Biggin Hill Airport will continue to focus on its business and executive passengers after bosses abandoned plans to operate mainline scheduled services from the south east London airport.
Jenny Munro, managing director of Biggin Hill, announced the airport’s expansion plans had been ditched shortly after it made a submission to the Department for Transport consultation on the UK’s future airport policy. Biggin Hill currently caters for helicopters, regional airlines and executive jets, with its strong transport links to central London proving particularly popular with business customers.
The airport’s plans to set up a mainline scheduled passenger service were drawn up in 2005, but Munro said it had since become clear that airlines usually wish to operate flights from airports where they have already established a base.
Munro said: “The airlines generally want to operate to and from airports where they already have operational bases. There is still some space for them to grow at London’s mainline airports, if capacity is used wisely. It is our recommendation that Biggin Hill should therefore build on its successful and now well-established position as London’s executive airport, serving the business, executive and general aviation needs of the capital and the local community.”
Biggin Hill had hoped to operate flights outside its regular opening hours, which are 6.30am to 10pm on weekdays and 9am to 10pm on weekends, during the Olympic Games. However, its request was turned down by Bromley Council in August. Some 1,741 people responded to a public consultation on the plan, with 1,046 voting against the longer operating hours.
Munro believes that the airport will be best served by sticking to its niche of providing services to business customers for the time being.
She said: “London needs to be readily available for international business leaders to reach us easily, equally for our business and industrial pathfinders to efficiently interact with new and existing markets abroad. Regardless of the ultimate solution, there will be no significant increase in capacity in the London area for 10 to 15 years at best.
“We must therefore be sure that wise use is made of the runway and airspace capacity that we already have, in order to protect London’s competitive position for as long as possible. Biggin Hill Airport’s role within that is to continue in its proven and successful niche as the only specialist executive airport in London, consistently offering flexibility, service, speed and efficiency to our customers.”