Queen Elizabeth’s Funeral impact on London Ops

PT 4 M minute read

The death of Queen Elizabeth II is a historical event of international significance, and her funeral is anticipated to draw an estimated 120 Heads of State to London. The influx of traffic will also include 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, congestion and some delays may occur.

Funeral to be held Sept. 19, 2022

The Royal Family has announced the Queen’s funeral will be held Sept. 19, 2022 at 1100 local time at Westminster Abbey.

Day of Funeral (Monday, Sept. 19) Will be a UK Holiday

Monday, 19 September 2022, has been declared a public holiday in the United Kingdom to celebrate the life and mourn the passing of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth ll.  The Airline Licensing and Foreign Registered Aircraft Permit Department will therefore close at 16.00 BST on Friday, 16 September 2022 and re-open at 09.00 BST on Tuesday, 20 September 2022.

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 Her Majesty’s funeral. 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 Sept. 16-18th for arrivals, with most departures taking place from Sept. 20-21st.

RAF Northolt Aiport Closure to Repatriate Queen

Universal Aviation London-Northolt has advised that RAF Northolt will be closed from 2000 local Sept.11th until 0800 Sept. 14th, as it used to repatriate the Queen from Scotland to London.

Some Airports Will be Busier Than Others – Work Closely With Your Team for the Best Options

As we’ve experienced during previous high-traffic business aviation events, such as the Summer Olympics in London, some airports will be much busier than others over the next 10-12 days.

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 2012 Olympics.

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.

Potential Disruptions

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, coming off the busiest July ever, which saw peak traffic higher than it did during the 2012 Olympics.

Road Closures Primarily in Westminster

Be mindful that there will be heavy disruption with some limited road closures starting around Sept. 16th as the funeral parade 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 pay their respects, 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 Queen’s death and funeral 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.

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