Just as an exciting venture will end at the Airport, a new one will start. Just days after the final day of Wild Life Festival, restoration work on the airport’s Municipal Hangar will commence


The Municipal Hangar is a Grade II listed building and interestingly the restoration work will commence almost exactly 102 years after the Terminal building was officially opened in June 1936. The airport’s terminal building and hangar represent a significant survival from early and significant days of civil aviation. It is incredible that the Hangar still stands strong and can be protected as a reminder of where aviation began.

It is amazing that despite some rebuilding and modification after bomb damage in World War II, the essential structure and form of the mid-1930s hangar is original; cladding on the hangar was blown off but left the framework intact. Two blister hangars were erected inside the frame, and the hangar continued in service. Despite a short break in ownership between 1950 and 1971, the hangar has been used as a municipal hangar and long may it remain so.

The Airport in 1952

As published online by Historic England, the Municipal Hangar “bears witness to the phenomenal growth of civil aviation in this period, a pioneering and audacious episode of considerable historic interest that is otherwise recognised in very few designated sites.”

Due to the historic nature of the building the construction will be sympathetic to its origins and observe listed building regulation.

The airport is the oldest continuous licensed airport in the UK and the site on which it sits has become somewhat of an epicentre for business in the area. The Hangar was built in 1935 just before the Main Terminal was opened. Interestingly, the potential for the site was first identified by it the Mayors of Brighton, Hove and Worthing and the owner of an aviation finance. They shared a vision of creating an airport that could be available for expert and student aviators of all nations. To which it remains true to today.

The Terminal Building in the fifties

Home to flying clubs, enthusiasts, helicopter, leisure and commercial pilot schools, the airport continues to operate for the interests of the aviation industry and the Hangar is a significant asset to the airport. Securing its use for years to come will ensure that the airport’s original hangar space has also been restored. Hangar space is essential to this busy airport which is the 10th busiest in the UK with over 50,000 movements per year.

The restoration will be carried out over 6 months, with each apex roof being stripped and replaced in stages. In addition to the roof, and front fascia (facing north).

The facilities offered by the airport, together with its perfect location on the Sussex Coast ensure that it serves as a gateway for business, student and general aviation customers. It is a sad fact that the future of general aviation is threatened by the closure of airports across the UK. The market is shrinking and so airports are continually put under pressure to diversify and make the most of their land and assets, whilst protecting its predominant use as an airport. Striking the correct balance is complicated and not without its challenges but Managing Director Jonathan Candelon feels the company have got it right: “We are all very proud and feel privileged to be part of the history of this amazing airport and its continuing success. This has been made possible thanks to the support of many, including the airport users, our neighbours, the local councils and our many partners.”

The airport plays host to alternative events and opportunities such as big budget TV dramas and music festivals, and operates 7 days and week with full fire cover and air traffic control. Be to make the most of our live runway camera – the first of its kind in the UK the camera enables you to watch aircraft take off and land from Runway 02 from anywhere, on your laptop or phone. Click here to access the runway cam