It’s the divisional name that never goes away, but it wasn’t always so for North Lincolnshire Airport – if only briefly.
It is now over a quarter of a century since the controversial county of Humberside was abolished after 22 years. Although it has been around longer than it used to be, the legacy of authority that merged the North and South Banks lives on in the name of the police, fire brigade, BBC radio station and the local airport.
When a light aircraft landed at the former RAF base at Kirmington, on March 26, 1974, it made aviation history in the region as the first to land at the region’s new civilian airport – only then was it called Kirmington Airport. Less than a week later Lindsey County Council was abolished and replaced by the Humberside Authority. It wasn’t long before the airport was renamed to reflect the historic change.
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In this month of June, the first differences of political opinion began to appear on the new installation. Humberside County Council’s planning committee failed to accept a bid to have the title of the airport changed. Councilor Violet Lockwood, of Wootton, said Kirmington Parish Council wanted the name of the village included in the title as it gave an indication of which bank the airport was on.
However, Councilor Alex Clarke, of Hull, the chairman of the committee said the move was made too late in the day. He explained that the Civil Aviation Authority rejected the county’s suggested name of “Humberside (Kirmington)” and that it should simply be known as “Humberside”.
Despite the eventual name change, credit for the project, costing over £270,000, went to Lindsey County Council’s Planning Committee. The idea really started to take off in 1969 when Lindsey brought in 237 acres of land for £85,374.
A further £187,000 was then invested in development work including resurfacing runways, installing airfield lighting, building a terminal building and building a taxiway to serve businesses wishing to settle in Kirmington. In 1974 Kirmington was the South Bank base of Hull Humber Airways Ltd, which had four aircraft – Islanders and Piper Aztecs – for charter work, the former being only nine seats.
Lease Air, a charter and air taxi company with a flight school at the airport, also operated out of Kirmington at the time. During its first year of operation, nearly 17,000 aircraft landings and takeoffs were recorded at the airport. Of these movements, 9,415 were for training purposes, 7,452 were made by commercial and private aircraft, while the number of passengers carried was 6,601.
The first commercial scheduled flight was to Amsterdam in 1975 when a new passenger terminal opened, a destination scheduled services are still offered to and from. At the time the route was operated by Air Anglia.
After about a decade, 100,000 passengers a year were recorded as using the airport, and in 1992 the main runway was extended to its current length of 7,205 feet (2,196 m) to allow larger aircraft to function.