Cambridge Airport, UK, returns to EBACE in May (Stand No 780) where it will be talking up its plans to further expand the airport with a major infrastructure upgrade and development of airport land into a vibrant business hub. Its owners, the Marshall Group, are preparing to embark on a £20 million investment programme to open up the green field site to the south site of the runway, kick-starting the next phase of enhancements at the expanding East of England airport. Ground-breaking is scheduled for early July.
The investment will focus on a new taxiway, which will provide a key access route to the south of the runway. Spend will also centre on a major rehabilitation of the runway which will enhance its performance and maintain the airport’s critical asset for a further 12 years. The project will also deliver significant environmental benefits through the implementation of an improved drainage system.
This next strategic phase follows a strong year for the airport which saw executive aviation movements increase, the introduction of regional airline services and the addition of leading aviation companies as tenants. After a competitive tender process, Cambridge Airport selected ExecuJet Europe to run its Fixed Based Operation (formerly Marshall Business Aviation) and the Swiss headquartered company moved in on 1 January this year. It subsequently announced it was moving its flight operations to the UK from Zurich and will have some 50 plus personnel based at Cambridge by year end. Other tenant companies taking up residency since EBACE 2011 include business aircraft sales distributors Action Aviation and the Pilot Training College, PTC.
“All our buildings are currently full but we’d like to entice new tenants to the airport which will support the on-going development of Cambridge Airport as a leading centre of excellence for aviation. We have the land available to the south side of the airport and this is driving the next phase of our strategy to develop new buildings in the area,” said Airport Director Archie Garden. He is heading up the expansion drive, together with Infrastructure Director Sheila Kissane, who joined from Gatwick Airport where she was Engineering, Procurement and Contracts Manager, last July. “We are inviting synergistic businesses and aviation companies to come and talk with us if they are looking for a new UK base where we can offer a range of opportunities. Tenants will be offered a range of property development options including self-build, build and buy back or lease of properties, built by Marshall Aerospace. A vibrant business park, a hotel for crew, operator bases, this is the type of project we’re could be achieved,” he added.
Target tenants are companies who can offer complementary maintenance or technical capability to the Marshall Group, the biggest employer at the airport with some 1,400 staff engaged in various engineering, technology and interiors projects in both defence and commercial sectors. “We have prime space too for a showroom for business jets and we would like to further develop our pilot training facilities, building on what the Pilot Training Cambridge (PTC) has started to successfully establish at Cambridge with its B737 simulator,” added Archie Garden.
The city centre airport is positioned to make a significant contribution to the economy, with the region of Cambridgeshire and Suffolk now in top spot in the UK for research and development. The region supports a thriving high tech industry and Science Park and a strong academic community - all requiring quick and easy access to key financial and industries cities in Europe.
Cambridge Airport is an uncongested gateway for business and commercial aviation, open 24/7. It boasts a large 6,447-ft/1,965-m runway with full ATC and airport services (fire and ATC to CAT 7 level) making it suitable for jets up to B757 and Airbus ACJ/A320 size. In line with this the airport is also actively pursuing some niche regional scheduled air services. From May it welcomes Saturday services to Jersey with C I Travel and Blue Islands, flying ATR42 aircraft, while in September, flights to Burgundy in France commence twice-weekly with Danube Wings, operating an ATR72. David Surley, Senior Route Development Manager, is spearheading this side of the business.
Cambridge Airport and the Olympics
Cambridge Airport is one of just five regional airports in the UK capable of accepting business and passenger services with a 24/7 slot allocation during the 2012 Olympics period. The airport, which has 24 hour security patrols, has no runway restrictions as it holds a Public Use licence. It is also an excellent alternative destination for London-based traffic, especially for travellers to and from the US as the airport location lies directly on the flight path that avoids London’s busy airspace.