THERE are more than 30 international airports operating in the UK, but few people know which was the first major airport to offer flights abroad.
Heathrow is the country's biggest airport now, but before it was developed into the huge transport hub it is today, there was another London airport providing international travel.
In fact, the UK's first major international airport was in Croydon, with flights to Paris and Brussels among the first passenger services to fly to and from the airport.
The port itself had been created when RAF Station Croydon (also known as Beddington) and Waddon Aerodrome were combined to create one single hub during the 1920s.
Croydon was selected as the best location for international travel after the previously used Hounslow Heath was reclaimed by the RAF in 1919.
Both stations had been used by the air force during World War 1, but were repurposed during the interwar period.
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By 1934 there were 1146 employees at the airport and airlines were beginning to use it for intercontinental travel.
Services to India, the Middle East, East Asia, Africa, and Australasia all took off from Croydon before it had to be used as a Royal Air Force base for World War 2.
During its time in operation, it became the biggest airport in the world and also the world's first purpose-built airport.
It had the first air traffic control tower and radio position fixing was developed there.
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