Once the site of the UK’s first powered flight, TAG Farnborough Airport is now Europe’s leading private business airport
TAG Farnborough Airport is a key gateway for prominent business decision makers flying to and from the UK, located less than 40 miles from Central London. The airport is currently preparing for a busy 2012, which includes the London Olympic Games and the Farnborough International Airshow, highlighting how this former military airstrip has transformed into a state-of-the-art facility that is raising the bar for business aviation.
The home of powered flight
Considered the birthplace of British aviation, it was at Farnborough on October 16, 1908 where the pioneer Samuel Cody became the first man to conduct a powered flight in the UK. The site was then used during the First and Second World Wars as a military airstrip and was also home to the Royal Aircraft Establishment (RAE), an aircraft research and development centre. Many innovations from the RAE have left their mark on aviation worldwide, including the development and testing of the Hawker Siddeley Harrier and Concorde.
TAG Aviation won a bid to take over the site in 1997 and TAG Farnborough Airport began operating as a bespoke airport for corporate and private jets in 2003. The airport is still the biennial host to the world’s leading airshow, the Farnborough International Airshow. As the UK’s only dedicated business aviation airport, continued investment and a commitment to bespoke service have helped TAG Farnborough Airport to lead the way in successfully meeting the demands of its customers.
This singular focus is in itself unique, as Brandon O’Reilly, CEO of TAG Farnborough Airport, explains: “Farnborough is the only airport in the whole of Britain that has been specifically developed with corporate aviation in mind. Every other airport in the country is a hybrid, either a commercial airport with business aviation as a part of its operation, or a small aerodrome with light aircraft and flying lessons taking place.”
The perfect package
More than £100m of investment by TAG Farnborough Airport has transformed the site over the last ten years, with state-of-the-art facilities and infrastructure to cater specifically for the needs of business aviation.
“We have designed the airport to give our customers what they want most: privacy, ease of access and business services,” explains O’Reilly. “We are able to offer our customers complete privacy, as you can only enter the airport if you are arriving or departing from the facility. We have a seamless service with no check-in desks or baggage carousels. In fact, 65 percent of people flying to or from the airport never enter the terminal building. For those who do however, we have the latest audio-visual meeting facilities on-site as well as a first-class concierge service.
“With our bespoke offering, we believe we can meet the demands of every one of our customers. For those with private jets, the airport is a one-stop shop offering hangar facilities, maintenance, fuelling and cleaning services. We also have the Aviator Hotel conveniently located on-site. Our latest addition is a second three bay hangar, which offers more aircraft hangarage, storage and office accommodation.”
Since commencing operations in 2003, TAG Farnborough Airport continues to thrive and expand. After a period of public consultation, in February 2011, it was granted approval by the UK Government to increase the number of permitted aircraft movements. This allows it to phase in an increase from 28,000 to 50,000 movements per year through to 2019.
“We work closely with our neighbours, business partners and the local community in and around Farnborough,” says O’Reilly. “Together with local residents, we have introduced a ‘Quiet Flying Programme’, aimed to develop noise reduction initiatives and encourage the operation of aircraft as quietly as possible. We are also involved in many community schemes and support local charities. ‘Aviation to Education’ is a programme which aims to educate local school and college students about aviation. Another successful initiative is the ‘TAG Flying Scholarship’, where we provide funding for a local student to obtain their Private Pilot’s License.”
TAG Farnborough Airport is preparing for an exciting year in 2012 with the London Olympic Games, the Paralympics, Farnborough International Airshow and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. “Farnborough is an ideal facility for sponsors, foreign dignitaries and diplomats, thanks to its privacy and proximity to London. We are dedicated to making the best first impression of the UK when these guests arrive, and the best parting impression when they leave,” concludes O’Reilly.