Southampton Airport (IATA: SOU, ICAO: EGHI) is an international airport in the Borough of Eastleigh within Hampshire, England, 3.5 nautical miles (6.5 km; 4.0 mi) north north-east of Southampton.[1]

The airport handled nearly two million passengers during 2016, an 8.8% increase compared with 2015,[2] making it the 18th busiest airport in the UK. Southampton Airport has a CAA Public Use Aerodrome Licence (Number P690) that allows flights for the public transport of passengers or for flying instruction. The airport is owned and operated by AGS Airports which also owns and operates Aberdeen and Glasgow Airports. It was previously owned and operated by Heathrow Airport Holdings (formerly known as BAA).[3]


The airport's runway is built over the remains of a Roman villa. It was excavated in May 1925 but the villa had been robbed of much of its material.[4]

The site's connection with aviation began in 1910 when pioneer pilot Edwin Rowland Moon used the meadows belonging to North Stoneham Farm as a take-off and landing spot for his monoplane, Moonbeam Mk II.[5]

During the First World War, when forces from the United States Navy arrived in 1917, work on the building of hangars began. At the peak of the American presence, some 4,000 officers and men were billeted in tents and huts along the adjacent London to Southampton railway line.

After that war, the site became a transit camp for refugees, mainly Russian, who wished to sail to America from the port of Southampton. Shipping companies Cunard and White Star Line (the Oceanic Steam Navigation Company), together with the Canadian Pacific Railway, formed the Atlantic Park Hostel Company to house them temporarily. In 1921 the hangars were converted into dormitories, kitchens and dining rooms.[citation needed]

The hostel was intended to be a short-term clearing house for those trans-migrants changing ships, but following changes to United States immigration law which restricted entry under national origins quotas, some residents were forced to stay much longer. In 1924 about 980 Ukrainian Jewish would-be emigrants were cared for at the hostel. Some of them were still there seven years later, stranded between the US and UK which would not accept them, and unable to return the countries they had fled. Atlantic Park had a school, library, and synagogue; the refugees formed football teams that played local sides and took part in local events, such as Eastleigh carnival. At the height of its use 20,000 passed through Atlantic Park in 1928 but then numbers started to fall away, leading to the closure of the hostel in 1931.[citation needed]

In 1932 Southampton Corporation purchased the site and it became Southampton Municipal Airport. By 1935, part of the site was being used by the RAF and was briefly known as RAF Eastleigh before it became RAF Southampton in 1936. The military site was transferred to naval command in 1939 and renamed HMS Raven, and spent most of the war in a ground and air training role for the Royal Navy.[6] It passed back into civilian ownership in April 1946.

During the 1950s a mainstay of business for the airport was the cross-channel car ferry service operated by Silver City Airways using Bristol Freighters and Superfreighters.

In 1959 Southampton (Eastleigh) Airport was purchased by racing pilot J.N. 'Nat' Somers, who laid the foundation for the regional airport that exists today by building the concrete runway in 1963 and negotiating with British Rail to build Southampton Airport Parkway railway station next to the airport. Somers also worked with the Department of Transport to plan for the then-new M27 motorway to pass through the airport just south of the runway and north of Ford's plant, at the same time installing a major roundabout outside the airport. This forward-thinking programme encouraged most of the airlines at Bournemouth Hurn to move to Southampton in the mid-1960s. Somers' company sold the airport to Peter de Savary in 1988, who a few years later sold it to the owners of London Heathrow.

Apron at Southampton Airport

In 1936 Supermarine opened a test flight facility on the site, followed shortly thereafter by the opening of the Cunliffe-Owen Aircraft factory on the southern end of the runway. Both companies later closed their Southampton operations, Supermarine moving flying activities to Chilbolton, and the Cunliffe-Owen factory being acquired by Briggs Motor Bodies during 1949–1951[7] who were taken over by Ford in 1953. The Cierva Autogiro Company rented portions of the Cunliffe-Owen plants from 1946, and had to move to another location on the field when it was acquired by Briggs. In 1951 Saunders-Roe took over the interests of Cierva Autogyro and built a rotor testing building on the eastern side of the airfield, which is now derelict. They continued operations on the field until about 1960.

21st century

Southampton Airport has one main ground handler, Swissport (Servisair), who took over from Aviance. They handle all passenger services and ramp operations for all airlines except for Aurigny Air services who operate their own ground handling.

In 2010, the airport arranged a series of events to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the first flight at the airport.[8]

In October 2014, Heathrow Airport Holdings reached an agreement to sell the airport, together with those at Glasgow and Aberdeen, for £1 billion to AGS Airports, a consortium of Ferrovial and Macquarie Group.[9]

In 2016 the airport won the Airport of the Year award of the European Regional Airlines Association, having demonstrated extraordinary involvement with the local community and reducing its carbon footprint, whilst growing and expanding in a highly competitive market.[10]

First Spitfire test flight

The first test flight of the Supermarine Spitfire took place at the airport on 5 March 1936, an event commemorated in 2004 by the erection of a near-full size sculpture of K5054, the prototype Spitfire, at the road entrance.

On 5 March 2006, five restored Spitfires took off from Southampton Airport to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the first test flight of the Spitfire. The local council wanted to rename the airport after R. J. Mitchell, designer of the Spitfire. However, the airport owner at the time, Heathrow Airport Holdings, did not agree.[11][12]

Airlines and destinations


The following airlines offer regular scheduled and charter services to and from Southampton:[13]

Airlines Destinations
Aer Lingus Regional Cork
Aurigny Alderney
easyJet Switzerland Seasonal: Geneva[14]
Flybe Aberdeen, Alicante, Amsterdam, Belfast-City, Bergerac, Dublin, Düsseldorf, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Guernsey, Jersey, Leeds/Bradford, Manchester, Nantes, Newcastle, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Rennes
Seasonal: Avignon, Bastia, Biarritz, Bordeaux, Brest, Chambery, Faro, Geneva, La Rochelle, Limoges, Malaga, Palma de Mallorca, Perpignan, Rodez, Toulon, Verona
Seasonal charter: Chambéry,[15] Menorca (begins 26 May 2018),[16] Skiathos (begins 3 July 2018)[17]
KLM Amsterdam
Volotea Seasonal charter: Ibiza, Palma de Mallorca


Cargo services are available on some passenger flights, including daily cargo services to Guernsey on Blue Islands and to Jersey on Flybe, all of which are handled by OceanAir Express Logistics.


Passenger numbers

Southampton Airport Passenger Totals 2001–2016 (thousands)
Updated: 15 March 2016.[2]
Number of Passengers Aircraft movements Cargo
2001 857,670 48,204 332
2002 789,325 46,767 382
2003 1,218,634 51,423 322
2004 1,530,776 54,484 272
2005 1,835,784 58,045 204
2006 1,912,979 55,786 195
2007 1,965,686 54,183 297
2008 1,945,993 50,689 264
2009 1,789,901 45,502 209
2010 1,733,690 45,350 116
2011 1,762,076 45,700 132
2012 1,694,120 43,284 359
2013 1,722,758 40,501 133
2014 1,831,732 40,374 133
2015 1,789,470 39,379 185
2016 1,947,052 42,824 173
Source: CAA Official Statistics[2]

Busiest routes

Near full-scale model Supermarine Spitfire prototype K5054 at Southampton Airport
Busiest routes to and from Southampton (2017)[18]
Rank Airport Total
2016 / 17
1 Amsterdam 229,184 Increase 21.7%
2 Edinburgh 208,105 Increase 4.9%
3 Manchester 203,162 Increase 7.7%
4 Glasgow 197,769 Increase 10.2%
5 Jersey 167,482 Increase 3.4%
6 Dublin 140,752 Increase 6.1%
7 Newcastle 130,256 Increase 10.6%
8 Belfast–City 118,840 Increase 1.3%
9 Guernsey 117,244 Decrease 13.7%
10 Paris–Charles de Gaulle 63,032 Increase 148.3%
11 Bergerac 37,490 Increase 3.4%
12 Alicante 34,813 Increase 5.9%
13 Leeds Bradford 34,802 Decrease 14.8%
14 Munich 33,590 Increase 23.0%
15 Málaga 30,652 Increase 31.3%
16 Düsseldorf 30,342 Increase 2.9%
17 Palma de Mallorca 29,195 Decrease 29.7%
18 Cork 24,119 Increase 46.6%
19 Alderney 23,692 Increase 1.9%
20 Nantes 23,139 Decrease 8.5%

Ground transport

Southampton Airport is served by a dedicated mainline railway station, Southampton Airport Parkway. It is on the South Western Main Line from London Waterloo (66 minutes away) and Winchester (15 minutes away) and Southampton (city centre is approximately 7 minutes away) to Bournemouth, Poole, Dorchester and Weymouth with a fast and frequent service to those places. The station is a 60-second walk from the terminal, one of the closest airport links in Europe.

Unilink/Bluestar buses run to Southampton city centre every 20 minutes throughout the day and take approximately 45 minutes; taxis are available outside Arrivals.[19]

The airport is located close to the junction between the M3 motorway and M27 motorway, giving easy road access to Southampton, Winchester, Bournemouth, Poole, Portsmouth and places between.

Accidents and incidents

  • On 10 June 1990, British Airways Flight 5390 suffered an explosive decompression while flying from Birmingham to Málaga, Spain. With captain Tim Lancaster sucked halfway out of the cockpit, co-pilot Alastair Atchison managed to land the plane safely at Southampton with no fatalities. This accident appeared on the National Geographic television programme Air Crash Investigation (known as Mayday in some countries).[20]
  • On 26 May 1993, a Cessna 550 Citation II landed with a tailwind of 15 kn (28 km/h; 17 mph), while the operating manual recommended a maximum safe tailwind of 10 kn (19 km/h; 12 mph); this resulted in a landing distance requirement greater than that available at the airport. The plane overran the runway through the airport perimeter fence and onto the M27 motorway where it collided with two cars and caught fire. The two flight crew sustained minor whiplash injuries, and the three car occupants also sustained minor injuries. The aircraft was destroyed.[21]


  1. ^ a b Southampton – EGHI
  2. ^ a b c d "Aircraft and passenger traffic data from UK airports". UK Civil Aviation Authority. 3 March 2017. Retrieved 15 March 2017. 
  3. ^ "Who we are". Heathrow Airport Holdings. 2013. Retrieved 28 January 2013. 
  4. ^ MONUMENT NO. 230032, Pastscape, retrieved 29 May 2012
  5. ^ Mann, John Edgar (2002). Book of the Stonehams. Tiverton: Halsgrove. p. 25. ISBN 1-84114-213-1. 
  6. ^ BAA Southampton Official Airport Website Archived 21 August 2008 at the Wayback Machine.
  7. ^ How Southampton became 'home' to the Ford Transit van
  8. ^ "Centenary of flight". Hampshire County Council. 28 January 2010. Archived from the original on 21 October 2010. Retrieved 27 February 2010. 
  9. ^ "Aberdeen, Glasgow and Southampton airports sold in £1bn deal". BBC News. 16 October 2014. Retrieved 20 October 2014. 
  10. ^ "Southampton Airport flying high after being awarded as the best in Europe". Daily Echo. 18 October 2016. 
  11. ^ Airport rename to honour Spitfire
  12. ^ Airport Spitfire rename supported
  13. ^ southamptonairport.com
  14. ^ https://www.businesstraveller.com/business-travel/2017/07/11/easyjet-launch-routes-southampton/
  15. ^ http://www.skitotal.com
  16. ^ https://www.tui.co.uk/flight/search?flyingFrom%5B%5D=SOU&flyingTo%5B%5D=MAH%3AMenorca&depDate=2018-05-26&returnDate=2018-06-02&adults=2&children=0&infants=0&infantAge=&isOneWay=false&childAge=&searchType=pricegrid&isFlexible=Y
  17. ^ http://www.loloflights.com
  18. ^ "Airport Data 2017". UK Civil Aviation Authority. 22 March 2018. Tables 12.1(XLS) and 12.2 (XLS). Retrieved 22 March 2018. 
  19. ^ "Travel to Southampton city centre". Retrieved 17 January 2014. 
  20. ^ Aircraft Accident Report No. 1/92
  21. ^ "Report on the accident to Cessna 550 Citation II, G-JETB at Southampton (Eastleigh) Airport on 26 May 1993". UK AAIB. Archived from the original on 22 October 2008. Retrieved 7 April 2008. 

External links

Media related to Southampton Airport at Wikimedia Commons