These flights include some of the world’s largest and most reputable airline companies.With the outbreak of World War 2 in 1939, international airline operators were removed from London (Croydon) Airport and relocated to Brighton, Hove and Worthing Municipal Airport. These included companies such as Sabena, DDL, KLM and the predecessor of British Airways – Imperial Airways.
Some of the destinations flown to by these airlines include Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Malmo and Brussels.With the German invasion of France in 1940, the passenger traffic to and from the airport stopped. After a short break, the Royal Air Force eventually took over the airport due to other fighter airfields already being established close by. The municipal airport then became the base for the newly formed 277 Air Sea Rescue Squadron. Equipped with Spitfires, Walrus amphibians, Defiants and Lysanders the squadron was involved in the rescue of nearly 600 airmen from the Channel.
The airport was the target of several air raids during the war. In one attack, the outer skin of the main hangar was blown off, but through it all, the terminal building unbelievably remained undamaged. Other aircraft units also flew from the airfield in support of army operations; such as the Dieppe raid and the D Day landings.In 1946, after WW2 had finished, the airfield was handed back for civil flying purposes and activity began to steadily increase again. During 1951, Fred Miles returned along with his brother George Miles to set up a base on site for aircraft manufacturing and development work.
By the end of the decade all of the British aircraft industry was in crisis and many of the old and famous names merged together to form the British Aircraft Corporation. The Miles brothers who were still based at the airfield decided to team up with the new Beagle Company. Beagle traded at Shoreham until 1970 when they were finally closed down, this was when aircraft manufacturing at the airport finished for good. In 1971 Shoreham became a municipal airport again under the control of the three local councils. Passenger services and general aviation became the main focus of attention again.In 2013 the municipal airport was re-named to its current name of Brighton City Airport. Brighton City Airport is still regarded as one of the airports at the forefront of general aviation within this country.
The Terminal Building is now a Grade II* listed building and is currently used for a number of different activities such as business, training, pleasure fliers and visitors from Europe. Many of the fixtures in the terminal building are original including the Whispering Gallery on the first floor and the main window design above the main entrance.Currently at Brighton City Airport there are a range of things you can do on site. Take a look at our business directory to explore what companies are based here. We also have a fabulous café, appropriately named the Hummingbird Café that is able to cater for your every need. Additionally, we have an onsite museum and offer affordable, all-inclusive tours of the airport – both landside and airside. There is a fully functioning business centre based within the main terminal and the opportunity to rent out meeting and conference rooms.
Interestingly, commercial flying is still very familiar to Brighton City Airport. In addition to being the site of the first commercial flight in the UK, Brighton City Airport is also the primary base of a commercial flying school.FTA Global has been based at the airport since 2006 where they train next generation of pilots for airlines across the globe. FTA’s high-quality, competitively priced programmes have proved so successful that they’ve opened a second base at Teruel Airport, in Spain.One of the largest, privately owned commercial pilot schools in the UK, FTA Global is owned and managed by the same owners as the airport.