Monday, 10 June 2013

A day of being so near and yet so far....

Another early start this morning. Awake at 4.20am, and by 7am I was at the airport....

Yes,East Midlands near and convenient to fly from....

My destination was here......

where people were all milling around ready to fly off to some of these destinations  .....

There were two distinct types of passengers ...the business men with slightly crumpled suits looking harassed as laptops in hand, they made their way purposefully through to airport security.

The others were very pale people showing dulux white legs in shorts and wearing sunhats, ready for their weeks of soaking up the sun. "Passports" one man barked to his wife as they approached the check in desk......loud "hellos"as a group of  golfers met up in the departure lounge, off for a golfing break in Portugal. I could tell they were golfers, the visors and squint in the sun eyes and sunburnt faces gave the game away before I even caught sight of the telltale golf bags.

So where was I going , I can hear you ask. Well, let's put it this way - the departure lounge was as far as I got!

I was there to do a series of pieces for both BBC Radio Leicester and BBC Radio Lincolnshire about the airport itself as it was fifty years ago today that it was decided to create East Midlands Airport on the site of an old air base. ...

Since then it's developed into a thriving hub for both passengers and cargo.

According to Andy Cliffe, the new Chief Executive there, four million passengers take off or fly into the airport each year...and it brings 300 million pounds each year into our region's economy.

All very good news....and I've so many happy memories of trips begun in this very departure lounge. A trip to Africa with the Gambia Experience..for much needed sun, swimming and birdwatching in the middle of a dreadful English winter  and following the journey of a remarkable woman to see how she's transformed and supported a local school for 400 children there.

A trip to Belfast, for a weekend of history, culture, and a very good guided pub crawl...trips to France for quick little holidays....and then the most memorable flight of all, to the Ukraine.....on the Antonov  An-225, the world's largest plane. What a trip that was. I was the only journalist accompanying ten charity workers who were delivering tons of shoeboxes on board which contained gifts and essentials for Ukranian orphans. That was a very emotional four days which will stay with me for the rest of my life.

But unfortunately today, there was no  trip to take....just a short drive back down the M1 to the BBC studios feeling rather miffed that I wasn't off on my jollies. Next time I visit East Midlands Airport, I hope I'll be one of the ones wearing shorts and a sunhat , with my battered old passport in my hand.

Today's track....well, I hope you didn't think it was going to be "Airport "by the Motors...because it definitely isn't. I
Ladies and gentlemen, take your seats, fasten your seatbelts please, and enjoy "Learning to Fly" by Foo Fighters. I love the song...and although I've seen the video so  many times....I still laugh.



  1. How tantalising - to make it to the Departure Lounge at sunrise, just to go home again!

  2. An airport always has a lovely atmosphere. I used to love taking the children for a visit to Glasgow airport and stand in the viewing deck watching planes take off and land. Unfortunately due to terrorists that's not possible these days and children miss out on what was a great experience.

  3. I remember being taken to the airport as a seemed so exotic watching the planes takes off to foreign lands....and I still love to watch planes take off....(but don't enjoy being in a plane when it does take off!)