This is a post by author Jason Hayward. Jason is General Manager for Universal Aviation U.K. – London-Stansted. Jason is an expert on business aircraft operations in the UK and can be contacted at email@example.com.
This business aviation blog post is part of a series on operating to the London Fashion Week.
London Fashion Week is held twice a year, in both fall and spring, and its part of the “Big 4” international fashion weeks. It brings the who’s who of the fashion world to London, together with a large quantity of business jets in supporting roles. This season’s event–debuting the upcoming Spring/Summer trends–runs Sept 15-19 at assorted venues in the London area, primarily West London and the Strand district.
If you are operating your business aircraft in the area during this time (even if not specifically for this event), the following is an overview of what you need to know:
1. Airport options
London is served by six general aviation (GA) friendly airports, providing professional and comprehensive support and handling services to transient operators. Stansted (EGSS) and Luton (EGGW) are a 60-75 minute drive to the West End depending upon traffic, while Northolt (EGWU) and London City (EGLC) are even closer to the fashion runways. Biggin Hill (EGKB) is also a good option, although on the other side of the city, and Farnborough (EGLF) is about a 90 minute drive to the primary fashion venues.
2. Airport hours and curfews
The only 24-hour GA friendly airfields in the London area are EGSS and EGGW. All other airport options have restricted hours of operation, although all six are airports of entry (AOEs).
3. Parking availability
September is a busy time in the London area, for both tourism and business, and this can mean limited parking options and crew accommodation possibilities. EGLC has a particularly limited parking ramp, and you may only be able to drop and go at this location.
EGWU, being military air base, requires several days lead time to organize access with parking approvals generally more restrictive than other airports. While EGWU occasionally runs out of GA parking availability it’s usually possible to obtain extended parking here, with prior arrangement.
EGGW also runs out of GA parking from time to time and can be a very expensive proposition in terms of parking charges. While EGSS has a large GA ramp, and seldom fills up, this is now the third busiest airport in London, after Heathrow (EGLL) and Gatwick (EGKK). Meanwhile, EGLF usually has GA parking availability, but this is a Stage 4 airport with restricted operating hours. In general, we recommend three to four days lead time for parking requests in the London area.
4. Hotels and local transport
London Fashion Week takes place during a busy period for both tourism and business. While many preferred hotels in central London sell out, there should be no problem locating acceptable crew accommodations. Plan on 4-star room pricing between 250-500 £/night. Accommodations can be sourced based on crew preferences and budget. For example, some crew like to stay in central London while others may prefer a country hotel close to a golf course. For local transport in London the underground tube system is convenient and safe, as are black London taxis. You may also want to consider UBER or have your ground handler arrange transport between the airport and hotel.
5. Catering considerations
The London area has some terrific caterers who primarily service the GA market. While there are good in-flight catering options to be had at all airports there are no issues in bringing catering from hotels/restaurants through security and out to your aircraft, assuming this is coordination with your handler.
London Fashion Week traditionally attracts a great deal of business aviation traffic. It’s important to begin making parking and accommodation arrangements as soon as schedule is known. Be aware of the airport options in the area and how that may affect your operations regarding operating times and parking to name a few.
Stay tuned for Part 2, which covers permits, airport slots, customs and immigration when traveling to London for Fashion Week.
If you have any questions about this article or would like assistance planning your next trip to the U.K., contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Jason Hayward
Based in London, Jason Hayward, general manager for Universal Aviation U.K. – London, is an expert on ground support and operations into the United Kingdom. He’s been with Universal since 1997 and has more than 25 years’ experience combined in aviation handling and operations. A native of the U.K. and veteran of the Royal Air Force, Jason has been instrumental in helping establish Universal Aviation offices around the globe. Jason is also an expert on coordinating operations and handling for special events and was Universal’s point person for the 2012 Games in London. He’s shared his insight on operations and special events with many industry publications. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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