A campaign and online petition has been launched to save Birmingham Airport’s historic first terminal building which has an uncertain future.
The Elmdon terminal building and control tower building was opened in 1939 and requisitioned for war service soon afterwards. The building’s design is well-known for its over-hanging canopies which enabled the small aircraft of the day to park under them and provide passengers with shelter from the elements. Large scale passenger operations ended in 1984 when services transferred to the current terminal building on the opposite side of the runway. However, the original building continued to host services for VIP, executive and freight flights. Despite its historic significance, the Elmdon terminal does not have a preservation order to protect it as that was relinquished to prevent the building from blocking future airport development. The old terminal has been visibly deteriorating for years.
This week campaigners launched an online petition calling for Birmingham Airport to either restore the building or hand it over to an organisation than can save it.
Supporters believe its excellent views across the airfield could enable it to be re-used as an aviation museum, visitors’ centre, exclusive hotel, fine dining restaurant or perhaps a combination of all of those suggestions. Petitioner Chris Shaw told the Birmingham Mail that he fears the Elmdon terminal building is being left to rot until there is no option but to demolish it but commented: “Aircraft enthusiasts would be in heaven with the views of the airfield. School children would also love visiting it. It will cost a lot to restore but it will eventually begin to pay for itself.
“Many Midlanders recall flying from the terminal, eating at the skyways restaurant, standing on the balcony watching the flights come and go. This was aviation in its infancy.” He added: “We are not trouble makers and do not want to get in the way of airport development or operations.
“We acknowledge the building is a headache for the airport but at the same time we believe we cannot let such a unique and historic building rot until the bulldozers are moved in.”
A spokeswoman for Birmingham Airport confirmed that the building had been badly damaged during the recent freeze and it was considering its future.
She said: “The airport is currently carrying out surveys to ascertain the internal damage caused by a flood, following recent freezing weather conditions.
“Once these assessments have taken place and we have explored options, we’ll be able to provide some clarity for the community.”
At the time of writing more than 3,500 people had signed the petition and you can add your name at the change.org website