FREQUENT flyers at Powys' renowned international airport have been thanked for their donation to a critical service in Powys that is fighting for its future.

Air traffic control at Llandegley International Airport, near Llandrindod Wells, donated £700 to the Wales Air Ambulance (WAA) last month.

While one organisation could soon depart Powys, the other has never officially existed. Llandegley International Airport isn’t real, despite living in the hearts and minds of Radnorshire residents for the last two decades.

The airport exists only as a sign installed as a joke on the side of the A44 - but still managed to raise some cash for the vital lifesaving charity

The airport’s donation to the Wales Air Ambulance came after it had some spare cash it wanted to give to a good cause having raised money from a crowdfunder to replace the airport’s sign.

The sign was a prank derived by Nicholas Whitehead, who erected it beside the main road, between Crossgates and Penybont, in 2002.

It has been directing would-be passengers to Terminals 1 and 3 at the airport ever since, but has been costing Mr Whitehead around £1,500 per year, to maintain – roughly £25,000 in total.

But the crowdfunder raised around £2,000 and now a legitimate sign has been in place since April.

“This just in from Wales Air Ambulance,” said the airport on its popular Facebook page, posting a picture of a letter received from Wales Air Ambulance chiefs.

“It's thanks to the airport's loyal friends and frequent flyers that we were able to make this donation with funds left over from the 'Give us a Sign' campaign.

“So, when you drive past the new sign or when you see an air ambulance in the sky, you'll know who's responsible for keeping it up. You.”

Captain James Grenfell, regional managing pilot for the WAA, said in the letter: “On behalf of our pilots, medical team and staff at Wales Air Ambulance, I would like to thank you for your donation of £700.00 on August 25.

“With your support we can continue to save lives locally 24 hours a day. Thank you again for supporting Wales Air Ambulance Charity. Your donations are the only way we can provide this service and continue ‘Serving Wales, Saving Lives’.”


The airport’s post was liked and commented on by local girl Sue Charles, the Welsh TV and weather presenter for BBC Wales, who was born nearby in Llandrindod. She said: “What a wonderful outcome. Long live Llandegley International Airport.”

In November last year the airport sign was jettisoned, with Mr Whitehead deciding it was time to go ‘legit’ and replace it with an official sign. He started a crowdfunder, hoping to raise £8,000 to do so.

County Times:

It gained national and international attention – featuring on ITV, in The Times newspaper and the Jeremy Vine Show. It caught the attention of UAE-based radio station Dubai Eye; actor and comedian David Mitchell even wrote a piece about it in The Observer.

While only £2,000 was raised, that has been enough to allow a more authentic-looking sign to appear beside the road, built by Cardiff-based Dragon Signs – who also made the signs for Cardiff International Airport – and put in place in April.

On the Facebook page, which has 4,000 followers, ‘passengers’ enjoy updates about Llandegley's impressive environmental credentials, engage in conversation about how many sheep often stray onto the runways, while frequent flyers are still waiting for the ‘top secret’ Terminal 2 to be built, which is taking longer than Heathrow’s Terminal 5.