Summer changes at London’s private jet airports

At PrivateFly and in the private jet charter industry overall, London is Europe’s no.1 city for business aviation. It also has a bigger choice of private jet airports than any other city. But there are a number of changes over the peak summer months that London-bound (or London-based) clients should be aware of.

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London at sunset

No night flights at Luton & limited access at Stansted

32 miles north of the capital, London Luton has spent a number of years as London’s number one in terms of business aviation activity. But its popularity is waning, with a 4.2% decline last year (versus robust growth at Biggin Hill and Farnborough). A major factor in this was a ban on night time flights last summer – which also applies this year. Luton’s 24-hour availability was previously such an attraction (especially for ‘go now’ last minute flights).

When airlines and private jets compete for space on the same runway, private jets lose out. So Luton’s continuing growth in budget airline activity means availability for private jet customers has become an issue at peak times, and private jets cannot operate at night, between 22.00 and 06.00, from June 1 to September 30.

London Stansted is also offering a very limited number of night flights to business aviation over the same period (just ten slots per week) – so should also be avoided for flights operating after 22.00.

Private jets at RAF Northolt airport

London RAF Northolt is offering less availability this summer.

Northolt closed until November

London’s RAF Northolt is closed altogether this summer. It shut its doors from the beginning of April and will reopen on November 11th. This is for a £23 million runway resurfacing work, including improvements to drainage new arrestor beds to improve safety – extending the life of the current runway by 10 to 15 years. So clients who enjoy its privacy and central location will need to go elsewhere for the time being.

Farnborough & Biggin Hill remain popular

With these issues at Luton, Stansted and Northolt, rivals Farnborough and Biggin Hill will benefit from increased demand this summer. Both saw strong growth last year – up 14.6%% and 11.9% respectively, and, as dedicated business aviation airports, do not have to compete for runway space with airlines.

Both Farnborough and Biggin Hill have increased their availability and opening hours over the past couple of years – but are not available 24-hours. Farnborough is open until 22.00 on weekdays, and 20.00 at weekends. Biggin Hill slightly later – until 23.00 on weekdays, and 22.00 at weekends.

Biggin-Hill-750x500

London airports with 24-hour access this summer

So for those clients looking to fly in or our of London late at night, the best option is London Southend, which currently offers unrestricted access to business aviation.

With the limited late night access elsewhere, it will appeal to those customers looking to fly in or out at a late hour. And the airport’s new Stobart Jet Centre, which launched earlier this year, is making the Essex airport more attractive in many other ways.

Our expert Flight Team are available for advice and pricing, for any private charter flight to or from London this summer. You can contact us 24/7 on 020 7100 6960.