First commercial flying operations consisted of "Pleasure Flying Trip" or "flips" from the foreshores at Douglas and Ramsey in 1919 and 1920, after which flying ceased owing to the opposition of Douglas Corporation and better business elsewhere. From 1920 until 1935 Tynwald considered the question of a "Public Aerodrome" in the Island, called for endless "expert reports" until further protracted and fruitless discussion was rendered pointless by the de facto existence of Ronaldsway Aerodrome and Hall Caine Airport, Ramsey. Regular services to and from Ronaldsway (which had been persistently denounced as wholly unsuitable for an airport site by Tynwald) by Blackpool & West Coast Air Services Ltd on April 8 1933. Ronaldsway was further developed by Capt G P Olley (Olley Air Services) and Isle of Man Air Services. Whitehall Securities Ltd, an aviation group which included Hillman's, Spartan, Northern & Scottish Airways (and which together with United and Highlands Airways, also owned by the same interests, were combined to form the original "British Airways" in 1935) acquired a 45-acre site at Close Lake on the Ramsey-Sandigate road as an aerodrome, and which opened on May 3 1935 as "Hall Caine Manx Airport." Services from Hall Caine were flown to Blackpool, Liverpool London and Belfast. With greater development taking place elsewhere, Hall Caine Airport lost its scheduled services after October 1937 and with the outbreak of war in September 1939 was closed to civil flying but was retained for use by the RAF as a relief landing ground.
The aerodrome at Ronaldsway was taken over by the Royal Air Force in May 1940 to become RAF Technical Training Command's No 1 Ground Defence Gunnery School, formerly at North Coates, and which took up residence at Ronaldsway on July 7, 1940. 400 Acres of land had been acquired by the Air Ministry at Jurby in December 1937, commissioned as No 5 Air Observers School on September 18 1939 as a grass aerodrome; the hard runways came later. A major Fighter Command airfield was built at Andeas, which was commissioned on August 20, 1941.
In addition the RAF had major radar defence stations at Scarlett (SC662258) at Niarbyl (Dalby) (SC780215) Cregneash and elsewhere in the Island. 54 Sqn RAF Air-Sea Rescue marine craft were based at Ramsey, Peel, Douglas and Castletown. In May 1942 RAF Ronaldsway was transferred to the Fleet Air Arm of the Royal Navy and after acquiring a series of narrow, hard runways, was finally commissioned as HMS URLEY (Manx Gaelic for Eagle) on June 21 1944. RAF Andreas, having been transferred from 9 Group Fighter Command to Training Command on May 6 1943, held a "Battle of Britain" open day (for the first and last time) in September 1946; a week later the residents there, No 11 Air Gunnery School transferred to RAF Jurby, and Andreas was decommissioned completely in February 1947. The Admiralty closed their Ronaldsway facilities on August 28 1946 when the base (which still continued to handle civil aircraft) was transferred to the Ministry of Civil Aviation, and ultimately was acquired by the IoM government as the airport in 1948. RAF Jurby finally closed in October 1963, and the site was bought by the IoM Government in 1964 and is currently in use as an industrial estate. There were innumerable bombing, gunnery and torpedo training ranges including Ballaugh, Jurby Head, Langness, Port Soderick Bay, Peel, Ramsey Bay, etc. All except Jurby Head and its associated quadrant station at Ballaugh, closed after the war; RAF Jurby Head was decommissioned in 1993.
Post war civil air services to the Island were provided by British European Airways Corporation, later BEA, later BA, Autair, BKS Air Transport, British United Airways, Cambrian Airways, Dan Air, Don Everall Aviation, Derby Aviation (later British Midland - Manx Airlines) Eagle Airways, Aer Lingus, Lancashire Aircraft Corporation, Loganair, Manx Air Charters, Scottish Airlines, Silver City Airways, Sivewright Airways, Starways, British United Island Airways, British Island Airways, Air UK, Yeadon Aviation, Spacegrand and Jersey European, Knight Air, Emerald Airways etc.