London, UK – Reported by Elite Traveler, the private jet lifestyle magazine
London Oxford Airport has seen a notable increase in the number of heavy jets transiting through the airport in the weeks leading up to the London Olympics. Compared with the same period last year it welcomed 180% more Gulfstreams, Global Express and Falcon 7X aircraft, and saw its first use by Boeing Business Jets due to a London airport reaching capacity. The BBJ, at 77 tonnes, is the biggest aircraft ever to transit at London Oxford Airport.
These heavy jets accounted for over 50 slots, destined primarily for the USA and Middle East. The surge in traffic follows investment by the airport’s owners in 2007 to improve its runway bearing strength, allowing it to accept aircraft such as the 55-tonne Embraer Lineage (EMB-190) and larger Airbus types on a regular basis.
With London Oxford Airport’s new Thales radar going live at the beginning of July, this summer’s Oxford-bound traffic has also benefitted from 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% increase in what is normally the quieter ‘holiday season’. The only central London landing site permitted for private and chartered helicopters during the Games, the Barclays London Heliport welcomed visitors including Games sponsors and corporate guests.
“We all were waiting to see what the ‘Olympics effect’ was going to be this summer,” said James Dillon-Godfray, Business Development Director. “Despite the fact that many UK-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.
“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 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.”
London Oxford Airport and The Barclays London Heliport are wholly owned by the Reuben Brothers. Their investment activities include private equity, real estate ownership and development, which are predominantly based in the United Kingdom and Europe. Businesses include shopping centers, mixed use commercial real estate, data centres, race courses, public houses, hotels and other development projects. The heliport at London Battersea is the UK’s only CAA licensed heliport and a 20-minute helicopter ride from London Oxford Airport.