With new hangar under way, Biggin Hill continues expansion

 - October 13, 2010, 6:59 AM

London Biggin Hill Airport has just started construction for a new 55,000-sq-ft hangar adjacent to its main ­passenger terminal. The move is part of a wider expansion plan that has already seen the increase of available ramp space to some 500,000 sq ft and which should also see the addition of a hotel at the site and a new aerospace academy.

The new hangar should be ready to open in the spring of 2011 and the privately owned airport is already laying plans to build a new terminal building. Part of the motivation for this is the desire to avoid its facilities seeming antiquated alongside the new FBO just opened by Qatar-based Rizon Jet. ­Visiting operators now have the choice of three handling providers–the airport itself, Jet Aviation and Rizon, which is also active in both the Middle Eastern and European aircraft charter and management sectors.

Also looming large on the horizon for Biggin Hill is the prospect of acting as a private aviation gateway to the London Olympic Games, which start less than two years from now on July 27, 2012. Here at the NBAA show (Booth No. 1833) the airport is giving away Olympic travel planners, providing aircraft operators detailed advice on access to the UK capital during the event.

By the time of the London Olympics, Biggin Hill hopes to have opened a new hotel at the site. It already has planning approval for the project and is in the final stages of securing a joint-venture partner.

UK aircraft charter and management operator PremiAir recently established a new base at Biggin Hill, after it purchased several Bombardier Learjet 45s and took over the lease on a hangar, workshop and office complex from Gold Group International. It also acquired specialist workshop equipment, tooling and aircraft spares previously owned by Air Partner Private Jets. 

Meanwhile, Formula 1 Management, the corporate flight department of Bernie Ecclestone’s Grand Prix car racing group, is establishing new facilities at Biggin Hill, having been based at the airport for several years. This will free up space for newly announced plans to establish an aerospace academy at the site in pursuit of its new status as one of London’s new strategic development centers for job creation. The academy would provide training in areas such as aircraft engineering, avionics, information technology, operations and ground services.