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London Oxford Airport shows steady growth in 2012

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Recent developments include the addition of two, home-based Global Express aircraft, now available for charter with Hangar8 plc.
London Oxford Airport retained its status as one of the UK’s top tier airports for business aviation in 2012.  In terms of movements it is now ranked fifth in the Eurocontrol’s annual statistics report, handling more business aviation traffic than Stansted and London City Airports. Speaking at the airport’s pre EBACE Show briefing on 1st May Managing Director Andi Pargeter confirmed that daily bizav movements since the UK’s pre-recession peak in 2007 have grown by  98%.

Recent developments include the addition of two, home-based Global Express aircraft, now available for charter with Hangar8 plc. Once based at Farnborough Airport, these jets open up long-range charter opportunities out of London Oxford Airport for the first time – with popular destinations such as Washington, Chicago, New York, the Caribbean or Mumbai, India now easily attainable from Oxford. Charters to Washington DC and Bahrain have already been undertaken. London Oxford Airport has also experienced a growth in residency of other Bombardier aircraft including Challenger 603, 604, 605 models in addition to  Learjet 45 and 35 types, all supported with home based line and base MRO support.  In addition, Hangar8 recently gained approvals to provide maintenance support on the Global Express with their Oxford-based EASA-145 MRO operation, first established last year.

James Dillon-Godfray, London Oxford Airport Business Development Director commented: “Over the past few years the airport has ramped up its capabilities to cater for larger business jet types, investing in ground handling equipment, higher fire and rescue capability (now Cat 6 RFF).  In 2011 we increased the licensed take-off distances of the runway, so now permit longer range missions for aircraft such as these Globals. These aircraft bring the wider world to Oxford's front door with charter clients now benefiting from minimal positioning fees, lower home-based costs compared with most of our London region peer airports and improved opening hours. Helicopter operations in and out of London’s only commercially licensed heliport in Battersea, Barclays London Heliport, are also encouraged to interline with jets at Oxford with the offer of 50% landing fee discounts at both ends.  Both airports share common ownership.

New tenants moving in
Cessna, the newest tenant company at London Oxford Airport, recently opened a sales office headed by Regional Director, Steve McKenna. The move follows a consolidation of the European sales dealership network and UK representation at the close of 2012. “'Oxford is a natural home for us. It is an expanding business aviation centre with excellent links to the capital and importantly remains particularly GA-friendly, which, for our customer base is essential with the continued economic pressures within the industry,” McKenna said. The move sees Cessna representation return to the airport after five years when it previously had both dealership and authorised service centre presence at the airport through former CSE Aviation.

Whilst AirMed has been a resident at Oxford Airport for nearly 30 years and is better known for its air ambulance provision, they are also rapidly expanding their Cessna Authorised Service and Part Sales Centre. They are specialists in the Caravan 208 and older Cessna single-engine piston models. 2012 saw an increase in their parts sales of nearly 500% compared with 2011 and they have been duly recognised for this achievement by Cessna. Later in 2013 they will be performing the first ever UK conversion of a C208 on to floats.

Another new name at the airport is world leader in training services, CAE, which took over long established Oxford Aviation Academy (OAA) in December. OAA recently added four new Cessna 182s to its training fleet at Oxford, each equipped with Garmin 1000 EFIS flight decks. These were specifically acquired for use on the MPL courses including those for low cost carriers Easyjet and Flybe.   CAE and Piper recently announced the intent for the company to acquire 35 brand new Piper aircraft to replace the remainder of the fleet, also Garmin 1000 equipped.

CAE Oxford Aviation Academy is now the largest ab initio flight training network in the world with the capacity to train more than 2,000 cadets per year across 11 flight schools on five continents.

Oxfordjet marks fifth birthday
Jetex Flight Support, the Dubai, UAE-based flight support and handling specialist opened a new flight planning lounge at the airport’s Oxfordjet FBO for crew. In an exclusive arrangement with the UK airport, the ‘Jetex Lounge’ features new furnishings, and aeronautical wall charts with three visiting pilot PCs. The Jetex-supplied computers link directly to their flight planning systems, whilst also hosting generic flight planning software packages for crews to be able to do swift, stand-alone assessments of route options whilst on the ground at Oxford. The partnership with Jetex, the airport’s first external partner, forms part of a wider strategy to attract new customers, in particular those from the Middle East and the US. The development also coincides with Oxfordjet’s fifth birthday this year.

Regional airline services help the evolution
Complementing its regular business aviation activity, London Oxford Airport is starting to evolve its scheduled activity with the recent addition of niche regional airline services. In March the airport welcomed 50-seat Fokker 50 services from Minoan Air, which has also opened a base office at the airport in support of new scheduled routes to Edinburgh and Dublin.  Both London Oxford Airport and Minoan Air collectively created some 20 new jobs in support of the new routes.  Both routes are steadily building up and the airport is in advanced dialogue with another operator about additional domestic flights this summer. “Passengers flying scheduled services from London Oxford, just like business aviation clientele, can duly benefit from the fact that our airport is small and our focus on customer service means we can board all our passengers speedily.  “Pretty much for every flight now, the bags are waiting for the passengers before they get to the terminal on arrival too,” said Minoan Air’s Marcos Caramalengos.

London Oxford Airport and The Barclays London Heliport will be exhibiting at EBACE 2013 – Booth Number 1857
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