London FBO chain Harrods Aviation says it is experiencing a “sharp rise” in movements from head of state and other airliner-based business aircraft, with 250 visits in the past 12 months, a 20% increase since 2013. The sister business to the upscale department store puts part of the increase down to the fact that customers are choosing Stansted and Luton – where Harrods Aviation has FBOs – over an increasingly slot- and parking-restricted Heathrow.
However, managing director Paul Norton says Harrods Aviation has also made itself more attractive by investing in ground equipment, including covered steps, a mobile baggage screening unit and a new tug. “Over the past few years, we have worked hard to develop our abilities in handling large-cabin aircraft,” he says. “It is with great pride that we are now seeing our Stansted FBO as the clear preferred choice for these movements.
Harrods Aviation, which is exhibiting at MEBAA, says it “sees no likely decline in this sector of the industry” and has received requests to look into purchasing ground support equipment for the Airbus A380. There are currently no VIP versions of the world’s largest airliner in operation.
Meanwhile, Bombardier has renewed its authorised service agreement with Harrods Aviation. The company supports Challenger and Global aircraft – including offering cabin repair capabilities – from its Luton centre.