ⓘ Islay Airport

Islay Airport

ⓘ Islay Airport

Islay Airport is located 4.5 nautical miles north northwest of Port Ellen on the island of Islay in Argyll and Bute, off the west coast of Scotland. It is a small rural airport owned and maintained by Highlands and Islands Airports Limited. Today the airport is used for scheduled services to the Scottish mainland, and for air ambulances.


1. History

The first airports were built in Islay in the 1930s, although these were just grass strips. In 1940, during World War II, the Prime Minister, Winston Churchill ordered military airports to be constructed in the western islands of Scotland, both to defend against a German assault on the Scottish mainland and also to provide reconnaissance planes a base to fly missions over the Atlantic Ocean. The present Islay airport was constructed as RAF Port Ellen in 1940, and received a concrete runway in 1942. During World War II, over 1.500 Royal Air Force RAF personnel were stationed at RAF Port Ellen.

On 29 June 1994, the Prince of Wales made headlines when he overshot the runway while landing a BAe 146 of No. 32 The Royal Squadron of the RAF on the runway of the airport. No one was injured, however the plane was badly damaged.