London RAF Northolt Airport – Business Aviation Destination Guide
Among the many London-area airport options in the greater London area, RAF Northolt (RAF/EGWU) stands out for business aviation operators due to its proximity to Central London.
Northolt is a military airport managed by the Royal Air Force. Because it is an active military airport, it is highly secure while also offering more privacy and less congestion than other airports in the region. It is also an extremely easy airport to operate in and out of. Historically Northolt was a little tricky to get in and out of for some operators. In 2021, Universal Aviation UK partnered with the Royal Air Force to be the sole FBO and ground handling provider at Northolt. Since that time, Universal Aviation UK – London Northolt has focused on making Northolt an easier, more accessible option that business aircraft operators will want to use as an alternative to other more congested airports close to the city. In May 2021, Northolt announced extended hours, making it an even more appealing option for business travelers. Here’s what you need to know about operating to Northolt.
Northolt is the closest business airport to Central London
Being just 35 minutes from Hyde Park, Northolt is London’s closest business airport to Central London. It is also a great option for making crew swaps due to its proximity to Heathrow. Northolt to Park Lane Central London is 30 minutes by car. The same journey from most other London airports would take over 1 hour 30 minutes. Northolt also has capability for quick turnarounds allowing drop off of pax for business in Central London and then repositioning the aircraft to an alternative airfield in London if necessary.
Northolt operating hours
Effective May 17, 2021, Northolt’s Monday-Friday operating hours were extended by three hours daily from 0800-1700 to 0800-2000 local. The additional hours are a result of Universal Aviation UK – London Northolt successfully worked with the Royal Air Force (RAF) as part of ongoing efforts to give business aviation operators more flexibility when using the airport. In preparation for COVID restrictions easing and the return of high-traffic events in Summer 2021, Universal Aviation has also worked with the airport to open from 1200-1900 local on two specific Sundays: June 13 and July 11, 2021. Universal Aviation is continuing to work with the RAF to add additional weekend operating hours moving forward. The new operating hours better accommodate business travelers needing to get in and out of Central London the same day, as well as crew and passengers needing to connect with commercial flights at London Heathrow Airport, which is just eight miles away.
Slots and PPR
Northolt is a military airport requiring both slots and PPR. In some cases, operators are able to apply for a PPR in the morning and receive approval later the same day. Note that military operations always take priority here. Your landing/departure permission may potentially be rescinded or delayed due to military or government movements. Northolt has an annual cap of flight movements and while this has not been exceeded over the past couple of years, there are occasional days when no airport slots are available.
Northolt’s runway is 5,535 ft. and larger aircraft — the size of an ACJ, BBJ or larger– may not be accommodated due to limited fire coverage.
Long-term parking is available at Northolt – no limit on parking. Crew/pax need to be aware that no access to aircraft if parked over the weekend. Weekends are currently closed. Universal Aviation UK – London Northolt can assist with repositioning and long-term parking at London-Stansted (EGSS), which operates 24/7.
Handling & Equipment
In January 2021, Universal Aviation UK – London Northolt became the sole provider of over-the-wing handling and belt loader operations for baggage loading and unloading at the airport. It also manages all business and private aviation within the airport’s terminal, including the General Aviation Terminal, reception, lounges, and the security screening area. Universal Aviation UK – London Northolt has its own baggage loader, VIP vans and baggage transfer vehicles. Universal Aviation UK – London Northolt can also help support local documentation that needs to be completed such as GAR’s. Previously, operators had to complete this on their own. For more information on this location, including a 360 view of the FBO, visit Universal Aviation London-Northolt online.
There are multiple hotel options between 10-35 minute drive from Northolt and 10-25 minutes from Heathrow.
Private car and driver are available for hire. Helicopter transfers can be arranged. You can get a free quote for ground transportation through Universal-Drivania Chauffeurs. Northolt is also less than a mile from a stop on the London Underground with connections to multiple rail options for travel within the city. Universal Aviation UK – London Northolt provides transportation to to the metro stop.
There are no fuel issues at Northolt, however, for the period of COVID-19 fuel is available from 0730 – 1930 with flexibility if required. Fuel can be purchased on account or paid directly using credit card.
High quality catering options are available. For assistance with in-flight catering, Air Culinaire Worldwide can help.
Northolt is an active Royal Air Force base, so security is greater than at a regular airport. The upside to this, however, is using this location provides a greater level of privacy and security and is a discrete way to access the city.
Universal Aviation UK – London Northolt has streamlined procedures to expedite arrivals and departures whilst satisfying the regulators and Royal Air Force. This includes a fast and efficient transfer from curb to ramp with established procedures in place.
Northolt Airport is the best airport option for business aviation operators with business in Central London due to its proximity to the city. It is also located nearby Heathrow Airport, making crew swaps easy. Recent increases to the airports daily operating hours now make it easy for operators to fly in and out for same-day business in Central London.