DALLAS – Today in Aviation, Scotland’s third busiest airport Aberdeen International (ABZ), was officially opened by John Arbuthnott, 14th Viscount of Arbuthnott, in 1934.
Originally known as ‘Dyce Airport,’ construction of the facility began in 1931 on a piece of land in Dyce, acquired to create a public aerodrome 5.8 miles (9.3 km) from downtown Aberdeen city.
Scottish businessman and politician Eric Gandar Dower wanted an airport to base his new airline Aberdeen Airways. Flights were launched between ABZ and Glasgow (GLA) on September 10, 1934. Edinburgh (EDI) soon followed, but these routes were quickly dropped, and attention turned to services to the Northern Isles.
The opening was celebrated with a Royal Air Force (RAF) flying display, aerobatics, a ‘sensational’ parachute jump, and a chance for visitors to look at a selection of static aircraft ‘at close quarters.’
During the Second World War, ABZ was requisitioned by the Royal Air Force and renamed RAF Dyce. The RAF returned the airport to the Air Ministry in 1947, and passenger services resumed.
But the discovery of North Sea oil really put ABZ on the map. Regular helicopter rotations commenced between the oil rigs and mainland by Bristow Helicopters (UH) in 1967. By 1988, these services led ABZ to become the world’s busiest heliport, and today rotary wing movements account for nearly half of activities at the airport.
In 1975 ownership of ABZ passed from the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to the new British Airports Authority (BAA). Spanish company Ferrovial took over in June 2006. Today ABZ is owned and run by AGS Airports, which also owns Glasgow (GLA) and Southampton (SOU).
Featured Image: Aberdeen International Airport is today part of the AGS Airport Group. Photo: Ferrovial.