11 SEPTEMBER 2017
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Last week the London Assembly passed a formal notice “to campaign against RAF Northolt (NHT) becoming a commercial airport.”
It was introduced by Andrew Boff, an unelected Conservative member who lives in Hackney and whose past history includes failures to gain election in local and parliamentary voting.
Mr Boff is wrong in that Northolt is not a commercial airport. It certainly is but limited to 12,000 private jets per annum. He says it is closed. Again wrong and has similar limited hours to London City Airport, which is the civil operator. It is also the home of Number 32, the Queen’s Squadron. He said when speaking to the Assembly that it was being prepared for “larger jets”. He has not done his homework. Who is pulling his strings?
NHT is due to close sometime next year for 12 months whilst the runway is resurfaced. Other complementary work is being carried out at the same time.
The RAF’s “larger jets”, he speaks of can only operate into Heathrow and similar military and scheduled airports with much longer runways.
BTN believes that following the closure NHT needs to be reopened as an airline airport for quiet regional flights from provincial airports that cannot offer Heathrow services until Runway 3 is completed. The noisy executive jets should not be allowed to return with plenty of alternative London airports available, including London City itself, Biggin Hill, Farnborough, Oxford, Southen and Stansted.
Changing the status will be good news for the Exchequer, who currently subsidies the airport, the local community with a job and trading requirement, and of course the regions with quick connections to London. From a communications point of view it will help the MOD too, offering flights to places within the UK difficult to get to by road or train.
Sadiq Khan is known to be pragmatic when it comes to London and its airports and should look at Northolt carefully. Andrew Boff needs to resign.
For a NHT summary read still largely up to date
All comments are filtered to exclude any excesses but the Editor does not have to agree with what is being said. 100 words maximum
Bryn Elliott, UK Waltham Abbey Essex
There is another aspect to this. Very recently the National Police Air Service [NPAS] were seeking to go to Northolt with their operation currently at Lippitts Hill Epping Forest. It looks as if they were rebuffed as they now have approached Epping Forest to move into North Weald. The number of movements requested? 20,000pa! That would blow a big hole in the slot availability you quote for Northolt.