Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Edinburgh Airport's second runway closes

George Robertson and Hamish MacLeod Image copyright PA
Image caption George Robertson and Hamish MacLeod took a last walk along the tarmac

The second runway at Edinburgh Airport has been officially closed.

It is to make way for a major redevelopment of the airport, having fallen into disuse.

The history of the runway, designated 12/30, goes back to the days of the Turnhouse Aerodrome as a base for military flying.

To mark the occasion two RAF veterans were invited to visit the airport and walk along the runway before the surface is torn up.

Dr Hamish MacLeod, who flew with Edinburgh University Air Squadron (EUAS) from 1958 to 1961, said: "I and many others had some of our best times here, there was great camaraderie with everyone and we were lucky to have A1 instructors, several with World War Two combat experience.

"It's sad to see the runway close but things have to progress, and it's been nostalgic to come back because RAF Turnhouse means a lot to an awful lot of pilots who trained here."

War service

Initially known as Turnhouse Aerodrome, the airport opened in 1916 and was a key military base during World War One before the MoD took ownership and changed the name to RAF Turnhouse two years later.

It was then used by RAF fighter command when the Second World War broke out and the runway was paved to accommodate Spitfires.

EUAS was also based at RAF Turnhouse during the 1950s and 1960s, with flying training to offered to undergraduates.

The runway was used regularly until the longer runway currently in use was opened in 1977.

Wing Commander (Retd) George Robertson, learned to fly with the university squadron and went on to become a commercial pilot.

He said: "Hamish and I both learned to fly here and did our first solo flights on this very airfield, and it holds very special memories for both of us.

"It was those experiences which set me up whole career in aviation and I'm very grateful for that experience."

Edinburgh Airport chief executive Gordon Dewar added: "We have a proud history here and the 12/30 runway holds a lot of special memories for many people, and it's only right that we mark this special occasion."

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