Private jet and helicopters at London Southend Airport, an emerging hub for UK business aviation.
: In order to head in and out of London, high net worth individuals – ranging from big business owners to celebrities of repute, oil sheikhs to global financiers – often prefer to use private jets. Regal and conveniently luxurious as that might sound to the average Joe, getting it right is a challenge given the British capital's congested airspace and a constant tussle for landing slots.
For starters, business aviation died at London's flagship Heathrow Airport, and second placed Gatwick back in the mid-1990s. That left Fixed Base Operators (FBOs), or the firms who run private jet terminals, with a mere 9 other options at London's other airports. Every year, they tough it out for just over 100,000 private jet flights and counting.
Bulk of these flights – or 32% based on the latest available data – go to Luton Airport, an aviation hub that's focused more on low cost carriers these days, rather than catering to the whims and business demands of private jet owners, whom it coveted 20 years ago.
These days the man who brought business aviation to Luton in earnest back in the day, now thinks there is a much better "time, space and fuel efficient" option in town for private flights – namely his new FBO offering at Southend Airport.
While Luton is also available 24 hours a day, Grimes adds that Southend offers private jet users efficiencies of the sort they are unlikely to get at London's market leading business aviation hub. "Not just Luton, on price we can beat every other airport for private flights by quite a long way. Anyone who uses a private jet, knows it's expensive.
"We are the most cost effective solution compared to other airports. Depending on size, capacity and weight of the private jet, we could be as much as 80% cheaper than Luton, and over 50% cheaper than other rivals."