All welcome at Blackbushe!
Noting the ‘desperate need’ for quality GA and business aviation facilities in the South of England, a new management team at Blackbushe Airport is seeking to attract more aircraft owners to base their aircraft there, where new hangars and other facilities are planned in a two-phase development programme.
GA pricing has been made more competitive, microlights are now welcome (previously there was a ban on them) and there is a new ‘more customer-service focussed’ team in the Tower. Blackbushe has plenty of tie-down space available and a permitted development application was submitted in February for six new temporary hangars. The fuel contract comes up for renewal in June, and “initial indications suggest a substantial reduction in fuel prices is achievable,” says Airport Manager Chris Gazzard.
He notes that, in the past, some people had come to regard Blackbushe as being unwelcoming to light aircraft and even ‘anti GA’. He and his team are anxious to dispel that impression: “General Aviation represents 98% of our movements… Whilst we have ambitions to encourage larger aircraft and maintenance facilities to support them, realistically, these movements will always account for a small proportion of our traffic.”
Plans are in hand for an instrument approach that will be appreciated by both business aircraft operators and suitably
qualified private pilots. In the medium term the intention is to erect new permanent hangars and buildings to accommodate on-site maintenance facilities. One stumbling block is that the land on which the airport sits was registered as common land in the 1960s, and this prevents the airport’s owners from erecting fences, constructing permanent buildings, or rationalising the layout of the airfield. An application submitted last October to correct the registry and remove the common land status of the active airport has met with objections from local residents, who perhaps do not understand that the large area of land to the north of the active airport, including two disused runways, is not included and would remain common land. The application is now waiting referral to the Planning Inspectorate. Let’s hope for the viability and future of this important GA facility that it is granted. For further information visit: blackbusheairport.co.uk
Artist's impression of the new airport buildings planned for Blackbushe
New permanent hangars are part of Blackbushe's long-term plans