Welcome again to Then and Now, where each week we compare images of Merseyside streets, landmarks and buildings from bygone days with how they look today.

As travel restrictions finally appear to be lifting, we couldn’t resist this flashback photo of a Philippine Airlines jet being readied for take-off at Liverpool’s Speke Airport in October 1970.

In the background is the distinctive Art-Deco passenger terminal and control tower, now a Crowne Plaza hotel, completed in 1937.

Officially opened in 1933, Speke had been operating for less than a decade when World War II broke out in 1939. Commercial flights by Imperial Airways from land at Speke Hall only commenced in 1930.

Passenger numbers increased steadily after the war, growing from 50,000 in 1945 to 75,000 in 1948.

Speke Airport, Liverpool, Merseyside
EasyJet planes at Liverpool John Lennon Airport
The 1960s saw the growth of package holidays in Europe, particularly Spain. Flying was still regarded as an adventure where people dressed in smart clothes and looked forward to luxury cabin service. Passengers could even smoke on planes.

Speke was taken over by Liverpool Corporation in January 1961 and a new 7,500ft runway was opened by Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, in 1966.

Our modern image shows Speke, renamed John Lennon Airport in 2001, in March 2020 when Covid restrictions left all EasyJet aircraft grounded.

Since then travel has been severely curtailed with testing stations, masks and hand sanitation dispensers almost outnumbering the number of passengers flying for essential reasons.

*Unmissable wartime images from Liverpool and the North West are included in Clive Hardy’s latest hardback book The Home Front – Britain 1939-45. It’s available at the special price of £14.99 plus postage and packing.

Just go to inostalgia.co.uk to place your order or ring the hotline on 01928 503777.

Coming soon – iNostalgia’s Spring Bonanza! Buy three outstanding books for just £25!