Islay airport is situated in the centre of the Island at Glenegedale, 4,9 miles from Port Ellen and 5,5 miles from Bowmore. It's a small airport, with one terminal and it is operated by HIAL (Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd.) The airport has a direct service to and from Glasgow with on average two scheduled flights a day, one in the morning and one later in the afternoon.
History of Islay Airport
It was in 1928 that the first flight into Islay took place as part of the Glasgow-Campbeltown service, the airplane was an AVRO 504N. The location of the airport at that time was not Glenegedale but planes landed on the sandflats at Bridgend. This meant that planes weren't able to land at high tides which prevented a regular service to be operated to and from the island. By 1935 the airport had been moved to its new location at Glenegedale and in that same year the official opening took place. The airport was operated back then by "Northern and Scottish Airways Ltd" and it's official name was Glenegedale Airport.
The runways however were still grass and in the early years of the war hard runways were put in place due to higher demand. Islay airport played an important role in the war and at its peak there were around 8,000 servicemen based on the island. Many remains of the former buildings and barracks are still visible today and an official count revealed that there were around 260 of these buildings in the vicinity of the airport. Some are still standing today but from most of them only the concrete foundations are visible.
At first glance the terminal building is just like many others but a closer look reveals all kinds of interesting details, especially in the waiting area. There are a number of very skilfully created wall hangings made from tiny hand-cut pieces of linoleum and they have their own story to tell. There is one that says "May the birds of friendship of the Gael be forever woven into the web of your life" and that same text is written on the floor in Gaelic. There are several other linoleum works of art such as the princess which refers to Iula, where Islay supposed to have received its name from, and there is another one which refers to Breackan, the Scandinavian prince in the story of Corryvreckan. And there is Morag and her staff in the Drome Cafe, serving coffees, teas, snacks and lunches.
Two departures are made daily to/from Glasgow International Airport to Islay Glenegedale Airport (ILY). The distance is 72 miles or (116 Km) and the duration of the flight is 40 minutes. The plane leaves from terminal M at Glasgow International Airport. The plane, a Saab 340/340B, is operated by Loganair, Scotland's Airline. Hebridean Air Services also operate regular flights between Oban, Colonsay and Islay on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Islay Airport Parking
Car parking is free of charge and includes disabled bays, a pick up/drop off area and is situated adjacent to the terminal building. Passengers leaving their vehicle at the airport for more than 3 days can also use the Long Stay Carpark which is located close to the airport, a few hundred metres down the road towards Bowmore.
Car hire is available from Islay Car Hire and D&N MacKenzie at the airport, they both have service desks within the arrivals hall. It is however advised to reserve your vehicle in advance of your arrival.
During weekdays and on Saturday there is a bus service on the island operated by Islay Coaches and Royal Mail. Please not that there is no bus service on Sundays. There are several companies on Islay offering taxi services, it is advised to book in advance. For more info on Bus schedules and Taxi companies please visit the Islay travel page
Address: Glenegedale, Isle of Islay PA42 7AS
Phone: +44 (0) 1496 302361
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