Bournemouth Airport (IATA: BOH, ICAO: EGHH) (previously known as Hurn Airport and Bournemouth International Airport) is an airport located 3.5 NM (6.5 km; 4.0 mi)[1] north-northeast of Bournemouth, in southern England. The site opened as RAF Hurn in 1941 but was transferred to civil control in 1944. For a short period Hurn served as Britain's only international airport, until the opening of facilities at Heathrow. Commercial services resumed in the late 1950s, with Palmair commencing flights to Majorca in October 1958.[3]

Subsequently, Ryanair and TUI Airways based aircraft at the airport, with scheduled flights now frequently serving Western Europe and the Mediterranean area, with charter and seasonal services serving North Africa, North America, and the Caribbean.[4] Passenger numbers peaked in 2007 when just over one million passed through the airport. In 2016 the passenger total was around 670,000.[2]

Ryanair and TUI Airways are the primary users of the airport, which was owned and operated by Manchester Airports Group (MAG), the largest British airport operator until December 2017, when Regional & City Airports (RCA) acquired Bournemouth Airport for an undisclosed amount.[5]


Bournemouth Airport is situated on the edge of Hurn village in the Borough of Christchurch, 4 miles (6 km) north of Bournemouth, 1 mile (1.6 km) west of the A338 and approximately 100 miles (160 km) south west of London. The airport is accessible via the A31 from the M27 and M3 motorways to the east, and via the A35 to the west. The nearest other airports serving the area are Exeter International Airport, Bristol Airport and Southampton Airport.



From November 1944 the airfield took over from Bristol's Whitchurch airport[6] as the main operating base for British Overseas Airways Corporation until Heathrow fully opened in 1948.[7] Starting in October 1945 Hurn served as London's transatlantic airport until Heathrow opened to the airlines in mid-1946. In January 1946 Pan Am opened a scheduled New York (La Guardia) to London (Hurn) service, five days a week, using the new DC-4; the journey time was 17 hours 40 minutes.It was also the starting point of the first England-Australia landplane service, which took three days in Avro Lancastrians (modified Lancaster bombers).[citation needed]


First charter flights

1958 saw the first Palmair charter from the airport, using a single 36 seat Viking aircraft destined for Palma de Mallorca.[8] The service was one of the first charter flights in the United Kingdom. 1970's Flights to Spain and Majorca (Mallorca). Dan Air and Silver City operated from Hurn.[citation needed]

Aircraft manufacture

A BAC 1-11 in British Aircraft Corporation livery at Bournemouth Airport in 1971.

Vickers-Armstrongs took over some ex-BOAC hangars at Hurn in 1951 and started production of Varsities, then Viscounts and eventually, as the British Aircraft Corporation, the BAC One-Eleven. During a 33-year period 222 One-Elevens, 146 Varsities and 279 Viscounts were built and delivered from Hurn making a total of 647 produced at this site.[citation needed]

Some of the development of the ill-fated TSR-2 was also done here (although assembly and flight testing was carried out at Warton, Lancs), as well as the production of Jet Provost wings; other components were manufactured here for Concorde, the Panavia Tornado and Shorts Skyvan.[citation needed] The closure of the British Aerospace site in 1984 ended Bournemouth's role as a significant player in the aircraft manufacturing industry. The former aircraft factory now forms one of Dorset's largest industrial sites, including a base for Cobham plc.[citation needed]

College of Air Traffic Control

Adjacent to the entrance to Bournemouth Airport was the College of Air Traffic Control, operated by NATS, the now privatised provider of air traffic control services in the UK. Established by the Ministry of Civil Aviation as the School of Air Traffic Control in 1949, the establishment was retitled College in 1962.[citation needed] Students from home and abroad were trained in all aspects of ATC operations and went on to work throughout the world. Electronic computer-based ATC simulators were widely employed. Usefully situated at an operational airfield, for a considerable period training in Approach Radar Control was facilitated by the airport ATC unit. Students were able to practise live radar control exercises using temporarily detached Civil Aviation Flying Unit Dove aircraft as live targets. The building was also the home to the Air Traffic Control Evaluation Unit, responsible for developing technology used within the service.

During 2011 NATS transferred ATC training to its headquarters facility at Whiteley near Southampton. The Hurn facility was purchased by a free school, Parkfield School, serving Bournemouth and the local area.[9]

Change of ownership

In 1969 the airport was purchased jointly by the Bournemouth Corporation and Dorset County Council[7] and renamed as "Bournemouth Airport" (later to become Bournemouth International Airport). The new owners decided to redevelop the facility as a commercial airport and, by 1980, the airport became used by charter airlines, when European Aviation began services.[citation needed]


In 1993, the airport received its first regular passenger flights when Palmair wet leased its first aircraft and European Aviation Air Charter (EAC) started operations.[citation needed] In 1995, the airport was sold to National Express and then, in March 2001, was acquired by the Manchester Airports Group, which was at that time the second-largest owner of UK airports.[10]

In 1996, an extension to the main runway was officially opened by the arrival of Concorde.[citation needed] Travel agency Bath Travel chartered Concorde for supersonic champagne lunches across the Bay of Biscay. Ryanair also began services from Bournemouth to Dublin with a Boeing 737-200.

Since 2001, a Boeing 747SP has been based at the airport; it is used by the Royal Family of Qatar and other VIP government staff from the Middle East state of Qatar. The aircraft is often stored in the former BASCO building (Hangar 12) and is a regular visitor to Zürich Airport and Heathrow.[citation needed]

In late 2001, Bournemouth Flying Club took the leap into full commercial flight training and established Bournemouth Commercial Flight Training on the former SFT site adjacent to the threshold for runway 08. Bournemouth Commercial Flight Training (BCFT) has adapted and expanded throughout its history, contributing to the overall success of the airport and continuing to make Bournemouth Airport important to the overall commercial flight training in the U.K.

Bath Travel's Palmair remained the prime user of the airport, with a 737-200 permanently based there. In 2005 Thomsonfly became the first major low-cost airline to establish a hub at Bournemouth, allocating two Boeing 737-300 aircraft for scheduled services to Europe and (in 2008) to the Caribbean.[11] Also in 2005, Air Berlin and EasyJet began services by announcing routes to Paderborn and Geneva respectively.[citation needed] Air Berlin have now ceased operations at the airport. The airport previously had a daily service to the Channel Islands provided by the Jersey-based Blue Islands airline, which withdrew from Bournemouth in April 2009. Polish-based Wizzair also ran routes to Gdansk, Katowice, and Kraków during 2006 and 2007.[citation needed]

Route development

In 2007, Ryanair began to rapidly increase the number of services from the airport, initially starting routes to Marseille, Alicante, and Milan which brought the total to eight.[citation needed] In 2008, Palmair introduced a new series of charter flights to Tunisia, Fuerteventura, Naples, Amalfi Coast, and Rhodes. Olympic Holidays also launched new charter flights to Corfu and Zakynthos in Greece and Larnaca in Cyprus.[citation needed]

On 9 January 2008, Ryanair announced that they would base one of their Boeing 737-800s at Bournemouth from April 2008.[12] During the first quarter, the airline announced routes to Málaga, Murcia, Palma de Mallorca, Wroclaw and the re-introduction of the Nantes route. An additional flight each day was added to the Glasgow Prestwick route, with the addition of a twice-daily flight to Edinburgh. In May the same year, Bergamo and Beauvais routes were announced to commence in October plus a new weekly ski flight to Turin for the winter season.[citation needed]

Increasing from 14 routes, after the discontinuation of the Nantes route, to 18 - Carcassonne, Faro, Limoges, and Reus were added to the route network in February 2009.

On 25 November 2008, Bournemouth Airport was ranked best airport in the United Kingdom and third best in the world, after Singapore Changi Airport and Hong Kong International Airport, by the Daily Telegraph Travel Awards.[13][14]

In December 2009, bmibaby announced a new summer route to Jersey. It was the first time the airline had operated out of the airport; they provided three services a week, using a Boeing 737-500. Again in December, Ryanair added four new routes to the network, bringing the total to 17. Another Boeing 737-800 was based at the airport and the airline projected to fly 650,000 passengers per annum at Bournemouth,[15] however the actual figure was lower.

Following the closure of European Aviation Air Charter, Palmair chartered various aircraft types from Jet2, Viking, Blue Line, Tor Air and Astraeus, before unveiling their new Astraeus-leased Boeing 737-500 (G-PJPJ) on 13 May 2009.[16] The original agreement was for the aircraft to be leased until April 2012, but the airline ceased operations in October 2010.

Flybe started services in May 2010 but discontinued services in November the same year. It led to no scheduled services from the airport. After a hiatus of services, Blue Islands recommenced services to Guernsey and Jersey on 1 November 2011. Flybe announced on 10 November 2015 that all destinations would end 27 March 2016[17]

In September 2016 one of the U.Ks newest AOC's Scenic Air Tours started operations from the airport, offering pleasure/scenic flights along the south coast and aircraft rentals. The company has now expanded with a second operating base at Durham Tees Valley Airport in the North East. The company operates two Piper PA28's and one Grumman American AA-5.

In November 2016 Bournemouth based Eagle European commenced operations on its A - B AOC, flying the Cessna 421 Golden Eagle on charter flights, focusing heavily on the Medical role.


The former terminal building which has been replaced under expansion
Bournemouth Airport Car Park

With the budget increased to £45 million in July 2008, the upgrade will replace the arrivals terminal and upgrade the check-in and departure lounge areas. The number of aircraft stands would rise from 4 to 11. Christchurch Council and central government backed plans for the re-building of the airport terminal, increasing its size by 62%; work started in August 2007.[18]

Work on the terminal itself is now complete, where the check-in areas, security control, and departure lounges have been upgraded. A new World Duty Free store has opened on the airside, as have a new WHSmith store and an The Olive Tree eatery. All remaining retail space has since been completed and opened.

The new arrivals hall was completed on time and budget in July 2011. The building produces 70% less Carbon Dioxide than the previous facility with the design taking advantage of the building’s orientation to make maximum possible use of solar gain, solar shading, daylight, and natural ventilation. These measures will reduce the need for mechanical and electrical installations which, in turn, will reduce the building’s energy requirements.[18]

Other improvements to the infrastructure around the airport include more frequent bus services to Bournemouth Interchange and traffic lights at the entrance to the airport have been constructed.

Airlines and destinations

The following airlines operate regular scheduled, seasonal, and seasonal charter flights to and from Bournemouth:[19]

Airlines Destinations
easyJet Switzerland Seasonal: Geneva
Freebird Airlines Seasonal charter: Dalaman
Ryanair Alicante, Faro, Gran Canaria, Kraków, Málaga, Malta, Paphos (begins 29 October 2018),[20] Tenerife-South
Seasonal: Girona, Murcia, Palma de Mallorca
TUI Airways Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, Tenerife-South
Seasonal: Corfu, Heraklion (begins 3 May 2019),[21] Ibiza, Kefalonia (begins 7 May 2019),[21] Menorca, Naples, Palma de Mallorca, Paphos, Rhodes[21]



Number of Passengers[22] Number of Movements[23] Passengers Change
2003 0460,872 76,177 Increase17.6%
2004 0492,882 77,142 Increase06.9%
2005 0829,108 79,512 Increase68.2%
2006 0960,773 75,505 Increase15.9%
2007 1,083,379 71,742 Increase12.8%
2008 1,078,941 78,527 Decrease00.1%
2009 0868,445 82,538 Decrease19.5%
2010 0751,331 55,398 Decrease13.7%
2011 0613,755 51,799 Decrease18.3%
2012 0689,913 51,089 Increase12.6%
2013 0660,272 47,174 Decrease04.7%
2014 0661,584 43,122 Increase00.2%
2015 0706,776 43,020 Increase06.8%
2016 0667,981 36,922 Decrease05.5%
Source: UK Civil Aviation Authority[2]


Busiest routes to and from Bournemouth (2016)[24]
Rank Airport Total
2015 / 16
1 Palma de Mallorca 114,694 Increase 11.7%
2 Málaga 83,746 Increase 26.1%
3 Alicante 64,912 Increase 9.6%
4 Faro 54,568 Increase 62.7%
5 Tenerife–South 47,295 Increase 0.2%
6 Girona 43,831 Increase 5.5%
7 Murcia 42,558 Decrease 18.3%
8 Gran Canaria 35,446 Increase 84.2%
9 Geneva 28,384 Increase 14.9%
10 Malta 27,861 Increase 29.2%

Other facilities

The airport has a 200-acre (0.81 km2) industrial park, including offices and hangars. In early March 2009, Manchester Airport Developments Ltd completed the construction of Cirrus Court, a development of 14 industrial units which is the first part of a number of phases to redevelop the northern aviation sector.[25]

When Channel Express operated, its head office was in Building 470 at the airport.[26]

Babcock International Group has its Defence and Security offices located at the airport.

L3 CTS (formerly CTC Aviation) one of the worlds largest flight schools has its main U.K flight training base at the airfield with students completing basic, intermediate and advanced training there. Located on the East side from its purpose built hangar, the company operates a fleet of Diamond DA42, Slingsby T67 Firefly and recently Diamond DA40NG aircraft. Their Bournemouth base complements its facilities in Southampton, Coventry, Ponte de Sor (Portugal) and Hamilton (New Zealand).

Bournemouth Commercial Flight Training and Airline Pilot Academy Operates from its main Office and Hangar on Aviation Park West adjacent to the NPAS facility. The large apron provides parking for its commercial fleet including two BE76 Duchess and four Piper PA28 (three Cadets and one Arrow) aircraft. They also have many hangared aircraft belonging to the company, including a Pilatus PC-12, a SIAI-Marchetti SF.260, a Beagle B.121 Pup, a Scottish Aviation Bulldog, a Partenavia P.68 and several Robin HR 200 aircraft. BCFT specialises in Modular Flight training whilst its sister company APA is pioneering a new and dynamic approach to Integrated Flight Training with bases at Bournemouth International Airport and Orlando Melbourne International Airport.

Scenic Air Tours one of the U.K's largest A - A AOC holders also operates from Aviation Park West with its main base of operation at Bournemouth Airport, its secondary base located at Durham Tees Valley Airport houses one of its Piper PA28 aircraft available for Sightseeing and Aerial Photography. The Bournemouth based fleet consists of a Piper PA28 and Grumman American AA-5 both available for Sightseeing trips and rentals.

Bournemouth can also boast being the home of the U.K's largest dedicated Pilatus maintenance facility, focusing on the Pilatus PC-12, with aircraft from all over Europe flying in for various maintenance. Jetfly Aviation, one of Europes leading fractional ownership companies uses the Bournemouth facility for the majority of its maintenance needs and has aircraft and crew based at the airport.

As well as the Pilatus maintanece facility the airport is also home to several others, all specialising in various areas of the industry. The largest for general aviation aircraft is Airtime Aviation, providing maintenance for aircraft up to the size of Beechcraft King Air. Airtime also provide aircraft painting through its sister company, Airtime Paint, handling all kinds of aircraft including small jets. Fast Aviation also provides maintenance for general aviation aircraft and is based on the north side of the airfield. MCA provide specialist King Air support and maintenance, with several worldwide contracts. Jets and Technic Air provide maintenance for Jet aircraft and smaller turboprop airliners.

Handling for General Aviation aircraft is provided by two companies, Bliss Aviation a small flight school specialising in Helicopter training provide handling for smaller aircraft such as Piper PA-28 and larger multi engine pistons like Piper Chieftain and Beechcraft Baron. Larger coperate aircraft are handled by Signature Flight Support, often handling aircraft up to the size of Gulfstream G650 and Falcon 7X.

Accidents and incidents


  1. ^ a b NATS Aeronautical Information Service: Bournemouth - EGHH
  2. ^ a b c "Aircraft and passenger traffic data from UK airports". UK Civil Aviation Authority. 3 March 2017. Retrieved 15 March 2017. 
  3. ^ "Our History". Bournemouth Airport. 2011. Archived from the original on 24 April 2011. Retrieved 19 March 2011. 
  4. ^ "Facts and Figures". Bournemouth Airport. 2008. Retrieved 14 April 2009. 
  5. ^ "Rigby Group buys Bournemouth Airport for undisclosed fee". Retrieved 5 December 2017. 
  6. ^ British Airline History - London Metropolitan University Archived 30 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine.
  7. ^ a b History of Bournemouth Airport - Airport Guides Network
  8. ^ Palmair History Archived 19 February 2010 at the Wayback Machine.
  9. ^ Reader, Jane (9 January 2014). "Parents' anger over Parkfield School moving to Bournemouth Airport site". Bournemouth Echo. Retrieved 9 January 2017. 
  10. ^ "Manchester Airport spreads its wings". BBC News &#7c Business. 19 February 2001. Retrieved 31 October 2016. 
  11. ^ "Bournemouth confirmed as new base for low fares airline". Thomson. 2004. Archived from the original on 11 July 2012. Retrieved 4 December 2009. 
  12. ^ "Bournemouth wins Ryanair's 24th European Base". Ryanair. 2008. Archived from the original on 30 January 2009. Retrieved 4 December 2009. 
  13. ^ "Telegraph Travel Awards 2008: Best Airport". The Daily Telegraph. London. 26 November 2008. Archived from the original on 10 November 2012. Retrieved 5 December 2008. 
  14. ^ "Telegraph Travel Awards 2008: Best Airport". 
  15. ^ "Ryanair announce new routes and add another aircraft at Bournemouth Airport". Bournemouth Echo. 18 December 2009. Retrieved 28 March 2010. 
  16. ^ "Peter Bath's plane unveiled with flying colours at Bournemouth Airport". Bournemouth Daily Echo. 2009. Retrieved 13 May 2009. 
  17. ^ http://www.flybe.com/corporate/media/news/1511/10a.htm
  18. ^ a b "£45 million redevelopment programme". Bournemouth Airport. 2008. Archived from the original on 21 December 2009. Retrieved 4 December 2009. 
  19. ^ bournemouthairport.com - Timetables retrieved 19 November 2016
  20. ^ "New Routes From Bournemouth & Liverpool To Paphos For Winter 2018". Ryanair DAC. 16 February 2018. Retrieved 21 February 2018. 
  21. ^ a b c "Flight Timetable". tui.co.uk. 5 November 2017. Retrieved 5 November 2017. 
  22. ^ Number of Passengers including both domestic and international.
  23. ^ Number of Movements represents total aircraft takeoffs and landings during that year.
  24. ^ "Airport Data 2016". UK Civil Aviation Authority. 3 March 2017. Tables 12.1(XLS) and 12.2 (XLS). Retrieved 16 March 2017. 
  25. ^ "Airport development is now complete". Daily Echo. 2009. Retrieved 14 April 2009. 
  26. ^ "Contact Information Archived 12 September 2011 at the Wayback Machine.." Channel Express. Retrieved on 31 December 2011. "Channel Express (Air Services) Limited Building 470 Bournemouth International Airport Christchurch Dorset. BH23 6SE."
  27. ^ "Accident description". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 8 October 2009. 

External links

Media related to Bournemouth Airport at Wikimedia Commons