The City of Derry Airport is an airfield located 7 miles northeast of Derry, Northern Ireland, and 8 miles from the city centre. It is situated on Lough Foyle’s south bank, a short distance from Eglinton village. An RSPB bird sanctuary located beside the airport has been a pressing concern for a long time because of reported bird strikes, the most recent being on August 3, 2009. Another concern for the airport is the Northern Ireland Railways’ Belfast to Derry one-track railway passes close to the tip and is within the Runway End Safety Area. Because of this, safety systems make sure that whenever aircrafts take off, no train’s allowed to pass.
The Derry Airport originated from the Second World War. RAF Eglinton air base housed No. 133 Squadron RAF, which flew Hurricane fighters to defend the city in 1941. It became a Fleet Air Arm base in 1943 and was called RNAS Eglinton HMS Gannet. It was occupied by No. 1847 Fleet Air Arm Squadron, air convoy provider during the Second Battle of the Atlantic. The airfield remained a military establishment until 1950 and was known as Londonderry Eglinton Airport. Facilities were improved from 1989 through 1993. Included in the £10.5 million project were the runways, lighting, navigation equipment, taxiways, access roads and fire station. The new terminal officially opened in March 1994 and was named City of Derry Airport. Just recently, tax free shops, WHSmith, the Amelia Earhart Business lounge in the departure area, and the arrivals hall have all been improved.
Passengers were stranded for two hours on board Ryanair in August 2014 because UK Border Force staff were not at the Derry airport yet. Passengers were allowed to leave only after negotiation with the Border Force.