Biggin Hill Growth Soars As London Slots Tighten

 - May 17, 2008, 5:21 AM

The Air Partner initiative at Biggin Hill comes as the airport reports business jet movements increased by 25 percent last year and it foresees 30-percent further growth this year. Additional infrastructure development at the southeast London site may draw on the proceeds of parent company Regional Airports’ planned disposal of its interest in Southend Airport on the north bank of the Thames river estuary east of London. That sale could generate some $100 million, and, according to business development manager Robert Walters, the firm may select a preferred bidder by the end of June.

Walters told EBACE Convention News that as a result of available capacity and the lack of runway slot restrictions, Biggin Hill has been enjoying constant growth. The fleet of aircraft based there also is continuing to grow and could number almost 50 by mid-year, he said. For example, four jets–a 50-seat Bombardier CRJ200 to be operated by charter provider Markoss Aviation, two private corporate Challengers (one with UK registration, the other U.S.-registered) and a private U.S.-registered Dassault Falcon 900–were scheduled to take up residence in April. A larger CRJ900 is expected by mid-year and another is scheduled to arrive in about 15 months.

Biggin Hill is also set to receive very light jets, including “quite a few” Cessna Mustangs and at least one Embraer Phenom expected for new operators by year-end, according to Walters. By that time, the airport hopes also to have obtained formal approval for a planned hotel.

Next year should see completion of a 70,000-sq-ft hangar near the terminal on the west side of the airport, which will provide accommodation for up to 10 Gulfstream V-size aircraft. The new hangar is composed of four bays that will accommodate up to four Airbus Corporate Jet/Boeing Business Jet-size aircraft.

A separate new ramp, increasing available aircraft parking space by some 60 percent to almost 270,000 sq ft was opened last year. The airport’s terminal building has received interior refurbishment and there is also 12,000 sq ft of office space. That $1.5 million project marked the first step in the continuing redevelopment of Biggin Hill.