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London Oxford Airport leads business aviation bounceback in Europe

The London Oxford Airport has reportedly exceeded its pre-pandemic traffic levels by 30%, both in overall and business aviation segments. Airport traffic was reporting to pre-COVID levels almost immediately after the lockdown was lifted, with the comeback led by private owners.August proved to be the airport's busiest month in 15 years, seeing 7,180 flights. James Dillon-Godfray, Head of Business Development at the airport noted that the airport has been able to retain its position as the fifth-busiest UK business aviation airport.There was a belief that business aviation would bounce back faster than the airlines. This proved true for London Oxford. In March of 2021, while UK airlines were still crippled by restrictions, the airport maintained its slot as the second overall busiest airport in the UK, said Dillon-Godfray.Professional pilot training at the airport saw a 37% increase on 2019 levels. Airways Aviation moved its flight training focus to France and Australia from the UK, but Leading Edge Aviation, new to Oxford in 2019, grew its student intake to a more than 170 headcount. It was one of the first schools to reopen during the pandemic.The London Oxford Airport will also be opening its new 63,000 sq ft. hangar in October, making this the 15th hangar available. The airport's total hangarage will be increased to over 300,000 sq ft. it will feature offices, stores, workshops, and will be able to accommodate up to six of the largest Bombardier, Gulfstream or Dassault Falcon Jet models simultaneously.Ongoing expansions include the creation of seven new ICAO/EASA/CAA-compliant helipads and a new £1m fuel farm, providing four times the previous capacity, holding 44,910 gallons of JetA, with space for an additional two 22,450 gallon tanks."We are keen to explore the introduction of SAF here," said Dillon-Godfray, acknowledging supply, availability and demand is a challenge currently, but it will improve, "especially if we can encourage the big operators to take it and lead by example when it's available."
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