In pictures: Edinburgh airport celebrates 100th birthday

BEA air hostess Jill Morgan prepares to welcome passengers to a flight departing from Turnhouse in June 1955. Picture: TSPL

BEA air hostess Jill Morgan prepares to welcome passengers to a flight departing from Turnhouse in June 1955. Picture: TSPL

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IT HAS welcomed millions of visitors, from celebrities to prime ministers, to Scotland’s capital, and played an important role in two world wars.

Edinburgh airport is today beginning a programme of events to mark its 100th birthday, having started life as a Royal Flying Corps aerodrome on March 2, 1916.

Actress Marlene Dietrich and composer Burt Bacharach arrive at Turnhouse for the Edinburgh Festival in 1965. Picture: TSPL

Actress Marlene Dietrich and composer Burt Bacharach arrive at Turnhouse for the Edinburgh Festival in 1965. Picture: TSPL

The facilities at Turnhouse consisted of nothing more than a hastily-assembled runway and a few nissen huts.

It was the most northerly aerodrome in the UK but played a key role in the country’s air defence at a time when planes were still in their infancy.

It was renamed RAF Turnhouse in 1918.

Upon the outbreak of the Second World War, it was taken over by RAF Fighter Command and a new concrete runway was laid to handle the new Supermarine Spitfire.

An exterior view of Edinburgh airport in 1966. Picture: TSPL

An exterior view of Edinburgh airport in 1966. Picture: TSPL

During the Battle of Britain, Turnhouse was home to No.3, 65, and 141 squadrons.

The airport remained under military ownership following the end of the war but commercial flights began in the late 1940s.

The runway was extended in 1952 and a purpose-built passenger terminal opened in 1956.

The British Airports Authority (BAA) took over ownership of the airport on April 1, 1971. Initial stages of the redevelopment began two years later and the terminal building, designed by Sir Robert Matthew, was opened officially by Her Majesty the Queen on 27 May 1977.

Indian prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru is welcomed to Turnhouse with garlands of flowers in 1961. Picture: TSPL

Indian prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru is welcomed to Turnhouse with garlands of flowers in 1961. Picture: TSPL

BAA sold Edinburgh Airport to Global Infrastructure Partners in April 2012 and the airport has since experienced increasing growth with passenger traffic at Edinburgh Airport reaching a record level in 2015 with over 11.1 million passengers.

Gordon Dewar, Edinburgh Airport chief executive, said: “Today is a landmark date as we set out our plans in the months ahead to celebrate 100 years of air travel at Edinburgh Airport.

“Although clearly focused on delivering future growth at Edinburgh Airport we have a rich and long history here, and we aim to involve as many people as possible in celebrating this great centenary story.

“We will be planning a series of events including parties, limited edition giveaways and competitions to come in the months ahead.

Jennifer Noble, a 12-year-old suffering from polio, waves before boarding a flight at Turnhouse to Malta in 1962. The girl was going on holiday to help her recuperate. Picture: TSPL

Jennifer Noble, a 12-year-old suffering from polio, waves before boarding a flight at Turnhouse to Malta in 1962. The girl was going on holiday to help her recuperate. Picture: TSPL

“Our passengers and adults and kids in the local community will be invited to get involved as we offer limited edition giveaways, host competitions and hold a major party to come in the months ahead.”

Members of the RAF 603 Squadron based at Turnhouse take a break in January 1959. Picture: TSPL

Members of the RAF 603 Squadron based at Turnhouse take a break in January 1959. Picture: TSPL

Brigadier Alistair MacLean greets Major Ran Singh of the 2nd Sikh Regiment, who were appearing at the 1962 Edinburgh Military Tattoo. Picture: TSPL

Brigadier Alistair MacLean greets Major Ran Singh of the 2nd Sikh Regiment, who were appearing at the 1962 Edinburgh Military Tattoo. Picture: TSPL

A view of the interior of the dining room at Turnhouse in 1966

A view of the interior of the dining room at Turnhouse in 1966

The British Army arrive at Turnhouse from their tour of Northern Ireland in March 1966. Picture: TSPL

The British Army arrive at Turnhouse from their tour of Northern Ireland in March 1966. Picture: TSPL

Spitfires from 603 (City of Edinburgh) RAF Squadron flying over Turnhouse in an undated photograph from the 1940s. Picture: TSPL

Spitfires from 603 (City of Edinburgh) RAF Squadron flying over Turnhouse in an undated photograph from the 1940s. Picture: TSPL