Leeds Bradford has a CAA Public Use Aerodrome Licence (Number P800) that allows flights for the public transport of passengers and for flight training. The Airport operates to many domestic and European destinations. The airport is also the highest in England at an elevation of 681 ft (208 m). By the number of passengers handled in 2016, Leeds Bradford was the 15th busiest airport in the UK. It is a base for Eastern Airways, Jet2.com and Ryanair. Thomas Cook Airlines, and TUI Airways are seasonally based at the airport.
The airport was opened as the "Leeds and Bradford Municipal Aerodrome" (Yeadon Aerodrome) on 17 October 1931 and was operated by the Yorkshire Aeroplane Club on behalf of Leeds and Bradford Corporations. In 1935 the aerodrome was expanded by 35 acres (140,000 m2) and scheduled flights began on 8 April 1935 with a service by North Eastern Airways from London (Heston Aerodrome) to Newcastle upon Tyne (Cramlington). The service was soon extended to Edinburgh (Turnhouse). In June 1935 Blackpool and West Coast Air Services started a service to the Isle of Man. By 1936 the London/Yeadon/Newcastle/Edinburgh service was flying three times a week and also stopped at Doncaster and carried on to Aberdeen (Dyce).
Civil aviation at Yeadon was halted in 1939, with the outbreak of the Second World War. Avro built a new shadow factory, to produce military aircraft, just to the north of the aerodrome; a taxiway connected the factory to the aerodrome and many of the aircraft first flew from Yeadon. Around 5,515 aircraft were produced and delivered from Yeadon of the following main types: Anson (over 4,500), Bristol Blenheim (250), Lancaster bomber (695), York (45) and the Lincoln (25). the Avro factory was camouflaged and had dummy cows placed on top of the factory so that from the air it would look just like fields with cattle.