Oxford Airport in the UK is being upgraded with a Category I instrument landing system and the widening of its main runway. Construction work to widen the 5,095-foot Runway 01/19 is scheduled to start in April. Runway construction and the ILS installation (with associated approach lights) should be complete by the end of June.
The airport is widening the runway by 30 meters (98 feet) to give it Code 2C classification. This will allow it to receive larger aircraft spanning up to 118 feet, including the Boeing Business Jet and Airbus Corporate Jetliner.
During the construction, the main runway will be closed four days each week from 8 p.m. on Thursday to 7:30 a.m. on Tuesday. However, the airport’s 2,500-foot Runway 11/29 will remain open during these periods.
Oxford Airport, which is owned by the BBA Aviation group, will also be enhancing its fire and rescue cover and increasing its hours of operation this year. It will also consider becoming a customs-designated airport, to make customs and immigration checks available permanently.
The airport’s main opening hours are 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekdays and 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends. In fact, extensions are routinely available by arrangement between 6 a.m. and midnight.
The airport operator is making the investments in Oxford Airport to attract more business aviation traffic, as well as regional airliners used for either scheduled services or ad hoc charters. It is located about an hour’s drive from the northwest side of London and offers convenient access to southern England and the Midlands region. The airfield routinely handles several hundred movements each day, largely because it is a major center for professional pilot training.
Oxford saw an 8-percent increase in business aviation traffic last year, with some 4,500 movements in this category (compared with just over 3,000 back in 2003). Officials with the privately owned airport are encouraged by the fact that business aviation traffic volumes continued to grow after the usual busy summer period and actually peaked in December.