TAG Aviation (Stand 475) is promoting its activities in Asia, Europe and the Middle East and reinforcing the claim that its Farnborough Airport facility, southwest of London, is “the leading business aviation gateway” to the city. “We intend to promote our latest services and facilities,” said TAG Aviation Farnborough chief executive Brandon O’Reilly, “which include increased air transport movement capacity, hangarage for both transient and based aircraft, a new crew room with sleeping facilities and a new arrivals lounge.”
Movements at Farnborough this year have been similar to last year’s levels, with the exception of a peak during the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics. During January to June, the airport saw 10,849 business aviation movements, compared with 11,324 in the equivalent period of last year. There also were 456 helicopter movements, compared to 494 in the first half of 2011. “Permitted weekend movements are capped at 6,600 [and annual movements] at 37,000, up from 5,500 and 31,000 last year,” said O’Reilly. TAG Farnborough has approval for a phased increase of movements, rising to 8,900 and 50,000 by 2019. Some 60 aircraft are based at Farnborough. O’Reilly noted that the airport has seen a shift toward larger-cabin models.
Numbers of business aircraft flights in UK airspace had been expected to reach record levels around the time of the Olympics. Under formally coordinated arrival and departure slots for all airports in southeast England, TAG Farnborough was allocated up to 20 movements per hour during normal times of operation, according to O’Reilly. During the games, the airport was “busy,” he recalled, “particularly with head-of-state and International Olympic Committee flights. It was a particularly eventful period with the Farnborough International show ending just 12 days before the Olympic Games opening ceremony.”
Since winning the competition to run the former UK government airfield at Farnborough 15 years ago, TAG Aviation has spent more than $160 million on modern facilities and infrastructure. The company’s FBO operates as TAG Farnborough Airport and includes a main terminal, control tower, on-site radar and two three-bay hangars that offer 240,000 sq ft of maintenance, office and storage space. Half of that area comprises the recent addition to the FBO’s main capacity of a 120,000-sq-ft building that became operational last October. The new hangar was formally unveiled during the Farnborough International show in July. The facility was completed only after TAG directors had cautiously postponed expansion as the economic downturn began in 2008, five years after TAG Aviation Farnborough opened for business.
A third hangar of similar volume had been planned to join the first two, but TAG sources recently have become reserved about discussing the plan. While O’Reilly talked freely about a third phase of hangar development 18 months ago, even while the second was being completed, the airport’s viewpoint is now more muted.