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Biggin Hill Airport To Cut Light Aircraft Activity

Biggin Hill Airport has informed its landlord Bromley Council that they are actively looking to reduce the overall volume of light aviation at the Airport.

They anticipate that light aviation movements will decline from approximately 35,000 movements annually to around 12,000.  In order to achieve this reduction, we understand that the Airport have now served notices to terminate the leases of the resident flying schools, with informal discussions going on for some time now, and with the Airport already having the agreement of nearby light aviation aerodromes, Redhill, Surrey and Damyns Hall Farm, Essex, to accept these businesses should they choose to relocate.

The Airport also said that this was a difficult decision for them to take given the longstanding nature of some of the training schools, but that they are no longer able to mix a high volume of light aviation with growing business aviation whilst maintaining high levels of customer service and all importantly, flight safety.

Credit: FreeImages.com/paul campbell

For the avoidance of doubt and for clarity, the Council has stressed that the Lease and the controls within it, including the Noise Action Plan, remain in place and are not affected by the Airport’s decision.

Residents living under existing light aircraft flight tracks, particularly in and around Keston, should notice the reduced volume of aircraft fairly quickly as the changes come into effect over the next 6 months or so with related training flights stopping.

In terms of overall movement numbers, the Airport envisage that in this time period aircraft movements will decline from around 50,000 movements per annum to somewhere around 30,000 movements per annum.

Backing Noise Reduction and Jobs at Biggin Hill

Residents are set for new, effective noise controls on air traffic to and from Biggin Hill airport. The new measures are being planned in response to the airports bid for longer operating hours.

Last Wednesday night your local councillors voted in favour of the Council’s proposed negotiating stance on Biggin Hill Airport’s request to increase their operating hours.


The airport’s proposals are to open later on weekdays – until 11pm – and for longer hours at the weekend and public holidays – from 6:30am to 11pm on Saturdays and 8am to 11pm on Sundays and public holidays. They have also proposed reducing their current ‘cap’ on annual movements (flights) from 125,000 to 50,000 and tighter restrictions on hours for single engine light aircraft and flying training.

They are also proposing modifying the current ‘shoulder hours’ – the periods at the start and end of the day – to allow a maximum of 8 flights in each period – currently there is no limit on the number of movements, only a condition that any such aircraft must be based at the airport.

The council, however, although agreeing in principle to a change in hours, is putting forward alternative proposals reigning back the airport’s suggested weekend and public holiday hours to the later start time of 8am and an earlier closing time of 10pm on Sundays and public holidays.

Crucially, Bromley is also insisting on enforceable noise limits – which have not been possible under the current lease and the technology available when it was originally signed.

These new limits will require the airport to carry through their promises to raise the altitude of the flight paths and approach paths, and constant, publicly accessible monitoring. The airport has also requested the removal of the ‘stacking’ beacon at the airport, which is responsible for many of the larger aircraft seen in the borough’s skies.

The new hours will provide the conditions that prospective new businesses at the airport need to invest in the area and provide – according to the airport – up to 2,300 new jobs over the next fifteen years.

In parallel to these developments, the borough has brokered talks between the BHAL, Bromley College and other parties with a view to setting up a specialised precision engineering college at the airport.

The council and airport will now enter detailed negotiations around the hours, enforcement mechanisms, financial arrangements and other issues, with any final proposals being subject again to public scrutiny.

What are they up to at Biggin Hill Airport?

BHAL screenshot fbBiggin Hill Airport are asking for residents’ view on their plans for the future – you can have your say at http://bigginhillfuture.co.uk.

Many aspects of their proposals will depend on the Council’s agreement, but they have made clear they have no plans for scheduled flights or any significant increase in the number of flights.

Also, some open days are being held at the Biggin Hill Airport visitor centre, at Maitland View, off Churchill Way, to see the consultation plans. The centre will be open from Monday, October 13, to Friday, October 17, from 3pm to 7pm, and on Saturday, October 18, from 10am to 2pm.