Fairoaks under threat; proposed Government airfield support
The All-party Parliamentary Group for General Aviation (APPG) has pledged its support for ‘Fairoaks 2020’, the volunteer campaign group fighting a plan to close Fairoaks Airport and create a 1,000-homes Fairoaks Garden Village on its Green Belt site. In late November Fairoaks 2020 lodged a formal objection to Surrey Heath, Woking and Runnymede Borough Councils
and has stepped up its campaign, canvassing local residents and releasing a new ‘Keep Fairoaks Flying’ video at: youtu.be/ SRUO0B3FZYA
“We do not believe that such a large development and potential loss of 400 acres of Green Belt landscape – [which] could result in the closure of this strategically placed airfield to the south west of London – should be made by a local planning committee,” says Fairoaks 2020 Chairman Douglas Mancini. He calls on the Government to act on it as a matter of urgency, warning, “Fairoaks Airport stands poised to become a benchmark for future decisions for general aviation and pilot training in the UK, where more than 35 aerodromes are under threat.
“The timing is significant coming ahead of the York Aviation Report, which was commissioned by the Department for Transport to look at strategically located airfields in the UK. York Aviation’s initial report stated that Fairoaks is ‘not viable,’ but Fairoaks 2020 strongly challenges that. It is based on its current (dual) ownership structure, which could be changed. Furthermore, its recommendation that operators move to other nearby airports is flawed. The York Aviation Report suggests demand could be met from other London airports, but this is incorrect. There is now only one airport in the London area – Southend – available for use overnight without any restrictions. In neighbouring Hampshire,
Farnborough Airport (serving primarily VIP jets) is not interested in general aviation. Its fees do not suit the GA sector either. Redhill is under threat. Blackbushe may not get the permission it seeks for expansion. Denham, which York Aviation recommends could also take up Fairoaks’ movements, is busy with fixed-wing and helicopter GA activity.
“Fairoaks Airport contributes far more economic value to the local economy than York Aviation states, and with a new forward-thinking investor group, this airport would thrive. Fairoaks 2020 challenges that closing strategic aerodromes in the country restricts the number of essential landing sites for crosscountry navigational flights, so necessary for students to gain a pilot’s licence. It is also at odds with the acute future global demand for pilots.”
Fairoaks 2020 is fighting a plan to build houses on Fairoaks Airport