Oxford Airport

Steve Jones, Managing Director of Oxford Airport recently formally opened the £2.5 million ultra modern terminal building. This brings the total investment in the Airport to over £15 million over the last three years.  Steve Jones, Managing Director of Oxford Airport recently formally opened the £2.5 million ultra modern terminal building.

The investment brings the airport, dating from the late 1930s, firmly into the 21st century reflecting a diversification away from pilot training and into new opportunities. This supplements a wider and re-surfaced landing strip and electronic state of the art Instrument Landing land regardless of the weather conditions.

Despite only being authorised in February, the business terminal was completed on time and to budget by Wates Construction, using some of the latest off-site manufacturing technology from Modular UK. The main structure was delivered in 23 trucks and then assembled on-site in just days.

The location of the airfield means that business users can land and be in London quicker than by using rival airfields, closer to the capital. Currently regularly used by motor sport, bio tech and finance businesses, further blue chip companies will be attracted to use the airport and to consider relocating locally due to its presence.

Pilot training still takes place; the flying school has 160 staff and 250 students, but the fleet of 75 trainer planes has been reduced to just 11, supplemented by 16 simulators. This has also resulted in a drop in air movements; there are now fewer than at any time in the airfield's history.

In addition to the pilot school, there are a further 540 jobs on site. These have been created by attracting organisations such as Eurocopter and Hawker Beechcraft, both of which provide specialist technical services to the aviation industry.

As to the future, the focus will stay on the niche markets of private use and private charter. This is based upon recognising the value of time to busy business people; a train journey to Edinburgh would take at least 6 hours one-way, involve changing

trains at least once and probably an overnight stay.  A chartered flight would see the same person in central Edinburgh within 2 hours and back home the same day, thus increasing productivity and offering a potential cost saving.

Revenue is currently generated from landing fees, fuel sales, building rental and storage of around 60 privately owned aeroplanes.  Further commercial development of the site is hoped to provide employment for more skilled and trainee engineers. There are concerns about long term skills availability in aero engineering; thus expansion in Kidlington could provide opportunities for local training providers and residents.

James Dillon-Godfray, Head of Marketing and Development for Oxford airport says "Oxford airport will make the area far more attractive to blue chip companies. We offer the busy business person a real opportunity to maximise their time and enhance their productivity. Several existing tenants already want more space and there is a possibility of a CAA accredited centre for maintaining aircraft. Talk of creating an "Aero Space Centre of Excellence" here is not far fetched and with suitable support could become a reality over the next 5 to 10 years."

Oxford airport can be found in Langford Lane Kidlington, for more information, go to its website at www.oxfordairport.co.uk.