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Shoreham Airport


Shoreham Airport

Shoreham Airport
Shoreham (Brighton City) Airport
Airport type Public
Operator Brighton City Airport Ltd
Serves South of West Sussex
Location Lancing, West Sussex
Elevation AMSL 7 ft / 2 m
EGKA is located in West Sussex
Location in West Sussex
Direction Length Surface
m ft
02/20 1,036 3,399 Asphalt
07/25 877 2,877 Grass
13/31 408 1,339 Grass
700 2,297 Grass
Statistics (2014)
Passengers 452
Movements 54,344
Sources: UK AIP at NATS[1]
Statistics from the UK Civil Aviation Authority[2]
The art deco terminal building of Shoreham Airport
Interior of the terminal building
View of Runway 02 from the West Coastway railway line.

Shoreham Airport (ICAO: EGKA), also known as Shoreham (Brighton City) Airport or simply Brighton City Airport, is an airport located in the parish of Lancing near Shoreham-by-Sea in West Sussex, England. It has a CAA Public Use Aerodrome Licence that allows flights for the public transport of passengers or for flying instruction.

Founded in 1910, Shoreham is the oldest airport in the UK and the oldest purpose build commercial airport in the world.[3] It is now owned by Brighton City Airport Ltd (BCAL).[4] The 1930s Art Deco terminal building is listed.

The airport is 1 NM (1.9 km; 1.2 mi) west of Shoreham-by-Sea[1] at Lancing in the Adur district of West Sussex. It is situated immediately to the south of the A27 road, between Brighton and Worthing, and immediately to the north of the West Coastway railway line.


  • History 1
    • Foundation 1.1
    • First World War 1.2
    • Inter-war period 1.3
    • Second World War 1.4
    • Post-Second World War 1.5
    • Present 1.6
    • Wild Life Festival 1.7
  • RAFA Shoreham Airshow 2
  • Facilities 3
  • Ground transport 4
    • Rail 4.1
  • Airlines and destinations 5
  • South East Air Support Unit 6
  • Shoreham Airport RFFS 7
  • Film appearances 8
  • References 9
  • External links 10



The first aviator to fly there was Harold Piffard in 1910; a memorial garden celebrates his flight.[3] The aerodrome was officially opened on 20 June 1911. The first flying school opened in 1913.

First World War

During the First World War the aerodrome was used by the Royal Flying Corps. It was the departure point for some of the earlier flights (Blériots[5] and BEs) to join the conflict across the Channel.[6]

Inter-war period

The aerodrome became an airport for the adjacent towns of Brighton, Hove and Worthing in the 1930s. A new terminal building was opened on 13 June 1936. It was designed by Stavers Tiltman in the Art Deco style.[7] The terminal building is still in use and was designated a Grade II* listed building in 1984.

Second World War

During the Second World War the airfield operated a variety of military aircraft including Westland Lysanders that were later replaced by Supermarine Spitfires, Hawker Hurricanes, Boulton Paul Defiants and a pair of Bristol Beaufighters. It was an air-sea-rescue base with Supermarine Walrus aircraft joining other wartime activities in the nearby harbour.

The airfield was bombed several times and a Messerschmitt Bf 109 was shot down by ground fire during one such attack, crash-landing near the terminal building.

A B-17 Flying Fortress crash-landed at the airfield after being damaged during a raid on Germany. The consequent damage to the old guardhouse on the north side of the airfield can still be seen.

Post-Second World War

The landing area was entirely grass until a tarmac runway was built in 1981.

In 1949, F G Miles Engineering Ltd moved to Shoreham from Redhill Aerodrome and soon occupied the repaired Municipal Hangar.

Beagle Aircraft Ltd (British Executive & General Aviation Ltd) was formed at Shoreham on 7 October 1960 and design drawings were begun a few weeks later for a new prototype twin-engine light transport aircraft. Built as the Beagle B.206X at Beagle's Rearsby factory near Leicester, this promising new type was completed at Shoreham and first flown by John Nicolson on 15 August 1961. Beagle Aircraft Ltd was nationalised in late 1966 and taken over by the British Motor Corporation but later entered receivership in late 1969 and soon closed down.

In 2006, due to mounting debts the airport was sold by the local authority to a property company on a 150-year lease. It was intended that the airport would provide increasing commercial flight activity for the conurbation on the coast nearby, particularly the city of Brighton & Hove.

The pre-war Municipal Hangar was Listed Grade II in July 2007.


The airport is used by privately owned light aeroplanes, flying schools, and for light aircraft and helicopter maintenance and sales. A number of operators provide sight-seeing and pleasure flights, including the experience of flying in two T-6 Harvard World War II training aircraft.

On 2 May 2014, Brighton City Airport Ltd (BCAL) took ownership of Shoreham Airport and operations, taking over from Albemarle.[4]

Wild Life Festival

It was announced in January 2015 that the site would be the location of the first Wild Life Festival, developed by Disclosure and Rudimental. The inaugural Wild Life took place at the aptly named Brighton City Airport on 6–7 June 2015. [8]

RAFA Shoreham Airshow

Fairey Swordfish torpedo bomber at 2011 airshow.

Once every year in the late summer, the airport is host to the Royal Air Forces Association (RAFA) Shoreham Airshow.

On 22 August 2015, a Hawker Hunter jet fighter taking part in the airshow crashed onto the A27 road just outside Shoreham Airport. At least 11 people were killed although the death toll has not yet been confirmed.[9]


Shoreham Airport

There is one terminal building at Shoreham, with a central reception and information desk, together with flight indicator boards announcing all arrivals and departures. The airport has two licensed restaurants. The airport houses Northbrook College's engineering department — a Centre of Vocational Excellence (CoVE) in Aerospace and Aviation. A number of aerospace and aviation commercial businesses have offices and workshops on the airport site and along the perimeter road. The largest operator is Flying Time Aviation, providing Integrated Commercial Pilot training, with a fleet of Diamond Aircraft DA40s and DA42s.

The Shoreham Airport Visitor Centre features exhibits about the airport's history and area aviation history, a library and archive of related historic materials and guided tours of the airport.

Ground transport


A halt on the West Coastway Line was opened in 1910, just in front of the main building of the airport. In 1935 it changed name from Bungalow Town Halt to Shoreham Airport, but was closed in 1940.

Airlines and destinations

There are no regular scheduled passenger services from the airport. Various charter airlines are based at the airport.

South East Air Support Unit

The South East Air Support Unit operated from Shoreham Airport. Previously Sussex Police Air Operations Unit, the unit has been equipped since February 2000 with a MD Explorer, registered as "G-SUSX". The unit is headed by a Police Inspector, assisted by a Police Sergeant and two Police Constables, together with pilots, paramedics, and ground support staff. The aircraft always flies with a crew of three (one civilian pilot, one police officer, and one paramedic) and can reach any part of Sussex (around 1,500 square miles) within 20 minutes.[10] In summer 2007, it moved to Dunsfold Park, west of London Gatwick Airport, before moving to its present base at Redhill Aerodrome in autumn 2013.

Shoreham Airport RFFS

The Shoreham Airport Rescue and Firefighting Service provides a professional fire-fighting capability at the airport during operating hours. Headed by a Senior Airport Fire Officer, the service's two watches (Blue Watch and Red Watch) man four fire appliances. The service has operated at the airport continuously for over 90 years.[11]

Shoreham Airport's aircraft fuelling service is operated as a department of the Rescue and Firefighting Service. There are three large mobile fuel bowsers for delivering both avgas and jet fuel to aircraft, including a service (accompanied by fire appliances) for fast delivery of fuel to police and coastguard emergency helicopters without disengaging their engines. Fuel technicians are attached to the firefighting watches and work the same shift pattern[12]

Film appearances

Due to its listed period buildings and facilities, Shoreham Airport has been used by film-makers seeking to portray a small town airport, or even for historical reconstructions of scenes from the 1930s onwards. The airport has appeared in several episodes of Agatha Christie's Poirot; "The Adventure of the Western Star", "Death in the Clouds" and "Lord Edgeware Dies".[13][14][15] External shots of the airport were also used in the film The Da Vinci Code[16] and Woman in Gold. The airport was used in the feature-length documentary Angel Without Wings[17] and A Dark Reflection.


  1. ^ a b "NATS - AIS - Home". 
  2. ^ CAA 2014 Stats
  3. ^ a b Nick Bloom, "Sunny Shoreham", Pilot, February 2012, p70
  4. ^ a b "New plan ‘safeguards future of Shoreham Airport’". 
  5. ^ Royal Flying Corps WW1 Blériot XI reconnaissance monoplane |
  6. ^ Nick Bloom, "Sunny Shoreham", Pilot, February 2012, p71
  7. ^  
  8. ^ "Nas, Mark Ronson, Earl Sweatshirt added to Disclosure and Rudimental's Wild Life festival". NME.COM. 
  9. ^ "'"Shoreham air crash death toll 'rises to 11. BBC News Online. Retrieved 23 August 2015. 
  10. ^ SPAOU
  11. ^ SARFFS website
  12. ^ Airport fuelling team webpage
  13. ^ Agatha Christie's Poirot" Lord Edgware Dies (TV Episode 2000) - IMDb""". IMDb. 11 June 2000. 
  14. ^ "Poirot Locations - Lord Edgware Dies". 
  15. ^ Eirik. "Investigating Agatha Christie's Poirot: Episode-by-episode: Lord Edgware Dies". 
  16. ^ "Secret Da Vinci Code airport set revealed".  
  17. ^ "Angel Without Wings". Fact Not Fiction Films. 31 March 2011. Retrieved 28 October 2011. 

External links

  • Shoreham Airport (official website)
  • Shoreham Airport Visitor Centre (official website)
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