Trying to get business aviation to take root in China is no easy task, but many Chinese delegations have made their way in recent years to see TAG Farnborough Airport, according to CEO Brandon O’Reilly. The airport is unique in the UK in being dedicated to business aviation and focusing on quality, to the extent it sticks to one FBO, also run by TAG Aviation. It also has a distinctive, futuristic look with its wave hangars and matching, futuristic-looking control tower.
The UK Government’s Airports Commission reported last Tuesday that the best way to add new capacity in the southeastern part of the country, around London, would involve adding a runway at either Heathrow or Gatwick, although it kept open the possibility of an all-new airport in the Thames Estuary. “All scenarios lead to the need for at least one net new runway,” commission chairman Sir Howard Davies declared.
Operations at London Stansted Airport were disrupted for several hours on Tuesday after a Gulfstream G550 caused some damage to the ILS while landing. The aircraft touched down safely, and the UK’s Air Accidents Investigation Branch is looking into the incident. Arriving flights were delayed for a few hours until fog lifted later in the morning.
Last Thursday Gama Aviation opened a new facility at Glasgow Airport in Scotland. The inauguration of the center is well timed, with two major sporting events planned to take place in Scotland next year. Both the Commonwealth Games, to be held in Glasgow from late July, and the U.S. versus Europe Ryder Cup golf match, to be held at Gleneagles (46 miles North-East of Glasgow Airport) in September, are expected to generate a lot of business aviation and VIP traffic.
UK air navigation services provider NATS has started a 14-week “consultation” process through January 21 to gather comments from airlines and other interested groups on proposed airspace changes surrounding Gatwick and London City airports. The consultation marks the first step in a wider program of proposed changes under the UK Civil Aviation Authority’s Future Airspace Strategy, an ATC modernization plan for the UK and Ireland.
Several airports billing themselves as “London-area” are hoping to secure more business aviation traffic to the British capital, putting them in competition with those normally associated with the segment such as Farnborough, Luton and Biggin Hill. While Oxford has carved a niche and Cambridge has upped the ante with respect to business aviation, airports such as Lydd and Southend have also entered the fray as their wider development activities have made them more appealing–and they have started to attract business aircraft.
The world’s three leading airline alliances have signaled their unwillingness to relocate from London Heathrow Airport in the event that a government-appointed commission proposes the development of a second hub airport for the UK capital.
Britain’s skies are filled not so much with aircraft noise as with the sound of grinding axes, as regional airports vie for audibility during the latest UK government reconsideration of aviation strategy. Forever perceiving themselves as poor relations to major London-area facilities, some of Britain’s local airports (especially in central and southwestern regions) have taken to denigrating competitors, all the while proclaiming their respective “connectivity” to airline networks.
Harrods Aviation (Booth No. 4263) is here at the NBAA convention promoting its helicopter transfer service from London-area airports such as Biggin Hill, Farnborough, Luton and Stansted to the London Heliport at Battersea in the west of the city. The company believes the operation, which provides easy access to London’s West End, is virtually unknown among U.S. corporate travelers. When flying into Stansted or Luton airports, visitors can take advantage of the amenities at the Harrods FBOs.
Despite dire warnings about the consequences of restricted access to UK airspace and airports, overall business aviation’s part in London’s Olympic Games seems to have gone smoothly. In fact, those dire predictions proved overstated, and the event appears not to have resulted in as much of a boost to the industry as it might have expected.
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