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90th Anniversary

ABZ through the years

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Aberdeen International Airport has been at the heart of the community since it began operations in July 1934 when Lord Arbuthnott officially opened it.

This year the airport in the Granite City celebrates its Granite anniversary with a special 90th logo commissioned for use throughout the year.

Take a look at our timeline and memories below to see some fascinating facts about the airport.


1933: Announced that Dyce Aerodrome plans were submitted to the County Council by Eric Gandar Dower, dubbed the “Father of Aberdeen Airport” and also started Aberdeen Airways which became Allied Airways.

1934: Lord Arbuthnott official opens Aberdeen Airport on July 28 with Eric Gandar Dower.

1939: Taken over by RAF and some civil flights mainly to Northern Isles, followed by gradual post-war expansion of scheduled services until the arrival of the oil industry.


1940: Allied Airways assist with withdrawal of British Troops from France.

1946: Aberdeen along with 24 other airfields were reopened for unrestricted civil flying from January 1.

1949: Aberdeen handles 20 daily landings with military and official aircraft accounting for majority of these.


1950: In May, a charted Viking airliner flew from Abo in Finland with 30 members of crew of a newly-purchased merchant vessel.

1951: In May, the King, Queen and Princess Margaret flew into Aberdeen on the same Royal Flight Viking.

1952: Work undertaken to extend the runway was completed adding more than 450 metres to the runway.

1955: The formal title was changed to “Aberdeen Airport”.


1963: It is reported in trade articles that Aberdeen serviced 50,000 passengers.

1967: First oil-support helicopter flight BEA Helicopters to Shell rig Staflo.

1968: BEA inaugurated service Inverness – Aberdeen - Heathrow.

1969: After applying for licence in previous years Loganair has it’s inaugural flight from Aberdeen to Stavanger using Shorts Skyvan.


1972: Civil Aviation Authority takes over Aberdeen Airport.

1973: CAA announce plans for new airport terminal complex on the West side of the airfield to be operational by 1978.

1973: First Holiday charter flight from Aberdeen to Majorca.

1977: HRH Princess Alexandra formally opens the new airport terminal complex.


1980: New Aberdeen Air Traffic Control Tower formally opened.

1981: Air Ecosse awarded licences to operate Aberdeen flights to Liverpool, Dublin, Belfast and Edinburgh.

1983: 9,000 extra passengers on 83 flights including DC-8-63 with Dons supporters heading to and from Gothenburg.

1984: More than 4,500 people attend airport open day where Concorde kissed the tarmac of the runway.


1990: Crunchie Wing Walkers Team aircraft was on display in the local area and operated from Aberdeen Airport in the 1990s.

1992: £2.5 million common departure lounge development completed.

1998: Broomfield terminal opened.


2004: We unveil a third helicopter base and the first phase of £1.5m development, a new security search area, opens.

June 2007: Scotland's First Minister opens the newly refurbished £10 million departure lounge.

July 2009: Aberdeen Airport celebrates its 75th birthday. Thanks to the helicopter industry and a growing demand for fixed-wing services, Aberdeen has the busiest runway/airspace in Scotland and the fifth-busiest runway in the United Kingdom.


October 2011: The extension to the airport main runway is officially opened, 8 months ahead of schedule.

August 2013: Becomes the first airport in the UK to be awarded prestigious Customer First accreditation status.

November 2014: Awarded 'Best Airport (under 6 million passengers) in the UK' at the AOA awards.

2019: Canine Crew launches at Aberdeen Airport.


2020: Covid pandemic – AIA stays open to help lifeline routes.

2022/2023: Runway Runs raise £40,000 each.

September 2022: Named Scottish Airport of the Year at the Scottish Transport Awards.

October 2023: Named Hub of the Year at the National Transport Awards.

Aberdeen Airport