Southampton Airport history
In 2010 Southampton Airport celebrated 100 years of flight in South Hampshire. From our first flight back in 1910 to today, take a look at the major milestones in Southampton Airport's history.
July 2012: The Olympic Flame visited Southampton Airport as part of the torch relay.
July 2010: Dave Lees was appointed as Managing Director of Southampton Airport.
February 2009: Southampton Airport was named as the European winner of the ACI Airport People Award for the second year running.
September 2008: Kevin Brown took over as our Managing Director.
June 2008: The airport nearly doubled the check-in and baggage facilities with an investment of over £3 million.
February 2008: Southampton Airport was named the European winner of the ACI Airport People Award 2008, for developing a strong customer service culture across the entire airport community.
June 2006: Ferrovial took control of our airport.
2005: The redeveloped departure lounge opened following a ₤5 million investment and Southampton launched its draft masterplan.
2003: We celebrated the historic milestone of one million passengers in a year.
1995: The old terminal building was demolished.
1994: The airport was renamed Southampton International Airport and the new passenger terminal was opened by HRH Prince Andrew, The Duke of York. The work took 56 weeks to complete.
1993: Detailed planning permission was granted and construction of the new terminal began.
1990: BAA purchased the site, announcing its intention to invest £27 million in the complete redevelopment of the airport.
1988: A consortium headed by Peter de Savary bought the airport site from Mr Somers and applied for planning permission for the complete redevelopment of the airport.
1984: Airports UK Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of BAA, was appointed to manage the operational activities of Southampton Airport and set about improving the facilities and attracting new services.
1970s: An economic slump led to a reduction in passenger numbers. Nevertheless, a new air traffic control tower was built and surveillance radar installed.
1960s: Mr J N Somer, at the time the owner of an airfield in Hertfordshire, secured the future of Southampton Airport when he purchased it from Southampton Corporation. A number of improvements were made, including the construction of a 1723-metre concrete runway. In the first year of operation with the new runway, 273,247 passengers passed through the airport - four times more than the previous year.
1945: Resumption of a regular air service to the Channel Islands marked the return of the wartime aerodrome to a municipal airport.
1939: RAF Southampton was recommissioned as HMS Raven and subsequently spent most of the war in a ground and air training role for the Royal Navy. In an attempt to disrupt the assembly of aircraft, sporadic raids were made on the airport. However, German propaganda did not quite get it right when reporting HMS Raven had been sunk!
1936: The Spitfire prototype took off 5 March. Spitfire aircraft were designed and built locally in Woolston and assembled and tested at Southampton Airport. The first flight records are on display at Southampton Airport.
1933: The Hampshire Aeroplane Club moved operations to the site from Hamble. One famous member was RJ Mitchell, the aircraft designer responsible for the Spitfire.
1932: Southampton Corporation purchased Atlantic Park and renamed it Southampton Municipal Airport.
1918: The Air Ministry gave approval to set up a civil air transport system to serve both international and domestic routes with direct flights to Plymouth, London, a French port, Bristol and Bournemouth via the Isle of Wight.
1917: Stoneham Farm was requisitioned by the War office as an Aircraft Acceptance Park, but before completion the base was given to the US Navy to develop an assembly area.
1914: Public flying display by Gustav Hamel on his Morain Saulnier Monoplane. Ten thousand people witnessed his aerobatics loops and tail-dives.
1910: The very first aircraft to take off from the Southampton Airport site belonged to local man Eric Rowland Moon. Eric made and tested the Moonbeam 2 aircraft on the North Stoneham Farm Meadows. No one is entirely sure where Moonbeam 1 departed from or landed.