18 April 2012 – Airports Executive & VIP Aviation International
London Oxford Airport now ranks among the top five UK business aviation airports, according to latest Eurocontrol statistics. In March it ranked just behind London City Airport, in 5th place. This is based on its handling of close to 6,000 annual business aviation movements, year to date. Comparing March 2011 with March 2012, London Oxford Airport saw a 9 per cent growth, while year to date growth is 12.2 per cent. Currently, it is handling 42 per cent more business aviation traffic than London Stansted.
Over the five years since it was acquired by the Reuben Brothers in 2007, London Oxford Airport has experienced phenomenal growth with its daily business aircraft departures increasing 116.67 per cent, making it the fastest growing of any business aviation airport in the UK. The only other mainland-UK airport to show an increase in movements during this period is Bournemouth Airport, which achieved a 37.21 per cent increase.
The airport is also host to a variety of maintenance support providers on nearly all business and general aviation aircraft, including PremiAir (Hawker and Beechcraft); Air Med (Cessna Service Centre, plus Piper and Learjet approvals; EBAS (Bombardier Challenger/Global series); Hangar8 plc – Hawker/Citation/Falcon/Challenger; Eurocopter (UK HQ); Embraer Executive Jet Services – Phenom family, Legacy line support; OAA (Piper, Socata, Cessna).
The airport’s growth has been backed by consistent investment in infrastructure and hangar facilities and during May 2012 will go live with a new radar, supplied by Thales UK, under project management by NATS. Representing an investment of some £4.5 million along with a completely new communication system upgrade. It is amongst the most modern and sophisticated radar system available today. The primary and secondary (Mode-S, MSSR) surveillance radar system will enable more efficient transits through local airspace as well as increase the throughput of IFR flight activity (from nine minutes to under three minutes’ separation). Oxford can now follow air traffic movements half way up the county, beyond London out to the Thames Estuary, south as far as the English Channel and to the west over Wales.
The runway’s licensed lengths were increased by up to 21 per cent last year. Additionally, runway strength was reassessed at a PCN of 38 making it suitable for use by a number of heavier business jets. The airport is now routinely visited by larger jet types, including the Embraer Lineage and Avro RJ. The enhanced runway length enables longer-range private jets such as the Globals, Falcon 7X and G550 family to undertake transatlantic flights on a commercial basis.
The London Heliport (TLH), which London Oxford Airport’s owners, purchased earlier this year will not be slot constrained during the Games. It will benefit from an exemption to the no-fly zone during the Olympics, meaning a large number of dignitaries and other VIPs will be able to use the London Heliport as an easy access route. However, any helicopter departure for TLH that connects from an arriving business jet will need to get a slot booked in advance at their business aviation airport. The only CAA licensed heliport in London, the London Heliport boasts an established client base and a newly developed terminal and VIP lounge offering excellent facilities.