A new executive aircraft handling operation was launched last month at the London-area Royal Air Force Northolt base (EGWU). Premier Service is being offered through the new Northolt Handling joint venture between Regional Airports Ltd., which owns Biggin Hill (EGKB) and Southend (EGMC) airports, and Serco, which operates a line-maintenance facility at the airfield.
Northolt has a single 5,540-ft runway and its hours are restricted to between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. weekdays. Outside these hours, including all weekends and holidays, a 75-percent premium is imposed on landing fees. For aircraft of up to a five metric ton (11,023 lb) maximum takeoff weight, the standard landing fee is £149.89 ($210). For larger aircraft, the charge is calculated at £29.98 ($42) per metric ton (2,200 lb) so that a Dassault Falcon 50EX, for example, would pay $756 in landing fees.
To receive Premier Service handling, operators must secure a landing permit directly from the RAF Advance Tasking office at Northolt (telephone +44 20 8845 2300, fax 8841 9307). Slots, technically, are not required. The airfield is limited to 7,000 civil movements per year and is frequently used for flights by Britain’s royal family. Northolt Handling intends to offer Biggin Hill or Southend as alternative airports to corporate crews who cannot get a landing permit at a convenient time.
On their first visit, customers pay an annual Premier Service membership fee of £40 ($56). On top of this, handling fees are levied on a sliding scale starting at £80 ($112) for aircraft up to 10 metric tons (22,000 lb) and running up to £140 ($196) for aircraft weighing more than 20 metric tons (44,000 lb). Aircraft parking is charged at £4.79 ($6.71) per hour, plus £0.27 ($0.38) per metric ton.
The handling fee covers all standard services, with the exception of items such as de-icing and aircraft cleaning, which are billed separately. Up to six passengers are included in the basic fee and extra passengers are charged at a rate of £8 ($11.20) each.
Northolt Handling personnel have been provided by Regional Airports Ltd., which already runs established executive handling operations at both Biggin Hill and Southend. Premier Service customers are accommodated in Northolt’s operations building.
The RAF base is located 12 mi west of central London and three miles northeast of Heathrow Airport. Biggin Hill is about 12 mi southeast of downtown, while Southend lies some 36 mi east of the city.