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Like many such places Bournemouth Airport began life as an RAF base in the Second World War. As RAF Hurn it was a paratroops training base and played a major part in the preparations for the D-Day landings, and was also used by fighter bomber squadrons from both the RAF and the USAF. The first civilian flights began in 1944, and Hurn Airport – as it was then – became the first airport in the UK to provide flights to Australia, a three day journey by BOAC, as well as serving destinations such as Calcutta, New York and Johannesburg.
The long haul destinations dried up with the relocation of BOAC to the newly opened Heathrow in 1948, but Hurn continued to be a popular airport for flights to European destinations, something that continues today in its present guise as Bournemouth International Airport.
Ryanair is a major user of the airport and offers regular services to Malaga, Alicante and Marseille, while both Palmair and Olympic Airways offer a wide selection of flights from Bournemouth to a variety of popular European destinations.
The airport is owned by the Manchester Airports Group and they have been committed to serious expansion of the site, and future plans include the upgrading of transport links and terminals in order to allow for three million passengers – a quota agreed with local authorities – to use the airport annually.
As the most used airport on the South Coast, Bournemouth Airport is a well used and popular facility that continues to expand in line with the popularity of Bournemouth town as a holiday destination. Bournemouth boasts miles of golden beaches and entertainment for the whole family, There are also plenty of cheap hotels in Bournemouth making it one of the UK's top tourist destinations.