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Historic Croydon Airport - Why it matters

London Croydon Airport was Britain’s first major international airport. It played a major role in the development of global air travel after World War One and has a significant place in early 20th century British history. It was the predecessor to London Heathrow Airport and Britain’s busiest airport during the inter war period.

Some of the significant historic events and achievements at London Croydon Airport include:-

  • Britain’s first purpose-built Terminal and Control Tower 
  • world’s largest airport terminal in 1928
  • departure point for many world record breaking flights such as Amy Johnson, Bert Hinkler, Alan Cobham, Jim Mollison, Mary Bailey, Arthur Clouston with Betty Kirby-Green
  • birthplace of Air Traffic Control
  • innovation of “Mayday” international distress call
  • world’s first integrated airport terminal
  • world’s first Air Traffic Control Tower
  • establishment of Britain’s first national airline, Imperial Airways
  • Britain’s first intercontinental air routes across Europe, Asia and Australia

Significantly, the new airport introduced the world to two new types of specialised airport technical building:-

These two types of new building were the first built in the world and are instantly recognisable features of all modern airports. The buildings were significant as they encompass the key functions and processes needed in effectively managing air passenger operations.