Toulouse offers new business airport

 - May 31, 2011, 7:40 AM

Officials at Toulouse Francazal Airport (LFBF) in Toulouse, France expect to see more business aircraft at the field at the end of this month with the opening of a full business aviation terminal. Located in what used to be a command post, it will feature a hall, VIP lounge, bar, restaurant and crew rest facilities. Refueling is expected to be available as well. A former military base, the airport opened to civil traffic in January.

Toulouse Francazal’s promoters emphasize that the airport is conveniently located southwest of the city (in light traffic it is about a 15-minute drive from the center of Toulouse), while the main airport, Blagnac, is northwest of the city. The new airport has a 5,900-foot runway but no ILS, and the airport’s promoters hope there will soon be Egnos-based procedures for precision approaches at Francazal, independent of ground equipment. (Egnos is the European equivalent of the U.S. Waas GPS augmentation system.)

Bertrand Bilger, CEO of the firm that operates the airport under a contract with the French civil authorities, said Parent company SNC-Lavalin is hoping to turn the current one-year renewable contract into a more permanent one when the authorities launch a request for proposals. Bilger also wants to develop maintenance facilities at the airport. Several hangars are already in place to accommodate large aircraft.

As of last month, SNC-Lavalin had eight employees at Francazal, including four AFIS agents. Only light piston aircraft and army transports (which still occupy part of the ramp) were using the airport pending the opening of the business aviation terminal.