Private Aircraft Slots for UK Olympics Will Go Fast

Business aircraft operators planning to fly to the UK for next summer’s Olympic Games are being encouraged to make early requests for mandatory landing and takeoff slots at airports in what will be heavily restricted airspace in southeast England. The UK’s Department for Transport (DfT) has said that for 31 days from July 16, 2012, private or charter aircraft will present a challenge to airport capacity across the region, which lies under one of the world’s most crowded airspace. Therefore, coordination of all airport runway slots in the region is seen as the only way to manage the expected levels of traffic without the danger of demand “bunching.” New measures have been proposed to control the flow of traffic for capacity and security reasons. The DfT has identified almost 30 airfields within an approximate 120-minute road- or rail-journey time of the main Olympic Games site in east London that have capacity for additional private or charter aircraft. There is no provision for extra GA movements at London Heathrow and Gatwick, the regional airports at Bournemouth and Manston or at the Northolt military air base. More than 110,000 movements during the 31-day Olympics peak period are expected in the London area.

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