Flower display on Plyouth Hoe spelling 'Welcome to Plymouth'

Plymouth City Airport

Plymouth is a city that is often unfairly criticized in the UK. Sure, the job market is less than enviable, and, sure, the football team can be borderline painful to watch on occasion, but lets not forget what rich history and cultural heritage can be found there, and, let us remind ourselves of the immense array of beaches, spectacular views, bountiful pastures and fine cuisine that can be located in -and very close to- the city. Not to mention that such enviable positioning to the beauty of Cornwall alone should dictate that this fine place in the west of England has an airport… yet it doesn’t (Damn you Newquay!). At least it did, and now it doesn’t … but soon it will again! Hoorah! So just what happened to Plymouth City Airport, and what steps are being taken to safeguard its triumphant return?

Beginning life in 1925, and officially opened by Prince Edward (Edward VIII) in 1931, Plymouth Airfield, situated in Roborough, was used for training exercises between the RAF, British Army and Royal Navy in its infancy, and soon after became known as RNAS Roborough. However, during the 1940’s, Plymouth airfield was handed over to the coastguards by the air ministry and was used for RAF Coastal Command instead. It wasn’t until the 1950’s that the RAF fully relinquished its control of the airfield and it was renamed Plymouth City Airport

The heyday

Rebranded and Re-energized, the airport enjoyed moderate success for many years, transporting city folk from ‘the north’ (all areas ‘north’ of Plymouth) to the mellow south, and -up until its untimely end on December 23rd, 2011- millions of people had found themselves within its confines, either cuddled up to a pasty on lousy plastic seating as they waited for their flight, or, making haste to the exit post disembarkation. A sharp decrease in passengers in 2009 (primarily due to the discontinuation of flights from London to Plymouth city airport) lead to the closure of the site, and -despite the best efforts made by the group known as ‘Viable’– it has been deserted pretty much ever since; a tough pill to swallow for ‘the janners’ given its closest local rival, Exeter, had an airport that was performing rather well at the time, forcing them to suffer the ignominy of having to drive to Plymouth’s nearest airport to venture to such exotic destinations as Italy and Spain. Oh the humanity!

Plymouth City Airport form the air

Plymouth Airport aerial view

What does the future hold?

However, good news for the people of this fine western hub, Plymouth airport could well be reopening! The airport has been ‘mothballed’ ever since its untimely closure 8 years ago, and, Plymouth City Council have safeguarded the location, announcing it ‘ready for general aviation use’, following the 2012 Viable petition, signed by 38,000 Plymouthians (mostly). FlyPlymouth has since raised £21, 521 via crowdfunding, and this sum has been used to develop plans that have since been submitted to the council’s city-planning department. If all goes well, the next phase will hopefully see the plans green-lit, more money raised and the reopening of the airport in 2019-2020, which -in turn- means that Pilgrims will now only have to travel to Exeter to watch abysmal football matches, study at the university and take selfies in-front of Cathedrals.

As yet, no new Plymouth airport destinations have been announced, which seems fair given it’s not open, but, I’d expect to see the reappearance of domestic routes in the UK, and some routes to mainland Europe making a comeback before the end of the decade if everything goes Ambrosia-smoothly. “Geddon.”


Stairport Trans Ltd. service the city of Plymouth providing airport taxi services to residents, book your taxi now.