TAG Farnborough airport – the only dedicated business aviation facility in the UK – saw movements at the site, located to the west of London, grow by a little under 6% last year, despite the potential disruption caused by the 2014 edition of the biennial air show in July.

Discounting the movements associated with the air show, Farnborough still experienced a positive 2014, seeing traffic levels returning to pre-recession levels. It was, says chief executive Brandon O’Reilly, “the highest number since 2008”.

And even during the air show, it saw “no discernible decline”, says O’Reilly.

In all, TAG Farnborough recorded a total of 24,784 movements, an increase of 5.6% over the previous year. However, analysis of the figures shows that the largest growth was shown in two categories of aircraft: airliner-derived business jets with a maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of up to 80t and ultra-long-range business jets such as the Gulfstream G650 in the 30-50t MTOW class.

Movements in these categories recorded year-on-year growth of 8% and 5.7% respectively, says O’Reilly.

Arrivals of airliner-derived jets have been on the increase since 2012, he says, with initial rises attributed to that year’s London Olympic Games. However, that growth rate has been maintained since then. “We noticed that many of the aircraft that arrived for the Olympics have returned since.”

In fact, the first two months of this year have also seen considerable rises for those two categories over the same months a year earlier, with bizliner movements rising by 42% and ultra-long-range jets by 9%, compared with the across-the-board figure of 3.4%.

Overall he is forecasting a modest increase this year, with the two large jet categories growing by about 5% year-on-year.

Improvement works are continuing at the terminal as it looks to cater for increased passenger loads caused by the bigger aircraft.

In addition, it will later this year apply to the UK regulator the Civil Aviation Authority to change the airspace around the site to restricted airspace, to permit more efficient and safer departures for operators.

It published consultation documents relating to the plans last year and will this summer lay-out its responses to the feedback received.

Source: FlightGlobal.com