Wednesday, January 25th, 2012
It’s been a dismal 24 months for London’s already overcrowded business aviation operators. But there’s sunshine on the horizon in the form of the 2012 Olympic Games. The Games were promoted as a regeneration project to benefit ordinary Londoners, but we’re all old enough to know that the best seats in the house will go to international dignitaries, business big wigs and a circus act of celebrities – with the means and the taste for touching down in the UK in style. There has been much concern in the bizav community over the likely restrictions to their operating airspace (from July 13 to September 12 2012, there will be an inner prohibited airspace zone and an outer restricted zone, about 60 nautical miles across, centred on the Olympic Park). But the UK Government has at least this week granted approval for a number of general aviation airports – including Northolt, Cambridge and Southend – to be open around the clock. The race for slots at these locations is set to begin imminently. Given that rock-stars don’t keep tidy diaries, operators might need to take some gambles on bookings. The real gainers could be the FBOs, who will charge premium pricing and non-refundable deposits.