While many European airports saw traffic decline last year, Lyon Bron airport bucked the trend, experiencing 7.7-percent growth (to 5,818 aircraft movements) in business aviation traffic over the first 11 months of 2012, according to local statistics. Numbers at the Europe-wide level indicate a 4.69-percent drop in business aviation traffic over the same period.
“We belong to those rare European airports with a positive trend,” airport manager Eric Dumas told AIN. He attributes the airport’s numbers to the dynamic economy of the Lyon region and the steady activity of Bron-based operators. Last fall Dumas organized an educational event for potential business aviation users, such as local entrepreneurs and company top executives.
Local officials see the growth of new business and planned construction projects as further reasons for optimism. Lyon Bron has three new operators: Wijet, JetCorp and Aerojet Corporate. As of November, Bron serves as a third base for Le Bourget-headquartered Citation Mustang operator Wijet, meaning Bron customers will not pay positioning fees. Wijet operates four Mustangs and is to add another two by year-end. Wijet features a flat hourly rate of €2,200 ($2,900).
JetCorp operates two Beech King Air 90s and hopes to add one Mustang to its fleet. Aerojet Corporate operates four Falcon 50s and 100s.
Over the next couple of years, two new 43,000-sq-ft hangars are slated to be built. One will be for Bron-based business aircraft, up to the size of a Boeing BBJ3, Dumas explained. The second hangar will be for BCA, a maintenance firm (in the Jet Services group) that specializes in Beechcraft and Cessna work.
An existing hangar is now posing a problem that is keeping Dumas and his team busy. The H8 hangar, inaugurated in 2010, now has only one of its five doors working. The other four are immobilized in closed position “for safety reasons,” an airport spokeswoman told AIN. Obviously this makes operations much less practical for the business aircraft (up to nine) that are parked in the H8. The spokesperson said she had no time frame for a solution, as liabilities are still being researched.
Dumas estimates business aviation accounts for 150 jobs at the airport.