LJLA have reason to celebrate with 50th anniversary of runway
10 May 2016 • Author: Mandy Parrett, Editorial Assistant
Liverpool John Lennon Airport (LJLA) celebrated a milestone last weekend with the 50th anniversary of the opening of the airport’s runway.
Whilst the airport itself opened in July 1933, the runway that’s in use today was officially opened on 7th May 1966.
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Over the past 50 years the runway has handled more than 3.5 million landings and take-offs and hosted a diverse mix of aircraft. Aside from the popular commercial passenger aircraft used by the growing number of airlines operating from Liverpool, the runway has accommodated one of the world’s largest aircraft – the Russian Antonov 124; the world’s fastest commercial airliner – Concorde; and perhaps the world’s best loved display team – The Red Arrows.
LJLA runway origins
Prior to the opening of the new runway, aircraft used to operate from runways adjacent to the old terminal building – now the Crowne Plaza Hotel – on land that is now the Liverpool International Business Park. Work commenced in November 1964 to construct a 7,500 ft state of the art runway on land to the south of the then-existing airport, at a cost of approximately £3 million taking 18 months to complete.
The Duke of Edinburgh visited the airport to perform the official opening 50 years ago by cutting ribbon on the runway.
The runway has since undergone a £22 million major upgrading and refurbishment in 2007 to ensure that it can continue to handle all manner and size of aircraft for years to come.
Today’s runway is operational 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with an average of around 170 take-offs or landings each day, closing only on Christmas Day when no flights are scheduled to operate. Its location and direction also brings operational benefits, being less susceptible to poor weather conditions that can impact on aircraft movements.