Home Airport News Filton Airport closes today

Filton Airport closes today

by Matt Falcus

Filton A380Sad news to report now, as Filton Airport, one of the most important pieces of British aviation history, is closing today after 102 years.

More recently known as Bristol Filton Airport, it was originally opened as a flying ground in 1910 when Sir George White set up the British and Colonial Aeroplane Company.

From then on, a proud heritage of aircraft manufacturing on the site emerged. Filton saw the production of thousands of Bristol Fighters during World War I, and during World War II types such as the Bristol Blenheim, Beaufort, Beaufighter and Brigand were produced there. Many US wartime aircraft were shipped to Bristol and assembled at Filton, too.

Filton SpitfireSince the war, Filton continued to be a major manufacturing site for civil aircraft, such as the Bristol Britannia and Bristol Freighter, and aircraft engines, such as the RB211. The site was home to the British Aircraft Corporation (BAC), who produced Concorde components at the site, and later amalgamated into British Aerospace who produced some BAe 146s there, and later many components for Airbus aircraft.

When Concorde retired in 2003, British Airways’ example G-BOAF performed the last ever landing of the type when it arrived at Filton from London Heathrow. Today it is a tourist exhibit at the airport, and it’s hoped more heritage aircraft will be brought in to join it.

But sadly the airport, with its huge runway, is to be redeveloped. Airbus A380 F-WWDD flew in on 18 December along with a Supermarine Spitfire, to mark the event.

Photos on this page courtesy of Graham Wasey. See his Filton photos here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/egbj/sets/72157632293780694/

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