- Exeter International Airport
name = Exeter International Airport
IATA = EXT
ICAO = EGTE
type = Public
operator = Exeter and Devon Airport Limited
elevation-f = 102
elevation-m = 31
coordinates = coord|50|44|04|N|003|24|50|W|type:airport|display=inline
website = [http://www.exeter-airport.co.uk/ www.exeter-airport.co.uk]
metric-rwy = Y
r1-number = 08/26
r1-length-f = 6,833
r1-length-m = 2,083
footnotes = Source: UK AIP at NATS
Exeter International Airport Airport codes|EXT|EGTE is an airport close to the city of
Exeterin the countyof Devon, England.
The airport handled 1,024,730 passengers in 2007, the first time over 1 million passengers have used the airport in a single year [ [http://www.anna.aero/2008/04/11/exeter-flybe-helps-exeter-join-the-millionaires-club/ Flybe helps Exeter join the “millionaires” club] ] , which represented a 4.3% increase on the 2006 passenger total of 982,804 [http://www.caa.co.uk/docs/80/airport_data/2007Annual/Table_09_Terminal_and_Transit_Pax_2007.pdf CAA 2007 Terminal and Transit Passenger Statistics at Airports in the United Kingdom] ] . The airport offers both scheduled and holiday charter flights within the
United Kingdom, Europeand Canada.
5 January 2007a majority share of the airport was sold by Devon County Councilto Regional and City Airports Ltd; a consortium comprising construction firm Balfour Beattyand London City Airport.
Exeter has a CAA Public Use Aerodrome Licence (Number P759) that allows flights for the public transport of passengers or for flying instruction.
The airfield had originated as a grass field for club flying before being constructed in 1937 and formerly opened on
30 July 1938as Exeter Airport at a cost of about £20,000.
With the advent of
World War IIthe landing area was increased to around 3,000 ft north to south and 4,500 ft east to west in the early months of the war. An asphalt perimeter track and several hardstands for aircraft parking followed and in 1941 hard-surfaced runways were put down. These were 4,350 ft aligned 13-31, 4,070 ft aligned 08-26 and 2,700 ft at 02-20.
In 1942, the 08-26 runway was extended in length to 6,000 ft in a general upgrading. In the early years, the airfield had gained 19 small, fighter-type pan hardstandings and 14 double pens. Nine concrete loops were added on the northern side of the air-field early in 1944.
Hangars, gathered over the years, were one Hinaida, six Over Blisters and four Extra Over Blisters.
During World War II RAF Exeter was important
RAF Fighter Commandairfield during the Battle of Britain, with some two dozen different RAF fighter squadrons being stationed there for varying periods through 1944, and just about all the operational fighter types of those years had been present.
RAF Exeter was also used by the
United States Army Air Force(USAAF) Ninth Air Forceas a D-Daytroop transport base with Douglas C-47 Skytraintransports dropping paratroops near Carentanto land on the Normandy Beachhead. It was also known as USAAF Station 463.
Battle of Britain
RAF Exeter was home to the following Squadrons of No 10 Group during the
Battle of Britain:
* No 213 Squadron from
18 June 1940
* No 87 Squadron from
5 July 1940
* No 601 Squadron from
7 September 1940
Despite extensive efforts at camouflage, including painting the runways, Exeter attracted the
Luftwaffeon a number of occasions during the early years of the conflict and a few of the administrative and technical buildings were destroyed.
Exeter met the requirement of basing USAAF troop carrier groups close to where units of the
101st Airborne Divisionwere located and within reasonable range of the expected area of operations.
440th troop carrier group
The 440th Troop Carrier Group arrived on
15 April 1944with over 70 C-47/C-53 Skytrain aircraft. There was insufficient hardstandings to accommodate all the aircraft so many had to be parked on the turf, some areas being supported by tarmac.
The 440th was a group of Ninth Air Force's 50th Troop Carrier Wing,
IX Troop Carrier Command.
The group dropped paratroops near
Carentanin the early hours of 6 Juneand the following day delivered parapacks containing fuel and ammunition to the same area. Accurate flak accounted for three C-47s on D-Dayand a further three were lost on the resupply mission, one of the latter in a freak accident when struck by bombs accidentally released from a P-47 Thunderbolt.
As soon as satisfactory landing grounds were available in the Normandy beachhead, the 440th shuttled C-47s to and from
France, often evacuating wounded.
As with the other groups of the 50th Troop Carrier Wing, the 440th sent three squadrons, the 95th, 96th, and 97th TCSs. to
Italyon 17/18 July, where they operated from Ombronc airfield hauling supplies to Romebefore taking part in the airborne invasion of southern France, Operation "Dragoon", on 18 August. The 98th TCS returned to Exeter on 23 August 1944and the following day the other squadrons returned from the Mediterranean.
The 98th TCS remained at Exeter until
7 Augustwhen it began operating from RAF Ramsbury. Three days later it dropped parapacks to a US infantry battalion that had become encircled at Marlain when the German Army attempted to launch a counter-offensive.
11 Septemberthe headquarters of the 440th TCG was established at the group's new base al Reims, France (ALG A-62D), and the last of the air echelon left Exeter two days later. Nevertheless. the airfield was still used by the USAAF Ninth Air Force for the air evacuation of wounded and a station complement squadron remained until November.
Walruses of an RAF air-sea rescue flight were the next tenants and these were joined by a
glidertraining unit early in 1945.
Post-war, Exeter was reclaimed by Fighter Command and a French
Supermarine Spitfiresquadron, No. 329, which came and stayed until November 1945. Meteors and Mosquitos made a brief appearance the following spring.
When No. 691 Squadron departed in the summer of 1946, the station was made available for civil use, being officially transferred to the Ministry of Civil Aviation on
1 January 1947although there was still some reserve RAF activity until the 1950s.
Scheduled services to the
Channel Islandsbegan in 1952 and charter flights to various locations followed. A new terminal building was opened in the early 1980s and various other improvements, including a runway extension, were carried out over following years to establish Exeter as an important airport in the West Country.
The majority of flights at the airport are operated by low-cost airline
Flybe, which has its headquarters in Exeter. The airline also has four maintenance hangars at the airport, the newest built in 2005 and 2006, which are equipped to service Bombardier Q400, Embraer ERJ-195, Embraer ERJ-145and BAe 146aircraft, which from the major part of the airline's fleet.
Holiday charter airlines also operate from the airport, with
First Choice Airwayshaving a permanent base at Exeter since 2007. Air Transatoffer transatlantic scheduled flights to Torontooperating once a week during the summer season.
Further route expansion at the airport is limited by the relatively small apron size, with only 11 aircraft parking stands fact|date=February 2008. The airport has proposed an apron expansion which will mean the removal of the grass apron area, which would provide an additional seven parking stands fact|date=February 2008.
Airlines and destinations
Air Transat(Toronto-Pearson [seasonal] )
Flybe(Aberdeen, Alicante, Amsterdam, Avignon, Bergerac, Belfast-City, Brest, Brussels, Chambery [seasonal] , Dublin, Dubrovnik, Edinburgh, Faro, Geneva [seasonal] , Glasgow-International, Guernsey, Inverness, Jersey, Leeds/Bradford, Málaga, Manchester, Newcastle, Nice, Palma de Mallorca, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Rennes, Salzburg [seasonal] )
Isles of Scilly Skybus(Isles of Scilly)
First Choice Airways(Arrecife, Bodrum, Corfu, Dalaman, Faro, Funchal, Ibiza, Larnaca, Mahon, Málaga, Palma de Mallorca, Paphos, Rhodes, Tenerife-South)
Onur Air(Bodrum, Dalaman)
Spanair(Palma de Mallorca)
BAC Express Airlines(London Stansted)
The airport has a large
general aviationcommunity and is regularly used as a staging point for longer flights across South West England.fact|date=April 2008
List of RAF stations
* USAAF Ninth Air Force - World War II
101st Airborne Division
440th Airlift Wing
* Freeman, Roger A. (1978) Airfields of the Eighth: Then and Now. After the Battle ISBN 0-900913-09-6
* Maurer, Maurer (1983). Air Force Combat Units Of World War II. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-89201-092-4.
* ArmyAirForces.com 440th Troop Carrier Group http://www.armyairforces.com/dbgroups.asp?Group=52
* [http://www.exeter-airport.co.uk/ Exeter International Airport - Official website]
* [http://worldwar2airfields.fotopic.net/c1272444.html Airfield remains on worldwar2airfields.net]
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