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Isle of Man Airport
Purt Aer Vannin
File:Iom airport logo.svg
Isle of Man Airport.jpg
Airport type Public
Operator Department of Infrastructure
Serves Isle of Man
Location Ronaldsway, Malew, Isle of Man
Elevation AMSL 52 ft / 16 m
Coordinates 54°05′00″N 004°37′24″W / 54.0833333°N 4.62333°W / 54.0833333; -4.62333Coordinates: 54°05′00″N 004°37′24″W / 54.0833333°N 4.62333°W / 54.0833333; -4.62333
Isle of Man location map
Airplane silhouette.svg
Location on the Isle of Man
Direction Length Surface
m ft
08/26 1,837 6,027 Asphalt/Concrete
03/21 1,255 4,117 Asphalt
Statistics (2011)
Passengers 701,847
Passenger change 10-11 Increase3.8%
Aircraft Movements 34,224
Movements change 10-11 Decrease6.6%
Sources: UK AIP at NATS[1]
Statistics from the UK Civil Aviation Authority[2]

Isle of Man Airport (IATA: IOM, ICAO: EGNS), also known as Ronaldsway Airport and, in Manx, Purt Aer Vannin, is the main civilian airport on the Isle of Man. It is located in the south of the island at Ronaldsway near Castletown, 6 NM (11 km; 6.9 mi) southwest of Douglas,[1] the island's capital. Along with the Isle of Man Sea Terminal, it is one of the two main gateways to the island. The airport has scheduled services to the United Kingdom, Ireland and the Channel Islands.


Ronaldsway was first used as an airfield in 1928[3] with passenger services to the UK starting in 1933, operated by Blackpool and West Coast Air Services (later West Coast Air Services). Further services were established by Aer Lingus and Railway Air Services (RAS) from 1934. From 1937 RAS operations from Ronaldsway to the mainland UK were transferred to Isle of Man Air Services. In a 1936 expansion of the Ronaldsway Airport, workers discovered a mass grave believed to hold the remains of soldiers who died during the Battle of Ronaldsway in 1275.

Ronaldsway Airport AOA IOM - Isle of Man - kingsley - 30-APR-09

A baggage loading and transport vehicle drives on the ramp at Ronaldsway Airport.

Second World WarEdit

RAF RonaldswayEdit

The airfield came under Royal Air Force control at the outbreak of the Second World War. Known as RAF Ronaldsway, it was one of the few airfields that continued operating civilian flights throughout the wartime period.

The airfield was used by № 1 GDGS (Ground Defence and Gunnery School) operating Westland Wallace aircraft, the drogues from these aircraft being fired on from gun emplacements on St Michael's Isle (Fort Island) and Santon Head. An expansion of the airport during the War led to the discovery of the archaeological remains of a Neolithic settlement belonging to what is now called the Ronaldsway culture, in honour of this site.

RAF operations continued until 1943 when the airfield was handed over to the Admiralty for further development as a Fleet Air Arm training station.

HMS UrleyEdit

Now a naval air station, RNAS Ronaldsway, the airport was taken out of commission in 1943 for almost twelve months of extensive development. By the summer of 1944 the airfield had evolved from a grass landing area with a few hangars to a four runway airfield with the infrastructure to house and operate three training squadrons using Barracuda torpedo bombers.

Commissioned as HMS Urley (Manx for Eagle) by the Admiralty on 21 June 1944, with accounts handled by HMS Valkyrie, flying recommenced on 15 July 1944.[4] The airfield's main role was that of a torpedo working-up station. No. 1 OTU consisted of 710, 713 and 747 Squadrons (Fleet Air Arm) and these operated until the cessation of hostilities in 1945. The base was paid off on 14 January 1946, and transferred to 'Care and Maintenance' under HMS Blackcap.[4] The nominal depot ship from 21 June 1944 was a 32' cutter named XXII, which itself was constructed in 1937.[4]


Manx Airlines Vickers Viscount at IoM Ronaldsway

Manx Airlines Vickers Viscount taxiing past the airport control tower in 1988

The airport reverted to solely civilian flying almost immediately after the war, but the airfield remained in Admiralty possession until sold to the Isle of Man Government for £200,000 in 1948, far short of the £1 million that the UK Government had spent on constructing the airport buildings and runways, plus the £105,000 that was paid by the Admiralty in 1943 to purchase the site.

Several Manx-based airlines were formed in the early postwar years to operate scheduled and charter services to the UK mainland. These included Mannin Airways Ltd and North-West Airlines (Isle of Man) Ltd. Both had ceased operations by mid 1951.[citation needed] When Manx Airlines existed, its head office was on the airport property.[5]

Citywing (the former Manx2) has its head office in Hangar 9 at the airport.[6]

The Manx Military and Aviation Museum is situated next to the airport and has exhibits and information about the history of aviation on the island.


Ronaldsway Airport IOM - Isle of Man - kingsley - 19-APR-09

Front facade of the modern passenger terminal

The Legs of Man - Isle of Man Triskelion - kingsley - 19-APR-09

Sculpture by Bryan Kneale called "The Legs of Man" at the terminal entrance.

A project by Ellis Brown Architects began in November 1998 to extend the airport and improve the facilities available to passengers. In March 2000 the new extension was opened, providing a new landside catering outlet, arrivals area, baggage hall and departure lounge. The existing part of the airport was refurbished during this time to provide improved check-in facilities and offices, linked to the extension with a new airport entrance. During the extension and renovation period the iconic Three Legs of Man sculpture adorning the airport's façade was also refurbished.

In March 2006 funding for a further extension was granted by Tynwald to increase the number of departure gates, with work due for completion in summer 2007.

In April 2008 Tynwald granted a major runway extension and resurfacing project at the airport. The runway will be extended by 245 m (804 ft) out into the Irish Sea by the construction of a rock-armoured promontory. It is part of a £44m plan which will also include resurfacing of the runway during summer 2008 and the extension programme that will commence in spring 2008 and is due to be completed by December 2009. It has emerged[7] that the actual runway take-off length was underestimated by 160 metres in the £1.5 million feasibility study. Whilst the study originally looked into the aviation marketing implication of runway length, airport management have now denied that the extension is for the use of heavier aircraft in the future, stating that the resurfacing and extension are to comply with the latest international safety standards.[8] There has been a significant overspend on the project due to poor forex management of the Euro denominated components of the costs. It is thought that the Manx treasury minister may have been referring to the expense of the runway and the additional £6,515,000 control tower project[9] when he stated in his 2009 Budget speech that the Isle of Man could no longer afford "Rolls Royce" projects.

Airlines and destinationsEdit


Airlines Destinations
Aer Lingus Regional
operated by Aer Arann
British Airways
operated by BA CityFlyer
Citywing Belfast-City, Blackpool, Gloucester, Jersey, Newcastle upon Tyne
EasyJet Liverpool, London-Gatwick
Flybe Birmingham, Liverpool, London-Gatwick (ends 29 March 2014), Manchester
Seasonal: Bristol, Geneva, London-Luton, Southampton
Seasonal charter: Ibiza, Menorca, Palma de Mallorca


Airlines Destinations
Isle of Man Post Office
operated by Atlantic Airlines/West Atlantic
East Midlands


Busiest Routes to and from Isle Of Man Airport (2011)
Rank Airport Passengers handled  % Change
2010 / 11
1 United Kingdom Liverpool 166,669 Increase 23.9
2 United Kingdom London-Gatwick 127,097 Increase 4.0
3 United Kingdom Manchester123,862 Decrease 1.6
4 United Kingdom London-City46,010 Decrease 11.9
5 United Kingdom Birmingham45,678 Increase 2.6
6 Republic of Ireland Dublin31,894 Decrease 2.2
7 United Kingdom London-Luton23,927 Decrease 11.6
8 United Kingdom Blackpool22,137 Decrease 7.0
9 United Kingdom Belfast-City18,745 Increase 164.7
10 United Kingdom Southampton 14,435 Increase 92.3
11 United Kingdom Gloucestershire14,224 Increase 3.7
12 United Kingdom Edinburgh 11,607 Increase 1.6
13 United Kingdom Glasgow International 11,037 Increase 0.5
14 United Kingdom Bristol 8,160 Decrease 6.2
15 Jersey Jersey 3,946 Decrease 11.0
16 United Kingdom Leeds/Bradford 3,386 Decrease 48.5
17 United Kingdom Newcastle 2,818 Decrease 52.4
18 Switzerland Geneva 1,777 Decrease 2.6
19 Spain Palma de Mallorca 1,457 Increase 74.5
20 Guernsey Guernsey 1,097 Decrease 69.5
Source: UK Civil Aviation Authority [1]

In 2011, 701,847 passengers travelled through the airport, a 3.8% increase compared with 2010.

Accidents and incidentsEdit

  • On 26 January 1935, Hillman's Airways de Havilland Dragon Rapide G-ACPO, operating a mail flight from Aldergrove Airport, Belfast to Stapleford Aerodrome, Abridge, Essex via Speke Airport, Liverpool, Lancashire crashed at Derbyhaven, Isle of Man, whilst attempting to divert to Ronaldsway during bad weather.[10]
  • On 23 March 1936, United Airways Spartan Cruiser G-ADEL crashed at Ronaldsway. The aircraft was operating a mail flight from Hall Caine Airport, Ramsey. The aircraft was dismantled and departed the island on board SS Conister of the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company. It was repaired by its manufacturers and returned to service.[11]
  • On 9 May 1938, de Havilland Express G-AENR of Isle of Man Air Services crashed on landing at Ronaldsway Airport. The aircraft was operating a mail flight from Speke Airport, Liverpool, Lancashire. Despite substantial damage to the port lower wing and both port engines, the aircraft was repaired and returned to service.[12]
  • On 14 September 1938, de Havilland Express G-ADVK of Isle of Man Air Services lost the starboard inner propeller in flight whilst operating a flight from Speke to Ronaldsway. The propeller embedded itself in the fuselage of the aircraft. A successful landing was made at Ronaldsway.[13]

Ground transportEdit

Bus services are provided by Bus Vannin, formerly Isle of Man Transport. Bus Vannin routes 1, 2, 11 and 12 serve Douglas, Castletown, Colby, Port Erin and Port St Mary. Buses are every 20 minutes Monday - Saturday during the day and every 30 minutes during evenings and Sunday. Routes 8 and 8A also connect the Airport with Peel - St John's - Foxdale and Castletown.[14]

The Isle of Man Railway also stops at the nearby Ronaldsway request stop, making possible a unique opportunity in the British Isles to travel to an airport behind a steam locomotive.


  • Poole, Stephen (1999). Rough Landing or Fatal Flight. Douglas: Amulree Publications. ISBN 1-901508-03-X. 

External linksEdit

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