Airport expansion: How London Biggin Hill got the public on side

We talked to Robert Walters, business development director, London Biggin Hill Airport.

When an airport identifies the need to expand then it is likely it will face a major battle with local residents. From Heathrow to Frankfurt, there are many examples of protestors staging mass demonstrations to halt development.

But London Biggin Hill Airport, in south east London, has bucked that trend.

When its plans to develop the airport with additional hangars and a hotel called for extended opening hours, more than 60,000 residents in the Bromley borough responded to a survey and a remarkable 75% were in FAVOUR of the development.

“The development leads to jobs – and high tech ones at that."

By Robert Walters, business development director, London Biggin Hill Airport

“We have been growing over recent years and we have kept the local residents informed all the way,” he said. A café at the end of the runway has encouraged families to come along and watch business jets and the iconic World War II Spitfires that are based there.


“People are interested,” Walters said. “We also listened to their concerns. We adjusted some of the approaches to reduce noise, and we have a system now where they can track aircraft. We have called on pilots to ensure they follow the rules and it works.”

Biggin Hill now receives business jets from the USA and the Middle East because of the extended hours and can transfer its VIP visitors to the centre of London in less than ten minutes with its dedicated helicopter link.

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