TURNHOUSE Airport’s elegant new terminal was opened in April 1956 by Harold Watkinson, Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation.

It meant that Scotland now had two of the three permanent terminal buildings erected since the war at British airports. The other two were at Renfrew and London airports.

The £84,000 Turnhouse terminal was expected to deal with, on then-current estimates, well over 70,000 passengers a year. Passenger figures had jumped from 16,000 in 1951 to 55,000 in 1954 – and in 1955, after the launch by British European Airways (BEA) of Viscount services to and from London, to nearly 70,000.

BEA also operated services from Edinburgh to Birmingham, Aberdeen, Wick and Orkney, while other airlines offered flights to Dublin and Belfast, with the Isle of Man in the pipeline.

Mr Watkinson said that, after reviewing the remarkable growth figures, the justification for the new building was quite plain. It had been specifically designed to be extended, for the airport was by no means at its peak, he added.

The photograph shows two passengers at the terminal, preparing to board their flight.

The city’s Lord Provost, Sir John Banks, said that divided public opinion, lack of knowledge of the practicable application of air traffic, and the interference of a world war had resulted in delay of Edinburgh airport and its buildings. But the wait was over; the city had a fine building as the permanent and visible evidence of the existence of an airport.

Addressing Mr Watkinson, he added: “It might not be ill-timed of me, while we have the minister present”, he said, “to remind him that not very far from here there is a well-known river which is much in need of a bridge.

“If the Minister could do something to expedite that, I will make him this promise – if it is open, and he is still in office, we will invite him to drive the first car across”.

Read more: Herald Diary