While concern grew among the world’s Formula 1 teams as tire after tire burst during the British Grand Prix last weekend at the Silverstone racetrack in Northamptonshire, UK, only the warm glow of success was being experienced by London’s Oxford Airport, which was having one of its busiest weekends of the year.
With its location so close to the current home of British motor racing – a mere eight-minute flight covers the 30 miles to the track – around 20 helicopter charter companies were using it as a base from which to transport race-goers into the heart of the circuit. Helicopter transfers are popular among both VIPs and enthusiasts keen to avoid the heavy traffic that always accompanies the event. Battersea Heliport, also owned by the Reuben Brothers, reported 50 "rotations" linked to the F1 event.
Oxford recorded more than 300 aircraft movements on Sunday, June 30, the highest daily total this year including business jet flights (mainly Challenger, Gulfstream and Global Express aircraft). Fuel sales during the weekend were close to topping 100,000 liters of aviation fuel.
The airport has been encouraging customers into dual use of its Oxford and London facilities, offering a half-price landing fee discount at both ends for jets landing at Oxford then passengers transferring to London by helicopter.
The airport is also close to several of the F1 team headquarters, four of which are also Oxfordshire-based (Lotus, Enstone; Williams, Grove; Marussia, Banbury; and Caterham, Leafield). “Throughout the Grand Prix season, our airport remains a key hub for those local teams to get teams and the drivers around the world in what in one of the most travel-intense and time-critical industries there is,” said London Oxford Airport Business Development Director James Dillon Godfray.
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