Aviation International News- 23rd May 2018
Aircraft movements at the London Heliport increased by 5 percent last year, to 11,900. Interlining with business jet flights accounted for 20 percent of that overall traffic, as operators such as Castle Air, Capital, Atlas, Halo Aviation, and Starspeed flew many passengers from London Biggin Hill, Luton, Oxford, Farnborough, and Stansted Airports to the heliport.
Other regular operators using the heliport include the London Helicopter Sightseeing Flight Co., based at Battersea and Redhill and now under the ownership and air operator certificate (AOC) of A2B Aero, which is in its sixth year of operation. The heliport saw more twin-engine operations in 2017, with the Leonardo AW169 recently becoming available for public charter for the first time with Halo and Starspeed.
The heliport recently undertook a major investment to upgrade its communications equipment, including a new transmitter and receivers to meet the new 8.33-MHz spacing regulations for VHF ground-air communications. New voice-switch and recording equipment was installed in April as part of that upgrade.
Earlier this year, a partnership agreement was ratified with the Meteorological Office to upgrade available sensor equipment enabling the London Heliport to disseminate Metar data widely to the aviation community and make official forecasting available for the first time using qualified weather observers within the heliport ATC team. Preparatory work is complete and installation of new sensor equipment commenced in April, with regulatory approval from the CAA anticipated following a three-month trial to prove the reliability of observations and the data produced. This will result in a significant enhanced weather information being available for the London heli-route system. Work also continues with the regulator and airspace manager to secure the future of the London Heliport as the airspace and operating/regulatory environment evolves and new helicopter types and technologies emerge.
The London Heliport—located in Battersea, just south of Chelsea Harbor—is the only CAA-approved heliport in London. It is approved to handle 12,000 takeoffs and landings per year and has been in operation since 1959. Located on the River Thames between Battersea and Wandsworth bridges, the heliport caters to customers requiring fast access in and out of the city. The heliport also runs its own charter brokerage.
The property is wholly owned by the Reuben Brothers, a diversified private equity and real estate company, since February 2012. Reuben Brothers’ aviation holdings also include London Oxford Airport.