EUROJET AVIATION HAS begun operations at London City Airport, using a Cessna Citation II. The Belfast-based company claims to be the first UK business-jet operator to gain approval for public-transport operations at the airport.

Other business jets being operated to London City by non-UK and private operators are the Citation V and Dassault Falcon 10. Dassault is working on approval of the Falcon 900 and 2000, but operation of larger business-jets at the airport is threatened by the UK Civil Aviation Authority's stance on aircraft landing-distance rules.

Gulfstream gained US Federal Aviation Administration certification on the Gulfstream IV for the 5.5¡ approach required for London City, and conducted the demonstration necessary for operational approval. The CAA, however, advised London City that it did not consider GIV operations viable, says the airport's head of operations, Gary Hodgetts. "We took the CAA's advice and put the GIV on hold," he says.

Gulfstream chief test pilot John O'Meara says that the issue concerns CAA regulations on landing distances. Operators of UK-registered aircraft must factor the landing distance by 92% if the runway is wet, and by 74% if it is dry. At typical GIV weights, the factored landing distance exceeds the 1,200m (4,000ft) length of London City's runway.

FAA rules allow corporate operators, to use actual landing distances. While most of the GIV owners, interested in using London City are non-CAA, and legally able to use the airport, London City has asked Gulfstream to resolve its differences with the CAA before the blanket ban is lifted.

Gulfstream has enlisted FAA help in persuading the CAA to have the ban lifted, if only for GIVs registered outside of the UK. At least one UK GIV operator, Shell, is interested in using London City.

Source: Flight International