Aviation International News- 25th April 2018
London Oxford Airport, 55 miles northwest of the UK capital, and other business aviation airports are benefitting from runway slot restrictions at other airports serving the British city. In fact, the airport has recorded the second-highest growth among 10 such British business airports since the onset of the 2007 recession.
With an increase of 32 percent in business-aviation departures, Oxford is outranked only by London Stansted’s 35 percent improvement and is the fifth-busiest UK business aviation airport and one of Europe’s top 20 such facilities. London Luton, which boasts five FBOs, sees the UK’s largest number of business-aviation departures, albeit some 17 percent fewer than in 2007.
Luton and “a few other London-centric” locations have become “increasingly squeezed for slots, to the benefit of airports like us,” said Oxford business development head James Dillon-Godfray. He sees late-night opening as a helpful factor. Unlike other peer airports, Oxford is able to operate to midnight seven days a week.
An increase last year in numbers of large-cabin business aircraft movements is continuing, while 20 percent growth in helicopters handled is said to show no sign of slowing. Indeed, rotorcraft activity will be boosted in May when an air-ambulance operation moves to Oxford.
With 25 business jets based at Oxford, and continuing demand for hangar space for these and visiting aircraft and helicopters, the airport is planning further major expansion (beyond current construction). The doors to a new 16,000-sq-ft hangar—large enough for a Bombardier Global 7000, plus offices—are scheduled to be hung this week and space is being allocated.
The airport, which hosts seven companies offering maintenance, repair, and overhaul services and two pilot-training schools, plans next year to open a 101-room hotel to cater to aircraft owners, flight crew, and training cadets, along with their friends and families.
On the operational front (and in coordination with related plans from the nearby military Brize Norton air base), Oxford has proposed enlargement of its controlled airspace to introduce LPV200 precision approaches (roughly equivalent to Category I instrument landing systems) and, possibly, additional approach lights on one runway for improved poor-weather operability.
Under its shared ownership with London Heliport at Battersea, Oxford offers a 50 percent discount for customers using both airports. It also reports its fuel provider Air BP, with which it will share a stand at EBACE (Booth B29), selling close to 4.5 million liters (about 1.2 million U.S. gallons), primarily to aircraft weighing more than eight tonnes.