London Biggin Hill Airport is seeing more traffic during the Covid-19 pandemic with the help of the London Heli Shuttle. Biggin Hill is currently registering more than 1,000 aircraft movements per month and reported its busiest-ever August, with an 18 percent increase in year-over-year aircraft movements; in September, there was a 5.6 percent increase in traffic compared with 2019 levels, according to Biggin Hill’s head of marketing, Andy Patsalides. He called the shuttle “integral to our success.”
The shuttle provides six-minute direct service to central London Battersea Heliport from close-in Biggin Hill, offering passengers contactless transport, including last-mile “bubble” travel. Once transatlantic travel resumes, the London shuttle can provide seamless last-mile travel thanks to a 2018 “air bridge” partnership established with AAG, which provides Sikorsky S-76 helicopter service between Teterboro Airport and the East 34th Street heliport in Manhattan.
The London shuttle is an on-demand service operated by Castle Air at a fixed price of £2,300 (not including VAT). The shuttle has a dedicated, airport-based fleet of six twin-engine helicopters, six-passenger Leonardo AW109s, and 12-passenger AW139s that fly single- and dual-pilot under IFR and VFR. Complimentary door-to-door chauffeured car service provided by Lloyds of Bromley to the client’s final destination in London is included in the price.
In July, Biggin Hill launched its contactless travel initiative that allows passengers to arrive in terminal 10 to 15 minutes before the flight with limited contact with other people and compliance with all Covid-19 safety measures. They include strict disinfectant, health check, and distancing measures for all people and aircraft moving through and around the airport; two-meter separation markings, minimizing personal contact between passengers and with staff; and the use of personal protective equipment throughout the airport.
Passengers passing through the facilities are provided with Covid-19 safety kits including gloves, hand sanitizer, tissues, and masks. London Heli Shuttle aircraft are fitted with special protective windows that separate pilots from passengers, and the shuttle also issues Covid-19 safety kits to all passengers.
Patsalides said continued growth at Biggin Hill will drive further development at the airport. “Our vision is to be London’s pre-eminent full-service business aviation airport and a leading center for aviation technology and enterprise. As part of this vision, we have several long-term expansion and development plans on the go, including a new FBO building and control tower, a new aerospace and technology college, and a hotel. As seen with Bombardier’s new 250,000-sq-ft service facility at the airport, there is the ability for businesses to grow at London Biggin Hill, and we will support that in any way possible.”