King Charles Coronation impact on London Ops
The Coronation of King Charles to the British throne will take place Saturday, May 6, 2023. The King’s Coronation is a historical event of international significance, and the event is anticipated to draw even more than the 120+ Heads of State that visited London for Queen Elizabeth’s funeral in 2022. The influx of traffic will also include hundreds of thousands of tourists traveling to London via commercial airlines.
Although this will be a hectic period for business aviation in the city, at this time, we are advising clients not to cancel any upcoming trips to the area, as we believe the city’s eight airports will be capable of handling the influx. However, as we saw with the Queen’s funeral, congestion and some delays may occur.
Coronation to be held May 6, 2023
The Royal Family has announced the King’s Coronation will be held May, 6, 2023 at Westminster Abbey.
Monday After Coronation, May 8th, Will be a UK Holiday
Monday, 8 May 2023, has been declared a public holiday in the United Kingdom to celebrate the Coronation of King Charles. The Airline Licensing and Foreign Registered Aircraft Permit Department will therefore close at 16.00 BST on Friday, 5 May 2023 and re-open at 09.00 BST on Tuesday, 9 May 2023.
With the exception of air ambulance and emergency (humanitarian) flights, UK CAA will not consider applications for Foreign Carrier Permits made during the closed period.
Foreign Carrier Permit applications should be submitted at least two working days before a flight is scheduled to depart. In accordance with guidance from His Majesty’s Government, CAA will be prioritizing Foreign Carrier Permit applications for those invited to attend the King’s Coronation. This should be highlighted in any Permit application made.
Visitors can expect all government and many public businesses to be closed.
Peak Traffic Days
Although subject to adjustment based on the exact date of the funeral, our best guess at this point is that peak traffic will the from May 4-6th for arrivals, with most departures taking place from May 7-8th.
Some Airports Will be Busier Than Others – Work Closely With Your Team for the Best Options
As we experienced during previous high-traffic business aviation events, such as the Queen’s Funeral and Summer Olympics in London, some airports will be much busier than others over during the week surrounding the Coronation.
We are anticipating London-Stansted Airport to be particularly busy. Our Universal Aviation FBO there is working closely with airport authorities and is opening extra parking using the same strategy successfully implemented to handle the influx seen during the Queen’s Funeral.
Our Trip Support teams will continue working closely with our UK office to stay abreast of the situation and advise the best options.
Key considerations will be slot availability and parking capacity, which will be subject to availability. Flexibility will be required in the days leading up to and immediately after the funeral.
Some delays are possible due to the increased congestion in the area. Despite this, London-area FBOs and ground handlers are well prepared for the traffic volumes.
Road Closures Primarily in Westminster
Be mindful that there will be heavy disruption with some limited road closures starting around May 4th as the procession route is rehearsed.
We expect congestion around the West End and Buckingham Palace. Most road closures will be in Westminster and will not fall within London’s business district.
Book Hotels and Ground Transportation ASAP
With thousands of people flooding into the city to experience the Coronation activities, we will likely see a hotel accommodation shortage. Book as soon as possible if you’re planning to be in the area during this period. The same is also possible for chauffeured ground transport. Again, book as early as possible.
Consider Tankering Fuel or Giving Yourself More Time on Departure
One potential impact could be fueling delays. Consider tankering if that’s an option, or give yourself more time to fuel on departure or where there is availability on the days before departure.
Bottom Line – Don’t Cancel, Work With Your Team For Best Options
The King’s Coronation will draw large amounts of international traffic, but there’s no reason to cancel or postpone upcoming trips to London.
The region is well equipped, but third-party services will, in particular, be under pressure with high demand and may be delayed…or sometimes unavailable. This includes security screening services, which will be in demand. Flexibility will be required.
Work with your team, and we’ll coordinate to find you the best options.