Pre-Olympic rush spurs spike in heavy jet traffic at London Oxford
Aug. 8, 2012, London, U.K. - London Oxford Airport reported a notable increase in the number of heavy jets transiting through the airport in the weeks leading up to the Olympics in London.
Compared with the same period of last year it welcomed 180 per cent more Gulfstreams, Global Express and Falcon 7X aircraft and benefitted from the fact that with one London airport full, it saw its first use by Boeing Business Jets. The BBJ, at 77 tonnes, is the biggest aircraft ever to come to Oxford Airport.
These heavy jets accounted for over 50 slots – headed primarily for the U.S. or Middle East and endorsing the investment by the airport’s owners in 2007, to improve its runway bearing strength, enabling it toregularly accept aircraft such as the 55-tonne Embraer Lineage (EMB-190) and larger Airbus types.
With Oxford's new state-of-the-art Thales radar going live at the beginning of July, this summer's Oxford-bound traffic has also benefitted from notable enhancements in approach procedures and speed of access to the airport with separation times between inbound aircraft more than halved, safely allowing a much higher throughput.
Sister airport, The Barclays London Heliport, also reported a notable increase in activity in the week before the Games, a 63 per cent increase in what is normally the quieter 'holiday season' period. The heliport welcomed new visitors, including Games sponsors and corporates taking advantage of the fact that the heliport is the only central London landing site permitted for private and chartered helicopter use during the Games. In June, London Oxford Airport announced new incentives to halve landing fees for jets and helicopters when London Heliport originated or destined aircraft interline with jets utilising London Oxford Airport.
'We all were waiting to see what the 'Olympics effect' was going to be this summer, and despite the fact that many U.K.-based owners of aircraft booked their annual vacations or temporarily migrated overseas over the period, some putting their business jets in for maintenance, this has been compensated for by new, first time users who have come away with a positive impression about Oxford Airport and London Heliport,” said James Dillon-Godfray, Business Development Director. “Furthermore, we are still seeing that the majority of operators at both airports are booking merely a day or two ahead of schedule, so no real change in their habits.”
Oxford remains outside the Olympics Restricted Zone surrounding London which requires far tighter flight planning rules but also benefits from being outside of the London Terminal Manoeuvring Area (LTMA) which is the busiest airspace in Europe even outside of the Olympics. It also boasts better opening hours than many of its peer airports, being able to operate from 06:00 to midnight, seven days a week,” he added.