2006 will hold a great landmark in the History of Weston Airport, In Liexlip, County Kildare, Ireland. Weston, will be 75 Years Old, officially making the aerodrome, Ireland’s Oldest, Still Operational Aerodrome. Of course, military sites such as Collinstown (Dublin Airport) and Baldonnel operated for well over 80 years, but neither have done so as a Civilian Airport, and Collinstown, didn’t operate between 1920 and 1940. So Weston, is truly special from aviation point of view, in Ireland…
Weston Aerodrome was founded in 1931, but was never licensed as an aerodrome until 1937, technically making it, Ireland’s second licensed civil aerodrome. Darby Kennedy founded the aerodrome as a flying school, having previously worked in Kildonan Aerodrome, Fingals for Iona National Airways and the Irish Aero Club, and then moving on, to work for Aer Lingus.
Over the next few decades not a lot happened in Weston, one of the highlights of the 1960’s in Weston, was the partial filming of the World War One epic, the Blue Max at the aerodrome, but most of the filming was conducted at Baldonnel Aerodrome, several miles down the road. It is clear to see, that very little development proceeded at Weston, from the 1930’s, but what is clear, is that in the 1970’s, a rebirth in aviation was prominent in Ireland, and throughout the 70’s and 80’s, the aerodrome expanded, and Operations building was constructed (Now the customs office), and several farm building were converted into hangers, as well as a new hanger being constructed in the late 1980’s (hangers surrounding the old apron). The aerodrome continued to grow, and helicopter operations became commonplace, as did larger aircraft, with the construction of a Tarmac Runway.
In 2001, Darby Kennedy, (now lives in Spain), decided to sell Weston, to allow for it’s growth. Mr. Jim Mansfield, owner of the Citywest Complex, and developer of the Citywest Area, in west Dublin, purchased the aerodrome, and unofficially renamed it “Citywest Airport”, although it officially still retains the title Weston Airport, (named after the estate the airport is build on). Mr. Mansfield set out a master plan to turn Weston into Ireland’s second airport, and in 2003 work commenced.
Despite planning difficulties, to date work has proceeded at a fast pace, and a new Terminal, new hangers, a runway extension, taxiway construction, construction of a new carpark, and construction of a new access road has been completed.