The London Heliport at Battersea, the capital city’s only commercially licensed heliport, achieved its best year for activity since 2008 with over 10,500 movements recorded for the year ending 31st March, 2016.
A high proportion of growth was attributable to business movements. There was an uptick especially, in private users during 2015, including the prolific weekly departures from King Power’s Agusta A109, complementing Leicester City FC’s ascension to top flight football. Significantly, around 20% of movements were inter-lining with business jet flights, according to General Manager Simon Hutchins. The top airports for connections last year included London Stansted, London Luton, London Oxford Airport and Farnborough.
The heliport also marked its 500,000th movement at the end of last year as it prepared to take local vicinity VFR air traffic control inhouse, with its own staff. NATS provide the wider London area service from whom the heliport receives inbound flights and transfer outbound traffic. This was completed in February 2016 with a view to improving the service and becoming more responsive. VFR ATC staffing had been previously outsourced.
London is consistently in the top 10 of cities to do business in and as a result the landscape of the city is ever changing. London Heliport management has made it its duty to be mindful of the process of planning approval for the many tall buildings (and the cranes associated with them whilst under development) in critical areas of London in order to safeguard helicopter access to and from London. “We have done this not only out of self-interest as a business providing a valued landing site for commercial air transport and privately-owned helicopter operations, but also for the public service, military and diplomatic users, for whom the London Heliport is of crucial importance,” Simon Hutchins said.
While this March was relatively quiet owing to an early Easter and lower temperatures in the Middle East encouraging regular clients to stay in the UAE for a little longer, looking further ahead the Heliport is starting to take bookings for Royal Ascot, Goodwood and the British Grand Prix. It takes less than 35 minutes to fly from The London Heliport to Goodwood; 15 minutes to Ascot in Berkshire and 35 minutes to reach Silverstone. Farnborough International Air Show week in July is also very popular where senior executives from the top tier aerospace companies like to avoid the heavy motorway traffic.
With the London Heliport’s co-ownership with London Oxford Airport, clients benefit with some notable incentives, including a 50% discount on landing fees, if they use both airports together.
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