TAG plans exec terminal for Farnborough Airport

 - October 2, 2007, 10:30 AM

TAG Aviation will start building an executive terminal at the London-area Farnborough Airport right after this year’s Farnborough International Air Show. The $20 million facility will be the centerpiece of the business aviation center that TAG has developed at the airport, which it operates under a 99-year lease from Britain’s Ministry of Defence (MoD).

In addition to accommodating visiting business aircraft passengers and crew, the 54,000-sq-ft terminal will provide further office space for based corporate operators. It will be situated alongside the existing hangar, and TAG expects to add a second hangar as traffic increases. The current hangar is now being used to about 85 percent of its capacity.

The design for the new terminal was finalized and approved by the TAG Aviation board in December. The company decided to defer the construction phase until after this summer’s airshow.

Under the terms of its MoD lease, TAG is committed to allowing the airshow to remain at Farnborough for the next 25 years. This year’s event (to run from July 19 to 25) will be the first to be held under the airport’s new Civil Aviation Authority license.

According to Ron Hedges, CEO of TAG Aviation’s UK operation, Farnborough is expected to see 17,000 business aircraft movements this year, up 1,000 from last year. The airport is currently restricted to 28,000 movements per year, no more than 2,500 of which can be on the weekends. Only 1,500 landings by aircraft weighing more than 121,000 pounds are allowed at Farnborough, with an upper limit of 177,000 pounds. This allows Boeing Business Jets and Airbus Corporate Jetliners to use the airport.

Hedges said that to have any chance of persuading local authorities to raise the 28,000-movement annual limit, TAG will have to convince them that business aircraft make good neighbors, and he predicted that this case is unlikely to be made for another two or three years. He added that the limit on weekend movements is currently a more serious constraint than the overall annual limit.