It's a race right now to book flights into London-area airports before the Olympics. In preparation for the arrival of the world's athletes and spectators, an Airspace & Safety Initiative is being instituted. This plan will help organize the large volume of air traffic heading into the England.
The NBAA reports, UK “National Air Traffic Services anticipates up to 3,000 additional business aircraft operations, 150 flights carrying heads of state, 700 additional charter flights and up to 1,500 helicopter operations related to the Olympic Games.” These numbers are great news for business aircraft operators, but the slots are limited.
Robert Walters, business development manager at Biggin Hill Airport, said their airstrip receives 21 slots an hour. The slot allocation system will be in effect during the period of July 21 through Aug. 15. The program allows all non-scheduled flights to reserve a spot to operate at airports in the restricted zone. Aircraft that have undergone crew, passenger and baggage screenings in accordance with the security program will be allowed in the prohibited zone, which is closer to Olympic venues.
To reserve a slot, flight planners can organize their itineraries by using the site, www.olympics.airspacesafety.com. The 100-page Airspace & Safety Initiative manual is also available for download at the site to “navigate pilots through the various security and operational. With all the excitement surrounding the games, there is good reason to welcome the airspace restrictions in place for the duration of the Games and welcome the convenience of private air charter services.
“The Olympics are a good avenue for revenue,” said UK-based aircraft charter broker, Christian Borchardt, despite the increased airspace restrictions. ”Europe in general seems to be picking up pace with charter flights...it does look as though we are all due to benefit from increased levels of work,” he added.
All in all, the Olympics are a dynamic venue each and every time despite the “ getting there”.
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