Signature Flight Support has resumed handling of all helicopter traffic into London Gatwick Airport, coinciding with the reopening of the helicopter aiming point (HAP) on May 3. The opening of the HAP after a 12-year hiatus allows operators once again to land helicopters at Gatwick without having to taxi on the runway. The new HAP is located at the end of Taxiway Uniform on the airport’s west side. Slots are still required for landing, and the HAP is for daylight use only when visibility is better than 1,500 meters.
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.
Weston Aviation has added another location to its growing chain of UK FBOs. The latest facility at Tatenhill Airfield and St. Georges Park Executive Aviation Centre is adjacent to the new National Football Centre near Burton-on-Trent, which opened last month. Given the airfield’s location, the new FBO will provide quick and discreet access to St. Georges Park. The new location brings the company’s stable of FBOs to five, with the others located at Durham Tees Valley, Humberside, Newquay Cornwall and Robin Hood Doncaster Airports.
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.
Cessna Aircraft christened its first Cessna-owned Citation Service Center today in the UK at Robin Hood Airport Doncaster Sheffield. The newly acquired 50,000-sq-ft facility, which has been rebranded as the Doncaster Citation Service Center, offers a range of services from maintenance to modernization and paint. Previously known as Kinch Aviation Services, the business has operated for 15 years and been a Cessna authorized service facility for the past four. The UK operation becomes the fourth Cessna-operated Citation Service Center in Europe.
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.
London’s Stansted Airport is set to get a fourth FBO, with The Diamond Hangar scheduled to open in time for the start of the 2012 Olympic Games on July 27. The new venture is trading on the Aero Toy Store brand, and its main shareholder is Ben Shirazi, son of the U.S. aircraft sales and completions group’s founder, Morris Shirazi.
Welcome to the much improved London Southend Airport, where upgrades over just the past year have launched the quiet airfield squarely into the competitive ranks of airports serving the greater London area.
One of the airports most conveniently placed for access to the northeast side of London, where the main Olympic venue is situated, is Stansted. Located right next to the venue, London City will be in high demand, and airports such as Southend, Luton and Biggin Hill also are likely to prove popular with business/private aircraft operators and owners.
Britain’s Ministry of Defence might sell its RAF Northolt air base in the west London suburbs as part of aggressive budget cuts. The airfield is already used for limited business aviation operations, and these could potentially increase if the property is sold to a company wanting to operate it as an airport. However, if Northolt is sold for some other commercial purpose, then the airport could be history. The options are due to be considered as part of a wider review of UK airport capacity to be launched in the spring.