Stobart Aviation is vowing to make its new Stobart Jet Centre at Southend airport one of the main business aviation gateways to London, and to launch a network of FBOs throughout Europe.
The business – part of the UK's Stobart logistics group and making its second EBACE appearance after debuting in 2017 – moved from Southend's original passenger terminal to the purpose-built facility in January. It is on course to double aircraft movements to 2,000 this year, according to Stobart Jet Centre managing director Stephen Grimes.
Stobart, which owns the entire airport, is targeting 10,000 movements by 2022, and says it can do this by winning business from its main rivals, Biggin Hill, Farnborough and Luton. Southend's biggest advantage, claims Grimes, is its 24h access, with cheaper parking than most of its competitors. He says passengers can be in London in less than an hour by direct train, or 15min by helicopter.
Grimes admits: "Not many people know about Southend,” but claims the airport is just 65km (40 miles) from Westminster and is the only one in the London area able to operate throughout the night. "This means that transatlantic jets can arrive early in the morning, and their clients can be into breakfast meetings in London," he says.
He adds: "The London market needs another credible business aviation FBO."
Stobart Aviation – which also owns the UK's Carlisle airport and a small airline – is actively looking for opportunities to "replicate the Stobart Jet Centre model" at other UK and European airports. "We will consider starting them up ourselves or acquiring existing businesses," says Grimes.
Source: Flight Daily News