FlightSafety Boeing Training International (FSB) opened its UK training center at London Luton Airport on July 27. The 35,000-sq-ft facility is equipped with a pair of Boeing 737-300 flight simulators, a 737-700/800 unit and a 757 device.
Counties of England
At the European Business Aviation Conference and Exhibition (EBACE) in late May, Signature Flight Support announced plans for a new $2 million FBO at Southern France’s Toulon-Hyeres Airport (on the Côte d’Azur) and generous $7.5 million expansion of its facility at London Luton Airport. In Toulon, the new facility is part of a joint effort with the city’s chamber of commerce to attract business aviation.
The BBA Group sold its Signature Aircraft Engineering rotorcraft maintenance business and Signature Helicopters charter operation to the UK’s McAlpine group for an undisclosed sum. The companies, which are based, respectively, at Blackbushe and Denham Airports in southern England, will be combined with McAlpine’s existing aviation services subsidiaries with annual revenues of around $23 million.
Both FBOs at London Luton Airport are making plans to expand their facilities. Business aviation traffic levels and the average size of aircraft handled are continuing to increase significantly at the gateway, which is 30 mi north of the UK capital.
Delays of airline flights out of UK airports during the first quarter increased to their highest level in a decade. According to the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), the number of scheduled services that were more than 15 min late increased to 29 percent of total departures. At London Luton Airport, delays in excess of 15 min were experienced by as many as 42 percent of departures.
Signature Flight Support expects to open its new 74,000-sq-ft hangar at London Luton Airport this month. Alongside the new facility is a 10,000-sq-ft office unit, and about half of this space has been rented to based corporate operators to date.
A further 5,000 sq ft of accommodation is also being built for completion by the end of July, and this will be available for stores or more offices.
Aviation–and more particularly business aviation–is increasingly becoming the dominant component in the portfolio of UK public company BBA Group. The London-based group aviation holdings on both sides of the Atlantic now account for close to 60 percent of its worldwide business (out of approximately $2.3 billion total revenues recorded last year).
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.
An extensive “restructuring” of Boeing’s Alteon Training subsidiary will see the company close four training centers, redistribute assets to other centers and open a new facility in Shanghai to house the first Boeing 787 simulator in China. The facilities marked for closure include Long Beach, Calif., Dallas, Texas, Kunming, China and Luton, UK. Boeing expects to close the two U.S. centers and the Chinese facility in December.
Pratt & Whitney Canada has opened an 8,000-sq-ft facility about 10 miles from London Luton Airport. It is dedicated to servicing, repairing and conducting hot-section inspections on PW300s, PW500s and JT15s. The facility will act as the base for a mobile team for field repairs.