Unit History: RNAS Eglington
City of Derry Airport (Irish: Aerfort Chathair Dhoire) is an airport in Derry, Northern Ireland. It is located near Lough Foyle and the village of Eglinton, 13 kilometres (8 miles) east northeast of the city centre. Passenger numbers in 2006 were almost 350,000, projected to rise to 500,000 by 2008.
Eglinton Aerodrome has a CAA Ordinary Licence (Number P620) that allows flights for the public transport of passengers or for flying instruction as authorised by the licensee (Derry City Council).
The airport has its origins in World War II. In 1941 RAF Eglinton air base was established as home to No. 133 Squadron RAF which flew Hurricane fighters in defence of the city. In 1942 the base was occupied by No. 41 Squadron RAF. In 1943 the airfield became a Fleet Air Arm base called HMS Gannet and was home to No. 1847 Fleet Air Arm Squadron which provided convoy air cover as part of the Second Battle of the Atlantic.
A major redevelopment programme was undertaken by the Council from 1989 to 1993 with grant aid from the European Regional Development Fund. £10.5 million was spent upgrading all of the facilities at the airport including runways, taxiways, access roads, navigation equipment and runway lighting, as well as a new purpose-built terminal and fire station. The new terminal was officially opened in March 1994. The name of the airport was officially changed form Londonderry Eglinton to the City of Derry Airport. At that time there were still only two scheduled routes carrying about 40,000 passenger each year. 1995 saw the arrival of Jersey European Airways who attempted to operate a short-lived shuttle link between City of Derry and Belfast City Airport.
During 1998 and 1999 safety improvements were undertaken at the airport. As the airport serves much of the Republic of Ireland as well as Northern Ireland, funding came from the Irish government, as well as the British government and Derry City Council. These improvements meant that larger aircraft could use the airport and Falcon Holidays started holiday charter flights in May 1999 and Ryanair followed with scheduled flights in July 1999. This Ryanair service to London (Stansted) grew substantially and British Airways also started a number of routes. In June 2004 Aer Arann commenced services to Birmingham and Manchester.
In May 2006, the EU Commission gave its approval for the British and Irish governments to invest €15 million in the airport.
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