A campaign has been launched to save Birmingham Airport’s historic first terminal building.

The iconic Elmdon Terminal and Control Tower building was opened by the Duchess of Kent in 1939 and became famous for its over-hanging canopies which resembled an aeroplane’s wings.

But it was last used by the flying general public in 1984, when the replacement terminal building was opened to deal with the growing number of passengers.

Since then it has specialised in private flights for wealthy individuals, VIPs and royalty as well as used as offices for airport staff until its closure a few weeks ago.

Now campaigners have launched an online petition calling for the airport to either fix and restore the building or hand it over to an organisation such as the National Trust or Historic England for protection.

Despite Elmdon’s history, it is not listed and has no legal protection - a decision taken to prevent it blocking future airport development and expansion.

During its heyday

Campaigners say it could be reused as an aviation museum, wedding venue, exclusive hotel or fine dining restaurant with breathtaking views of the runway and start covering its costs.

Leading petitioner Chris Shaw said: “Aircraft enthusiasts would be in heaven with the views of the airfield. School children would also love visiting it. It will cost a lot to restore but it will eventually begin to pay for itself.”

Instead he is worried it is being left to rot until there is no option but to demolish it.

Already 2,000 people have signed the petition on the change.org website .

BIRMINGHAM AIRPORT HISTORICAL ELMDON AS A HELIPORT A BEA DRAGONFLY HELICOPTER WHICH OPERATED THE SHUTTLE SERVICE BETWEEN THE AIRPORT AND HAY MILLS , I 1951. AN AER LINGUD DAKOTA STANDS ON THE TARMAC

Mr Shaw added: “Many Midlanders recall flying from the terminal, eating at the skyways restaurant, standing on the balcony watching the flights come and go. This was aviation in its infancy.”

He said that the building had "suffered physically and cosmetically" over the years.

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"We are not trouble makers and do not want to get in the way of airport development or operations," he added.

"We acknowledge the building is a headache for the airport but at the same time we believe we cannot let such a unique and historic building rot until the bulldozers are moved in."

Jackie Edensor, who signed, commented: "It is as iconic as Selfridges and Spaghetti Junction. Make it into a hotel like the one in Liverpool to keep it alive."

A spokeswoman for Birmingham Airport confirmed that the building had been badly damaged during the recent freeze and it was considering its future.

She said: "The airport is currently carrying out surveys to ascertain the internal damage caused by a flood, following recent freezing weather conditions.

"Once these assessments have taken place and we have explored options, we’ll be able to provide some clarity for the community."