The London-area Farnborough Airport has been capitalizing on the 2011 lifting of the number of movements it can receive annually. According to the dedicated business aviation gateway’s owner and operator TAG Aviation, traffic increased significantly during 2012, and not just because of the biennial Farnborough International airshow in July and last summer’s London Olympic Games. Last year, the airport—located 35 miles southwest of downtown London—received 24,000 movements, which was still well within the increased annual limit of 37,000 for 2012. This movements ceiling has risen to 41,000 for 2012 as it progressively increases to 50,000 in 2019. “The Olympics resulted in a significant spike in movements at Farnborough, especially for aircraft carrying heads-of-state, IOC [International Olympic Committee] members and sponsors,” Brandon O’Reilly, CEO of TAG London Farnborough Airport told AIN. “We have seen some of these aircraft return to Farnborough after we were able to demonstrate why the airport is such a good choice.”
In time for last year’s Olympic Games, TAG completed construction of a second set of three-bay hangars providing an additional 240,000 sq ft of parking, maintenance and office space. During a period of heavy snow that hit the UK last week, the airport was able to accommodate all requests for hangar parking.
According to O’Reilly, each of the last six months of 2012 saw traffic increases over the same periods in 2011 with the growth continuing after the Olympics. As of January 18, the first month of 2013 was almost 6 percent busier than January 2012. Farnborough has seen the most growth in the largest category of aircraft (50 metric tons and above, e.g. the Boeing Business Jet), for which movements last year were 44 percent higher than in 2011
Now TAG is focusing on its efforts to boost the airport’s environmental credentials. From January 1 it imposed its own ban on all aircraft that don’t meet Stage 4 (equivalent to ICAO Chapter 4) noise limits. This excludes, among others, the Beechjet 400, Hawker 700, Cessna Citation V and some versions of the Dassault Falcon 50 and Falcon 20.
TAG’s wider environmental goal is for Farnborough Airport to be carbon neutral by 2019. It is reducing carbon emissions by reducing energy use for needs such as heating and also provides fixed electric ground power points to avoid the need for visiting aircraft to run their APUs.