UK Plans Dedicated Airspace for 2012 Olympics

 - October 1, 2011, 12:40 AM
At the Business and General Aviation Day at Cambridge Airport, attendees learned that they must secure slots early for next year’s Olympics. Cambridge will be one of several UK airports to remain open 24/7 through the event.

The UK’s National Air Traffic Services is proposing to establish a new airspace structure specifically to accommodate business aviation during the period around the 2012 London Olympic Games. The Civil Aviation Authority and other agencies overseeing aviation arrangements for the Olympics are considering the proposal, and confirmation of further details is expected in November.

Airspace across a wide area around the UK capital is to be segregated between a restricted area and a prohibited area over central London. This will apply from July 14 to August 15.

At a special seminar on arrangements for the London Olympics held as part of the Business and General Aviation Day (BGAD) event at Cambridge Airport in late September, operators also heard that they must soon start applying for slots that will be required for arrivals and departures at airports across southern and eastern England between July 21 and August 15. The UK government also has granted approval for some general aviation airports to open around the clock, and these will include Cambridge, Northolt, Lydd (also known as London Ashford) and Southend.

London-area airport and FBO managers told the seminar that they will require non-refundable deposits to take slot bookings to prevent operators making block bookings to guarantee arrival and departure times. Those who are unable to book early may well find that they can’t get slots at their usual London-area airport, so officials are urging operators to consider a wide range of alternatives.

Slot bookings are already being taken for the following airports and airfields: Biggin Hill, Blackbushe, Cambridge, Chalgrove, Coventry, Cranfield, Damyns Hall, Denham, Duxford, Elstree, Fairoaks, Farnborough, Goodwood, Lee-on-Solent, Leicester, Lydd, Oxford, Manston, Northampton, Northolt, North Weald, Old Sarum, Peterborough, Redhill, Rochester, Shoreham, Southend, Stapleford, Truxton, White Waltham and Wycombe.

Beginning November 30, slot bookings will open at Stansted, Birmingham, Luton and Bournemouth. Reservations won’t open until Feb. 1, 2012, for Southampton and for London City Airport, where it remains unclear whether business aircraft will be able to operate since it is located so close to the Olympic stadium.

So far there have been few details as to how landing fee and handling rates will be bundled. However, David Macdonald, private jets director with the Air Partner broker group, said that there are already concerns about price gouging for services during the Olympics.

More details and updates on aviation arrangements for the London Olympics can be found at the CAA’s special website: www.airspacesafety.com/olympics.