Bournemouth Airport (BOH) (previously known as Hurn Airport and Bournemouth International Airport) opened as RAF Hurn in 1941 and began commercial services in the late 1950s, with Palmair commencing flights to Majorca in October 1958.
Subsequently Ryanair and Thomson Airways based aircraft at the airport, with scheduled flights now frequently serving Western Europe and the Mediterranean area, with charter and seasonal services serving North Africa, North America, and the Caribbean. Passenger numbers peaked in 2007 when just over one million passed through the airport. In 2014 the passenger total was around 660,000 passengers.
On 25 November 2008, Bournemouth Airport was ranked best airport in the United Kingdom and third best in the world, after Singapore Changi Airport and Hong Kong International Airport, by the Daily Telegraph Travel Awards.
Bournemouth Airport has a CAA Public Use Aerodrome Licence that allows flights for the public transport of passengers or for flying instruction. Ryanair and Thomson Airways remain the primary users of the airport. Bournemouth Airport is owned and operated by the Manchester Airports Group (MAG), the largest British airport operator.
In 2007 Manchester Airports Group, announced a £32 million investment in the redevelopment of the airport. Part of these plans include screening off the current arrivals terminal with a three-metre screen, with plans to ultimately phase out use of the building. On 21 June 2007, planning permission was granted to the scheme by Christchurch Council Planning Committee, despite public objections and protests. This was conditional, however, on a maximum of three million air passengers per annum, and required contributions to road systems, bus routes, and to use quieter aircraft.
With the budget increased to £45 million in July 2008, the upgrade will replace the arrivals terminal and upgrade the check-in and departure lounge areas. The number of aircraft stands would rise from 4 to 11. Christchurch Council and central government backed plans for the re-building of the airport terminal, increasing its size by 62%; work started in August 2007.
The development restarted in August 2008 with the runway being resurfaced, and a new Thales CAT IIIa ILS on Runway 26 with associated aerodrome ground lighting and IRVR were installed during December 2008. The main apron has been expanded to a total of 11 stands for aircraft of Boeing 737-800 size, including two stands for aircraft of Boeing 767-300 size.
Work on the terminal itself is now complete, where the check-in areas, security control and departure lounges have been upgraded. A new World Duty Free store has opened on the airside, as have a new WHSmith store and the UK’s largest The Olive Tree restaurant.
The new arrivals hall was completed on time and budget in July 2011. The building produces 70% less Carbon Dioxide than the previous facility with the design taking advantage of the building’s orientation to make maximum possible use of solar gain, solar shading, daylight and natural ventilation. These measures will reduce the need for mechanical and electrical installations which, in turn, will reduce the building’s energy requirements.