Farnborough Airport may be packed with an odd assortment of aircraft for this week’s show, but ordinarily it is strictly business. Under the ownership of TAG Aviation (Chalet K15-16), the former Ministry of Defence site has been transformed into one of the London area’s leading business aviation gateways.
Aviation in the United Kingdom
More than 50 years ago, the English Channel coastline near Selsey Bill was the location of two record-setting flights, and now this south coast of England area, more than 40 miles from Farnborough International’s flying display, is the designated destination for pilots faced with what the organizers term a “pre-meditated ejection.”
With the notable exception of business aviation, general aviation is likely to continue declining in the short term and make a slower recovery than commercial aviation over the long term, the FAA said in its annual aerospace forecast released last month.
There was no disguising the subdued, even solemn, mood of Europe’s regional airlines as they gathered for their annual general assembly in Salzburg, Austria, from October 1 to 3. At 6.3 percent, passenger growth for the first half of this year is markedly down from the double-digit growth enjoyed in recent years and, more seriously, yields are down right across the industry.
The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) is scheduled to start operations next September in Brussels, Belgium, following a September 27 ruling that gives its promoters in the European Commission the green light to actually create the agency.
The operations committee of Europe’s Joint Aviation Authorities (JAA) is pushing to get its JAR OPS 2 and 4 operating requirements adopted before the JAA is replaced by the new European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). The EASA will assume the JAA’s aircraft certification responsibilities next September.
The UK’s Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB) boasts a permanent staff of just 45 people and a seemingly modest annual budget of £4.5 million ($6.3 million). Almost three-quarters of its personnel–31 people–are accident inspectors, including four principal inspectors (two covering operations and two for engineering); 10 operations and 10 engineering inspectors; and four FDR and CVR specialists.
The Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB) of the UK’s Department of Transport, Local Government and the Regions (DTLR) lays claim to being the world’s oldest team of aircraft crash investigators, dating its origins to 1915 as part of the Royal Flying Corps (RFC).
The Lockheed Martin/U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor stealth fighter will be crossing the Atlantic for the first time in July, heading for the Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) at RAF Fairford in the UK. The aircraft will display three times at this show, but only on the opening Monday of the Farnborough Air Show that follows later that month. It will then return to the U.S.
The UK government has approved an increase in weekend movements at London-area Farnborough Airport. On March 13, TAG Aviation won its appeal against an earlier local government decision not to allow an increase from 2,500 to 5,000 movements on weekends and public holidays.