28th July 1934

Aberdeen Airport opens for business

Eric Gandar Dower trained as an actor, flew in the Royal Air Force, sat as a Member of Parliament, and established a flying school, Aberdeen Airways, and Aberdeen Airport.

The airport is around five miles outside the city, at Dyce, and the LNER railway company ran special trains to Dyce for anyone who wanted to witness its opening – with five trains leaving Aberdeen between 1.05 and 2.25, and six return trains departing Dyce between 4.38 and 7pm. The third-class return fare was seven pence.

Aberdeen Airport officially opened

The airport was opened by John Arbuthnott, 14th Viscount of Arbuthnott, who had served in the Canadian Army and the Welsh Guards before taking a seat in the House of Lords. The Dundee Courier of 30 July said that he’d told his audience that “the airport would not only give a new pleasure to the people of the district, but would also be of benefit to the country in times of emergency”.

Whether he said what that ‘emergency’ might be isn’t made clear, but “Mr EL Gandar Dower, the managing director of the firm which has constructed the airport said that morning they had found on the wall during the night someone had painted – ‘This aerodrome is being opened in preparation for war. Fight against it.’ If anyone thought for a moment that the aerodrome was being opened in preparation for war, he would gladly disabuse their minds of the idea. No one wanted war. He had the doubtful privilege of flying in the last one, and his partner, Captain A Irvin, still had a piece of shrapnel in his body as a souvenir.”

Air force airport

One of the first uses of the airport was by the Norwegian Air Force, which flew three planes from there to Stravanger, led by Major Gran. The flight marked the 20th anniversary of Gran’s first crossing, from Cruden Bay, which in 1914 had been a record-breaking longest flight ever.

A regular service to Glasgow was soon inaugurated, with the Aberdeen Press and Journal of 7 September 1934 reporting that the first plane, which would leave the following Monday, would carry civic dignitaries of the town as passengers before opening to the public the following day. “Thus it will be possible to travel to Glasgow by air twice during the day and from Glasgow similarly. The single fare is £3 5s and the return £5 10s.”

War and oil

Despite claims that the airport was not being built as a tool of war, it was used as an RAF base during the Second World War from which planes flew on bombing missions against German shipping. Following the war, it returned to civilian use and, after oil was discovered in the North Sea, it became an important base for helicopter flights serving the rigs.



Other events that occured in July

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