3. Exeter International
Introduction Plymouth, Exeter and major naval ports such as
Plymouth Docks, Portland and Portsmouth. It was also
3.1. Exeter International Airport provides the region with used for flying training by American forces as a launch
a network of routes to a wide range of domestic and point for their airborne troops operating as part of the
European cities and regions and is a major hub in the D Day landings.
Royal Mail distribution system.
3.8. To facilitate large military aircraft operations from Exeter
3.2. The Airport is located approximately 6km to the the MOD constructed three hard surface runways in
East of Exeter City Centre within East Devon District 1940. These consisted of a NE/SW runway of 914m. A
Council (EDDC). Its neighbours include the residential NW/SE runway of 1033m and an E/W runway of 960m.
communities of Aylesbeare, Broadclyst, Clyst Honition, Whilst all three runways still exist today, only one now
Clyst St Mary, Marsh Green, Ottery St Mary, Rockbeare, remains in operational use, the E/W runway, 08/26 and
West Hill and Whimple. this has been extended over subsequent years to its
current length of 2083m.
3.3. Exeter International Airport lies within the Exeter
and East Devon New Growth Point Area and future
development adjacent to the Airport includes;
• Skypark – 40 hectares of office development;
• Science Park – 43 hectares of science, research
and learning development;
• Inter Modal Freight Exchange – A development
of transit and warehouse facilities providing
connections between road and rail; and
• Cranbrook New Community – a new town
3.4. Exeter International Airport is located close to Junction
29 of the M5 and adjacent to the A30 dual carriageway. 3.9. The MOD decommissioned RAF Exeter in July 1946 and
These roads provide excellent connectivity to the region control of the Airport was then passed to the Ministry
enabling easy access to the Airport. Bus services have of Civil Aviation on 1st January 1947. Exeter Airport
developed over the last few years providing connections Limited was formed as a Management Company and
to Exeter St Davids Railway Station, Exeter City Centre, the aerodrome continued as a regional base for flying
Sidmouth and other neighbouring communities. training of RAF reservists. Several companies also used
the site for the construction, repair and maintenance
of light aircraft. In 1954 a Civilian Anti-Aircraft Co-
The History of Exeter International Airport
Operation Unit was formed and managed by Exeter
3.5. In January 1932 the Exeter Corporation was one of Airport Limited to provide target-towing facilities for
the first Municipal authorities to develop an airport. gun emplacements in the West of England.
The Airport was officially licensed for public use on
9 September 1937 and formally opened by the Air 3.10. Commercial Airline Operations were restarted in 1952
Minister, Sir Kingsley Wood on 20 July 1938. Airline by Jersey Airlines, flying primarily to the Channel
services had already been inaugurated in June 1937, Islands.
when Jersey Airways introduced summer services from
the Channel Islands. 3.11. In 1958 the MOD (Air) acquired the Airport from its
former owner Exeter City Council and it remained
3.6. The Airport was requisitioned by the MOD for military in their ownership until 1972 when it was sold to a
use on 1st June 1940 and re-named RAF Exeter. consortium of Devon County Council (DCC), Exeter City
Council (ECC) and Torbay Council (TC). DCC acquired
3.7. During the wartime it was used by the RAF for sole ownership in 1974.
many functions including air defence, particularly of
3.12. Exeter International Airport celebrated its 60th 3.15. The growth of Flybe routes and services reflects the
Diamond Anniversary during July 1998 and nearly UK and European trend of increased demand for air
a year later Her Royal Highness the Princess Royal travel for social and business purposes, the increased
officially opened Exeter International’s new arrivals capacity and demand in the low-cost airline sector and
building. The new arrivals facility included separate the gradual trend for increased direct services from the
domestic and international arrival areas as well as regions rather than via the London airport system.
improved waiting facilities for meeting and greeting
passengers. A new departure lounge was opened in
June 2003 and an extension added to the check-in hall Exeter International in 2009
in 2005. 3.16. In 2007 the Airport was used by more than one million
passengers and supported the operation of a number
3.13. In 2004 Devon County Council’s (DCC) Executive of airlines and tour operators who between them fly
Committee committed to sell Exeter & Devon Airport to 52 destinations in 23 countries. Flybe currently
Limited in order to secure future long-term development operate a fleet of Bombardier Q400 and Embraer 195
and management of the Airport. After an extended aircraft based at Exeter serving 27 destinations from
sale process the Airport was sold in January 2007 to Spring 2009, including:
Regional and City Airports Exeter Ltd (RCAE) in a deal
described by Councillor Brian Greenslade, who was Aberdeen Dubrovnik Malaga
Leader of Devon County Council as "good news for Alicante Edinburgh Manchester
the Airport’s future and the county economy." Amsterdam Faro Newcastle
Avignon Geneva Nice
3.14. By 2002, Exeter International Airport's annual Belfast City Glasgow Norwich
passenger total had stagnated at just over 300,000. Bergerac Guernsey Palma
Passengers travelled on a number of summer sun Brest Inverness Paris
charter routes and a small number of scheduled routes Chambery Jersey Rennes
operated by Jersey European/British European and Dublin Leeds Bradford Salzburg
SkyBus. Flybe’s (formally Jersey European/British
European) introduction of new services and routes from Table 3.1 – List of Flybe destinations from Exeter International
the Airport has acted as a catalyst for rapid growth in Airport, 2009
passenger numbers. Additionally, Exeter International
Airport is one of a few airports in the UK where charter 3.17. Weekly services operated by Air Transat serve Toronto
traffic has increased over the last few years, reflecting in Canada during the summer months. SkyBus operate
the regional market demand for package holidays. In year round services to St. Mary’s on the Isles of Scilly.
autumn 2007, First Choice Airways established their
South West Regional base at Exeter with a dedicated 3.18. There are numerous seat only charter and fully inclusive
A320 based aircraft. package holidays on offer from Exeter International
throughout the year. The majority of these flights are
provided through major tour operators such as First
Choice, TUI, Thomas Cook, Bath Travel and Balkan
Holidays. The main charter airlines operating holiday
flights are Thomas Cook, TUI, Palmair and Air Malta.
The primary destinations are:
Bodrum Gran Canaria Palma
Corfu Ibiza Paphos
Dalaman Lanzarote Rhodes
Faro Larnaca Tenerife
Funchal Mahon Tunisia
Table 3.2 – List of charter destinations from Exeter
International Airport, 2009
16 Exeter International Airport - Master Plan October 2009
3.19. In addition, a number of specialist charters operate to the Airport to continue to make use of the aprons
destinations including: and parking areas and for the aviation business and
GA operators to remain in their existing locations until
Bridgetown (Barbados)* Enontekio Mauritius* the north side of the Airport is developed and new
Palma Pula (Croatia) Rovaniemi sites made available. Exeter International Airport will
Sicily Verona gradually withdraw from Skypark area from 2010 ahead
* non direct flights
Table 3.3 – List of Specialist Charters in 2008
Runway, Taxiways and Aprons
3.20. Exeter International Airport currently handles little 3.24. The airfield is the largest proportion of land take within
cargo. However, the Royal Mail has a significant the Airport boundary and consists principally of the
operation based at Exeter processing and handling runway, taxiways and aircraft stands plus important
first class mail for the South West. The volume of mail ancillary facilities including the fire station, fire training
handled has steadily grown reflecting Royal Mail’s ground and fuel farm.
policy to distribute first class mail by air rather than by
road or rail. 3.25. The runway bearing 08/26 runs approximately east
west and is 2083m in length. A taxiway system to the
south of the runway provides for the distribution of
aircraft from aircraft parking stands to the runway and a
turning circle at the eastern end of the runway enables
departing or arriving aircraft to turn.
3.26. Runway 08/26 is designed as Category 1 in accordance
with CAP 1681 and is of adequate length and width
for all current destinations and aircraft types operating
from the Airport. Simulations have shown that the
single runway airfield is able to cope with forecast
traffic to 2030, however, additional taxiway access will
be required to increase the runway movement rate.
3.27. In common with many UK airports Exeter International
Airport has a dispensation from the CAA for its
Existing Airport Facilities Runway End Safety Area (RESA) following a change in
3.21. The operational area of Exeter International Airport regulations in 1999. The RESA at the western end of the
is 137 hectares. The Airport has developed on both runway is shorter than current licensing requirements and
sides of the main runway with the southerly area the Airport will continue to manage this dispensation
being the location for passenger facilities and Flybe’s through risk assessment and management and careful
Maintenance Base. The northern area is used for control over developments to the west of the Airport.
aircraft parking, aircraft maintenance facilities and
some General Aviation (GA) activity. 3.28. Disused runway 13/31 is used as part of the taxiway
system to the south of the runway and as a combined
3.22. The area to the north west of the Airport, shaded in taxiway and aircraft parking area to the north of the
light green on diagram 3.4, was retained by DCC after runway. Disused runway 02/20 has no operational use
the Airport sale process in 2007. This 40 hectares area and will be largely removed by the development of
will be developed as Skypark by DCC and St Modwen, Skypark.
their joint venture development partner, as high quality
A1/B offices and Business Park.
Sets out the standards required at UK licensed aerodromes relating to physical
3.23. As part of the sale process, Exeter International Airport characteristics, assessment and treatment of obstacles, visual aids, rescue and
was granted a short-term lease over Skypark to enable fire fighting services and medical services.
3.29. There are eight aircraft stands for commercial operations 3.31. Currently up to eight aircraft may occupy the apron at
to the south of the runway adjacent to the terminal. the same time. The limited type of aircraft that a stand
In addition, use is made of the disused runway 13/31 can accommodate, together with overall apron space,
and a number of areas of hardstanding for Executive restricts operations and emphasises the need to extend
Aviation parking. GA aircraft park at a number of the apron to meet the demands of traffic growth.
designated sites to the north and south of the runway
and extensive use is made of paved areas to the north 3.32. A new stand was constructed in 2007 to the north of
of the runway for parking aircraft awaiting maintenance the runway for use as an engine test facility to enable
in the Flybe maintenance hangars. engine testing of aircraft principally to support the
Flybe maintenance operations. A compass swing bay
3.30. The terminal apron has eight aircraft stands able is provided at the northern end of 13/31.
to accommodate a range of aircraft sizes. The Civil
Aviation Authority (CAA) publishes standards for 3.33. Aircraft that are either being stored for parts, waiting
parking based on aircraft design codes derived from to enter the maintenance facility, or passenger aircraft
a variety of criteria unique to every aircraft series. The that are not in operation and cannot fit on the main
apron currently comprises eight code C stands, but apron, are parked on the north side of the airfield.
may alternatively be configured to support two code D
and 4 code C operations.
18 Exeter International Airport - Master Plan October 2009
Diagram 3.4 – Exeter International Airport Today 2009
FUTURE ZONE FOR SKYPARK AIRCRAFT PARKING STANDS AND AIRCRAFT ENGINEERING BASE
NORTHERN ZONE TENANTS AND ROAD ACCESS AND TERMINAL
AIRCRAFT PARKING FORECOURT PASSENGER TERMINAL BUILDING
RUNWAY AND TAXIWAY CAR PARKING SOUTHSIDE ZONE TENANTS
SOUTH SIDE DEVELOPMENT ZONE
Passenger Facilities 3.37. The existing terminal has a number of constraints of
both area and rate of processing through check-in,
3.34. Passenger facilities are located on the south side of security and aircraft boarding. The busy hour rate is
the airfield accessed from the A30 via the B3184. The approximately 600 passengers per hour, and the annual
terminal was originally constructed in 1937 and has capacity of the existing terminal is in the range of 1.2m
been progressively expanded over the past 70 years. to 1.4m passengers depending on the schedule. The
The terminal is sited nearly parallel to the runway for current terminal is often ‘working’ beyond its peak
reasons of operational efficiency and ease of access to capacity with service standards and the customer
the airfield facilities. experience falling below the design standard.
3.38. Bus stops for service buses and the shuttle bus to the
remote car parks together with a taxi stand are located
in front of the terminal. In common with other UK
airports and following the terrorist incident at Glasgow
Airport in July 2007, Exeter International Airport
closed the terminal forecourt requiring passengers to
set down and pick up in the short-term car park.
3.39. Car hire facilities have recently been improved and are
located in a building adjacent to arrivals.
3.40. Approximately 2,400 car parking spaces are provided
in four car parks to the southside of the Airport. Staff
working at the Airport use the parking facilities in car
parks 3 and 4. In addition, Flybe engineering has a
dedicated car park adjacent to the maintenance bases
with approximately 400 spaces.
3.35. The check-in hall contains ten check-in desks linked
to a hold baggage screening and handling system as
well as ticket desks and a range of passenger facilities.
Following check-in, passengers pass through security
to a departure lounge consisting of:
• Airside restaurant;
• First floor bar and airside balcony;
• First floor business lounge;
• Lounge and airside retailing; and
• Departure gates.
3.36. The departure gate room is located at the southern
Administration and Support Facilities
end of the terminal building. Two gates enable 3.41. Administration and airline office accommodation is
simultaneous boarding of aircraft and a third smaller located in both the terminal building and a range of
gate is located in this area but does not provide access WW2 buildings.
directly to the apron area. Passengers can walk to
stands one to five and all other stands are accessed by 3.42. Flybe has a substantial existing training facility located
bus. Two routes are provided for arriving passengers to in prefabricated temporary buildings to the east of car
segregate domestic and international arrivals. park one. This provides both crew and engineering
20 Exeter International Airport - Master Plan October 2009
Air Traffic Control 3.45. Cargo is currently stored and handled through an
3.43. The Air Traffic Visual Control Room is situated on
top of the north east corner of the terminal. This
complies with CAA regulations that require Air Traffic
Business and General Aviation
Controllers to have clear and unobstructed views of the 3.46. Exeter International Airport is an increasingly popular
aircraft movement area and all parking areas. A range destination for business, corporate and executive
of navigational aids are controlled from the tower aviation using the Airport for both business and leisure
including airfield ground lighting, radar and instrument trips.
3.47. Exeter International Airport has recently invested in
Cargo and Mail Handling a new facility to provide office, lounge and briefing
facilities for crew and their passengers, adjacent to the
3.44. The mail screening and handling facility is located on terminal building.
the south side of the airfield adjacent to crash gate one
on the main apron. This facility has been extended, 3.48. In addition, Capital Aviation operates an Air Taxi, Air
improved and resurfaced during summer 2007 and a Ambulance and Fixed Base Operation (FBO) from
covered sortation area has been constructed in 2009. facilities to the north of the runway.
Royal Mail currently operates two B737 aircraft 5 nights
per week for the mail network from Exeter.
3.49. Exeter International Airport is the base for more than 60 aircraft or three Dash 8 aircraft depending on the daily
General Aviation aircraft owned by flying schools, clubs, requirement. Hangars 3 and 21 provide three further
syndicates and individuals. The main organisations, bays creating a total of nine engineering bays. In
based north and south of the runway, are: addition there are numerous workshops and facilities to
support the Flybe maintenance operation, all located
• Iscavia; to the south of the runway.
• Airways Flight Training;
• Aviation South West; 3.53. The apron in front of the Walker Hangar and immediately
• Capital Aviation; to the west of the Walker Hangar is used for parking
• Direct Flight; aircraft.
• Exeter Flying Club; and
• Hunter Flying Club. 3.54. Approximately 30% of the maintenance contracts
undertaken at Exeter International Airport relate
3.50. The Hunter Flying Club operate out of two hangars to Flybe aircraft. The remaining 70% are for other
to the north of the airfield operating privately owned airlines.
Hunter jet aircraft.
General Aircraft Maintenance
Military and Government Flights
3.55. A number of SMEs, including Iscavia, provide
3.51. Exeter International Airport caters for a variety of maintenance facilities for General Aviation aircraft and
flights organised by the Military, Police, Coastguard operate from hangars on the north side of the airfield.
and the Fisheries Protection Agency.
Flybe Aircraft Maintenance Fire station and training ground
3.52. Exeter International Airport is the home for Flybe's Aircraft
Maintenance Operation. Flybe has developed Europe’s 3.56. The fire station is centrally located on the south side
largest regional aircraft maintenance base at Exeter of the airfield immediately to the east apron access of
International Airport to the south east of the airfield the control post. The station has three bays for rescue
where they carry out round the clock maintenance on and fire fighting service (RFFS) vehicles in addition to
a range of aircraft types. The facility consists of two space for offices, training, equipment support and staff
joined, three bay hangars known as the Walker Hangar. accommodation.
Each hangar typically accommodates either two E195
3.57. The Airport fire training ground is located to the
north of the runway in the old military dispersal area.
Additionally the Airport leases land to Devon and
Somerset Fire Services for fire training on the north side
of the airfield that consists of smoke and heat chambers
and other training systems.
3.58. The fuel farm is located on the south side of the airfield
in front of Hangar 21.
22 Exeter International Airport - Master Plan October 2009