situated.

Airlines and destinations

*Flightline (UK) (Cologne/Bonn)
*Flybe (Jersey)

ee also

*British military history
*British military history of World War II


External links

* [ London Southend Airport Official website]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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