25 APRIL 2011
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Willie Walsh and the tens of thousands of pilots who have trained at Oxford Airport over the last 50 years will just about recognize the place, but Kidlington, as it is known locally, is expanding. However somehow it still retains the aura of a small grass airfield, albeit now with a 1592m runway that can take full public transport aircraft up to the size of an Embraer 190 or Avro RJ. The professional pilot training school continues with a 450-student throughput, although most of the flying is done these days in the (much cheaper) USA.
In a pre-EBACE presentation at the airport last week James Dillon-Godfray, Airport Business Development Director, noted that the impressive investment by the Reuben brothers' ownership is continuing with £12m spent on the site to date. Well over £7m is earmarked for 2011 including £4.5m for new primary and secondary radar and a complete facelift for the airport entrance which includes a 12,000sq ft office block. Mr Godfray said that for the year to date business aviation movements were up 18% as against 5% across Europe. www.oxfordairport.co.uk
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