The airport’s growth is far outstripping that of the business aviation market in general, both as a gateway to London and Europe and as a center for maintenance, repair and overhaul of business aircraft, notes Biggin Hill business development director Robert Walters.

While overall traffic has remained flat this year amid worries over Brexit, movements are trending toward heavier, busier jets, with a 16% increase in big aircraft over the past 12 months, says Walters. “That’s really helpful, as for every landing we’re earning more.” Investment continues in infrastructure such as a long-awaited precision approach for Runway 03 and a GPS overlay for Runway 21 to bring instrument landing capability to both ends of the main runway; a third hangar; and refurbishment of the terminal. MRO business on the airport continues to expand (about a dozen companies there include Bombardier and Textron authorized service centers), and a new hotel and an aviation training college are underway.

“The airport is becoming more resilient, more professional” as it becomes better known both to pilots choosing a UK gateway and to local authorities, who view it as an asset to job creation in the local economy, Walters says (more than 1,300 people work at businesses on the airport). And this year Biggin Hill strengthened its management team with the hiring of its first operations director.

“We’ve got a really good partnership with the local authority,” says Walters. “There is very positive planning support for what we need to do to grow the airport and to create this ultimate business cluster, which provides an ecosystem that really underpins our business aviation activities.”

Walters notes that Biggin Hill and the UK’s other dedicated business aviation airport, Farnborough,  now account for 55% of London’s business jet traffic as a growing airline industry continues to squeeze capacity at Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted and Luton. “Only Biggin Hill and Farnborough and, to a point, Oxford can offer the degree of certainty, service levels, and infrastructure that a business aviation operator is looking for.

“It’s now incumbent upon us to make sure that we offer all the things that people will want.”