Runway extension provides new milestone for Gloucestershire Airport
Gloucestershire Airport's importance in helping to drive the county's economy has been highlighted in a new report.
Last week the airport at Staverton reached a major milestone when the Civil Aviation Authority officially published its increased runway distances – official recognition of its improved facilities.
A new report by the airport spells out in detail the business that is being generated.
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Although only 12 metres of additional Tarmac have been laid at the airport the removal of obstacles nearby means the landing distances available for aircraft have increased by up to 150 metres.
This will enable corporate and business aircraft to carry better payloads over further ranges and land with more passengers aboard.
The increases are as a result of a package of safety measures the airport has implemented as part of its Runway Safety Project, which has seen houses demolished and rebuilt.
The airport's head of operations, Darren Lewington said: "This is arguably the most significant point in the project. The extra runway distances make a huge difference to the operators of the larger aircraft that currently use the airport and will generate additional business for us."
He added that with the closure of Filton airport, near Bristol, there is already additional demand from corporate aircraft.
"Being minutes from the M5, we're well placed to capture that traffic and help to boost the local economy.
"In practical terms, we're only talking about a handful of extra flights during weekdays, but these aircraft generate significantly higher landing fees and greater fuel sales than the lighter training aircraft.
"The knock-on effect in the region is also significant. These aircraft and their crews will use local taxis, hotels, caterers and other services."
The final stage of the project sees the installation of an Instrument Landing System enabling aircraft to land in bad weather.
It is expected to be functional within six weeks.
Gloucestershire Airport is jointly owned by Gloucester City Council and Cheltenham Borough Council and handles 70,000 to 80,000 flights a year.
The airport company employs about 50 people and has an annual turnover of around £4 million.
But according to the latest airport report it is also the site of about 40 firms – almost all aviation related – supporting over 550 jobs.
Businesses on site have asset holdings of more than £1.5 billion, turnover of more than £150 million and planned investment of £10 million.
There are about 160 aircraft permanently based at Gloucestershire Airport from micro lights to multi-million pound executive jets.
Since Manx2 began flights to the Isle of Man, Belfast and Jersey, 79,000 passengers have used the service.