Harrods Aviation (Booth No. 1939) is set to open its new, purpose-built FBO at London Luton Airport in December. The $12 million investment by the UK business aviation services group consists of a substantial two-floor building constructed around an existing hangar, with room for dedicated arrival and departure lounges and extra office space. The complex will feature 58,000 sq ft of hangar space and more than 210,000 sq ft of adjoining ramp space.
According to Harrods managing director Steve Grimes, the company has made a major commitment to Luton because the 24-hour airport–situated 30 miles north of central London–is a preferred gateway for business aircraft operators. The introduction of slot coordination earlier this year has not, in his view, made access harder outside the peak morning period of 7:45 a.m. to 8:45 a.m., but it has become essential for FBOs to set aside sufficient space for operators who would otherwise face being squeezed out by the low-cost airlines. The volume of traffic handled by the existing FBO has increased by 160 percent over the past three years.
The new Harrods FBO at Luton will offer just over 8,600 sq ft of office space on two floors and nearly 5,400 sq ft of passenger and pilot lounges. The facility will also offer flight planning offices, conference rooms and catering services. Importantly, there will also be customs and immigration services located on-site, speeding the handling of international flights.
Harrods also has an established base at London Stansted Airport–35 miles northeast of downtown–a particularly popular destination gateway with Middle Eastern clients and head-of-state flight departments. By contrast, Luton tends to be favored by transatlantic corporate and charter traffic.
On the maintenance side of Harrods’ business, it recently signed a contract with NetJets Europe to support the fractional ownership group’s fleet of Hawkers. This year, the company has handled more than one hundred 150-hour inspections on these aircraft, as well as four 300-hour inspections, 11 AOG recoveries and a total of 202 maintenance visits. This work is based at Luton, where Harrods also operates a service center for Bombardier’s Challenger and Global aircraft families.
At Stansted, it provides maintenance for Gulfstreams and Sikorsky S-76 and S-92 helicopters (for which Harrods is also sales representative). It recently completed the challenging task of installing a lavatory in an S-92. The group’s Air Harrods helicopter charter division later this year will refresh its fleet with the arrival of a new S-76 and Agusta A109 Grand.