TAG Aviation to build new executive

 - October 12, 2006, 8:47 AM

The TAG Aviation board of directors has approved the construction of a new operations and executive terminal building at Farnborough. The complex will include a terminal with full passenger and crew amenities, as well as extensive office accommodation for based operators. Work will begin this month, and the facility is scheduled to open for business in early 2006.

Once the building is complete, the TAG operations team will move to the new facility from the temporary structure that it is currently using.

TAG has already built about 120,000 square feet of hangar accommodation at Farnborough, where it has 18 acres of ramp space. It has also built a new ATC tower and has made substantial investments in the airfield, which it operates under a 99-year lease from Britain’s Ministry of Defence.

According to TAG Aviation CEO Roger McMullin, Farnborough is expected to log up to 19,000 aircraft movements this year, a 20-percent increase from the 2003 total. The airport is currently restricted to an annual limit of 28,000 movements, and TAG expects to reach this number in about four or five years. Its longer term goal is to prove to the local people that the modern business aircraft that use the airport have become sufficiently environmentally friendly to merit an application to increase the total number of movements.

TAG is seeking to develop Farnborough as a dedicated business aviation gateway along the lines of Paris Le Bourget Airport. With this in mind, it has attracted tenants such as FlightSafety International, which is now building a new training center at the airport.

Last year TAG acquired independent maintenance contractor Fasett, which it has renamed TAG Farnborough Engineering. TAG is investing in staff training to support moves to expand its third-party repair and overhaul business.

Speaking to AIN at July’s Farnborough airshow, McMullin said that there are signs of a “significant recovery” in TAG’s U.S. aircraft management and executive charter business. He pointed to a firming up in used aircraft prices as further evidence that business aviation demand is bouncing back.

At the same time, in Europe TAG is looking to reduce the number of charter aircraft that it owns from around 11 to 5. “TAG SA [its Geneva-based subsidiary] is the only area of our business where we have owned aircraft and we now want to manage aircraft instead,” explained McMullin.

The TAG chief executive added that it has recently sold half of its 50-percent stake in the CitationShares fractional ownership program to its partner Cessna. New U.S. restrictions on foreign ownership of executive charter aircraft precipitated the move. McMullin said that there are no plans to expand CitationShares into Europe.