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About East Midlands

The Airport started life with the basic requirements of a£5,850ft runway, 60ft taxiway, new hangar floor and aprons and parking for 850 cars. Financially it was not an instant success. However the picture quickly changed with the increased volume of freight traffic soon demanding further development. In 1970 agreement was reached on creating a new freight complex and both the runway and the terminal were extended.

Further changes were made as EMA continued to grow. The late 70s saw another runway extension, soon to be followed by another upgrade for the terminal building. In 1985, a million passengers passed through the Airport for the first time and a year later Princess Anne was opening a £3million terminal extension.

Significant change in the running of the Airport came about in 1987 when it became a public limited company following Government legislation demanding that local authorities ran the operation as an “arms length” public sector enterprise.

In 1992 another major terminal extension was proposed but the owning local authorities, who had eagerly supported all the previous changes could not fund the development. So in 1993 and in the face of Government pressure to reduce public spending, the local authority shareholders took the bold decision to become the first major regional airport to enter the private sector.

The Airport was purchased for a price of £24.3 million by the National Express Group, who recognised the superb potential of this growing regional Airport. During the 8 year period in which they owned EMA they invested an additional £77 million in the Airport infrastructure and passenger facilities.

One of the major developments during that period was the completion of a £20 million runway extension. 600 metres were added to the existing strip, opening up huge opportunities for the Airport to be marketed as a long-haul operation. £3.5 million was also invested in a new air traffic control tower. The second highest in the country, the tower has been built to serve the needs of the Airport for the next 50 years.


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