Top 5 airports in Europe for private jets
With speed, discretion and privacy of utmost importance to many private jet travellers, the demand for high quality airport facilities catering to the specific needs of private air charter has steadily increased over the past decade. We asked our VIP charter team what they think is important for travellers and exactly what makes a good private jet facility.
Julie Black, VIP Charter Manager UK, comments:
“For us, the main feature of a private jet terminal or facility is not the aesthetics of the VIP lounge – in fact, private jet travellers are the least likely individuals to sit around and wait for anything. The key is private access away from the public, short distances from terminal to their jet, secure but efficient security screening, and onsite immigration / border control services. The ability to allow ground transport to pick up passengers plane-side is a huge bonus alongside staff that understand the needs of executive jet passengers. These factors are far more important than designer décor or funky furnishing!”
The team give us a rundown of their top five airports with private jet facilities in Europe:
London Farnborough, UK
As the only dedicated business aviation centre in the UK, London Farnborough is aptly steeped in aviation history. Holding the title of the UK’s first operational airfield, it was home to the country’s first ever powered flight in 1908. Owned by the MOD for much of its life, the site was taken over by TAG Aviation in 1997, carrying out a full redevelopment and turning it into the centre of private jet aviation that we know today. From an operational perspective, the airport offers benefits over and above other facilities in the UK. Firstly, the airport has no slots and due to its dedicated nature, is free of commercial traffic. This gives private jet brokers the optimum opportunity to meet a client’s exact requirements and scheduling. In addition, the centre offers direct airside access for vehicles, which is unique to the London area.
The airport is also only one hour’s drive from central London, with direct rail and helicopter transfer connections. When coupled with the facility’s renowned high quality of service and stunning architecture, it’s becomes clear as to why Farnborough is a favourite among private jet travellers. The facility’s one and only unavoidable drawback is the fact that it is not open 24 hours a day. It is arguable that were this not the case, passengers would have no reason to go anywhere else in London.
Paris Le Bourget, France
An airport equally steeped in history, Le Bourget has been operational since 1919 and for over a decade acted as the only airport in Paris. Sharing Farnborough’s status as a dedicated business aviation airport, it is also Europe’s busiest, seeing 48,000 private jet movements in the last year. This is no surprise with three runways and a wide selection of fixed-base operators on offer, all of whom carry a good reputation within the industry. In addition, the facility is also slot-free and has 24 hour operational status, although this does carry some restrictions. Le Bourget is based only seven miles outside Paris, closer than Charles de Gaulle, making access to the city a simple task.
KLM Jet Centre, Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, Netherlands
Despite ranking as Europe’s 4th busiest commercial airport, Schiphol has an excellent jet centre which is located away from the bustling main terminals. This allows for an excellent level of discretion, privacy and efficiency for travellers arriving by private jet. Located only six miles and 20 minutes’ drive from Amsterdam, the airport is again ideally suited for those looking for easy access to the city. Unfortunately, the facility is not open 24 hours, meaning brokers and operators often have to utilise KLM’s sister facility in Rotterdam for round the clock runway access. Whilst offering an equal level of service, generally customers have a strong preference for Amsterdam as this is their ultimate destination or origin.
Business Aviation Terminal, Nice Airport, France
Expertly converted from the former Terminal Corse, the 1500 square metre facility is devoted to business aviation. With four operators, VIP lounges and luxury shopping on offer, the terminal has everything you would expect of a private jet facility. Not only this, but travellers can be driven right up to the terminal entrance, where carefully placed canopies have been designed to allow a discreet entry. The facility is also home to three helicopter operators and excellent transport connections, opening the door on the magnificent Côte d’Azur.
Berlin Schönefeld Airport, Germany
The smaller of two airports serving Berlin, Schönefeld is due to be merged into the Brandenberg airport when it opens in 2015. Unlike its sister airport, it is located outside the city proper and noise pollution is less of an issue. As a result the airport is open 24 hours, meaning the facility is favoured by private jet flyers for its scheduling flexibility. Situated 11 miles southeast of the city centre, the airport is ideally located to access the capital and surrounding areas.
Header Image: TAG Farnborough courtesy of Dave Collins Photography.
London Farnborough Airport: Copyright TAG Aviation.
Bombardier BD-700-1A10 Global Express on Runway at Nice Airport: Image Courtesy of Merrionsq.
Schiphol Airport: Image courtesy of Arthur A.