The tiny UK airport closer to France than London was once busiest in England – and plans to launch holiday flights | The Sun

BRITS may not be aware of the tiny UK airport that is actually closer to France than London.

And it could one day offer flights to Europe.

Lydd Airport, also known as London Ashford Airport, was once the busiest airport in the country.

It first opened in 1954 with daily flights to Le Touquet, Cherbourg and Calais in France and Ostend in Belgium.

As many as 223,000 passengers flew from the airport, more than London Gatwick at the time.

However, passenger numbers dwindled due to ferries offering easy travel from Dover and Folkestone.

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Scheduled flights were scrapped back in 2018, with chartered flights operating instead as well as beingwith it also being used as a training school.

It is also used as a filming location – it featured in the 1960s James Bond film Goldfinger – as well as TV shows such as Top Gear and Silent Witness.

The airport has been campaigning to introduce a new terminal and runway to allow more passenger flights abroad.

While the runway can operate aircraft such as Boeing 737 and Airbus 319, capacity is restricted to short flights.

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The airport states: "We want to offer local people the chance to go on holiday or business from their local airport without the hassle and expense of flying from the London Airports which are becoming increasingly congested along with the roads that serve them."

This could appeal to low-cost airlines wanting a base close to Europe.

However, it may be a while until this happens – a 150m runway extension and new terminal were given the go-ahead in 2013 but is yet to be confirmed when this will take place.

Other UK airports are looking to launch more flights to Europe.

Plymouth Airport could reopen after being closed for more than a decade.

Humberside Airport could take on more flights this summer, despite being one of the smallest airports in the UK.

And Swansea Airport has announced a new flight route to and from Exeter Airport, launching this year – the first scheduled passenger in nearly 20 years.

However it comes just months after Doncaster Sheffield Airport closed for good in October 2022 after airline Wizz Air ceased operations.

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