30 NOVEMBER 2015
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Flybe has applied to the Ministry of Defence for permission to operate from RAF Northolt. The timing is interesting with the cabinet committee meeting this week to discuss the Airports Commission’s report on R3, a new runway for the South East. Northolt is not part of the review but its location and possibilities cannot be ignored. The response from the MOD is non-committal. (See COMMENT today and 19 October for the full background).
RAF Northolt is 15 miles west of central London and about eight miles from Heathrow central area, T4 and T5. The nearby South Ruislip station has quick and cheap rail services to town, and westward to Bicester and Oxford.
About two-thirds of its current air traffic is business jets, with the rest RAF and government flights. Flybe’s thinking is that flights to and from the regions will open up routes not currently serving Heathrow for connecting flights and easy access to London and the M4 corridor. The plan would be to fly twice a day to five destinations with Glasgow Prestwick, Jersey, Liverpool, Newquay and Teesside airports all keen to welcome flights. It has the support of Heathrow Airport Ltd.
The bonus for the government is an increase of direct MOD revenue and for the London Borough of Hillingdon and South Ruislip less noise with Flybe operating the Bombardier Q400 turboprop. www.flybe.com www.raf.mod.uk/rafnortholt
All comments are filtered to exclude any excesses but the Editor does not have to agree with what is being said. 100 words maximum
Laurie Price, Melbourne
What a pity its taken Flybe so long to resoind to the unique NHT opportunity. I am sure that without the initiative and persistence of BTN and others, it would never have happened. Its going to need to go to three rotations a day to 5 points to achieve economic utilisation and maximise connectivity.