Primarily for general aviation discussion, but other aviation topics are also welcome.
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By Cardinal Sin
#1796057
In July 2020, Newcastle airport had 1,329 movements, of which 339, or around a quarter were private flights. They charge around £90 for a light single including handling.

East Midlands had 4,628 movements of which 105, around 2% were private. Another 400 or around 8.5% were business but not AOC charter.

Liverpool had 2,398 In total of which 142, or 6% were private with another 151 business.

Newquay had 4,041 movements, of which fully 893 or 22% were private with another 65 business.

Gloucestershire where I am based handled 6,473 movements, making it twice as busy as Gatwick, 273 more than Luton and only 350 less than Stansted.

Bristol had a total of 2,246 movements, less than a third for the comparable period the year before, and less than half that of Gloucestershire in the same month. Yet in neither month, July 2019 or July 2020 did Bristol record any Private or Business movements. This may be because all of their private traffic is recorded as “Aero Club” since the club collects the fees for the airport. But it may also be because of its extraordinary pricing.

I’ve just been quoted £180.60 to land our Piper Arrow there solely for the purpose of picking up a colleague who lives within walking distance of the airfield. That’s at 10 am on a Monday, an hour during which there are all of ten scheduled movements.

I realise airports need to pay for themselves, but when the landing fee costs more than the flight that follows it, there’s some perspective been lost.

What I really need to do is get permission to use New Farm at Felton instead.....
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By James Chan
#1796058
but when the landing fee costs more than the flight that follows it, there’s some perspective been lost.


Indeed. But sadly many of our GA ancestors have let it become this way before the turn of the century.

In fact, there are only two airports: Heathrow and Gatwick that are at or close to planning permission capacity during non-covid times - and thus justifying their fees. For all others, there's a valid argument for fees to come down during non-peak periods.

In Covid times there's now plenty of freed up/unused runway slots everywhere, but no price drops (apart from Southampton) that I'm aware of.

The "daylight robbers" may be found at the bottom end of the list: viewtopic.php?t=111967

Unfortunately there is no concrete legislation in the UK today to protect reasonable and affordable access to infrastructure. This means businesses can charge what they like when they like in this area of unregulated privatised ownership.

As far as I know, the closest pieces of legislation one can pursue are:
1) AIrports Groundhandling Regulations 1997 - Some places are operating in violation of preventing the ability for owners/operators to self-handle. But even if this was hypothetically won, there’s nothing to stop an airport from charging the equivalent in other types of fees to make up for any shortfall.

2) Competition law - citing anti-competitive pricing, but going down that route is a long and drawn out process that may be hard to prove out.
By JodelDavo
#1796079
Anywhere that charges that much is effectively saying we don’t want small GA aircraft. Vote with your feet.

I gave up years ago paying silly ‘fees’ for the privilege of being dicked about by little Hitlers. Plenty of other places to go who welcome light aircraft.

Visited Limoges in France a few years ago in a DR400. International airport, Ryanair 737 on the ramp, similar size to Bristol. With my schoolboy French, I misheard the landing fee as €50. Actual cost was €5!!
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By James Chan
#1796085
. Plenty of other places to go who welcome light aircraft.


Indeed, but these places often don't have night or IFR capability - and sometimes it's less convenient to get there with lack of ongoing transport etc.

There is also another piece of legislation: Airport Charges Regulation 2011 that's states "an airport operator must not discriminate between users when setting airport charges" for in-scope airports, and requires airports to consult users (which includes GA) on revisions to airport charges and give reasonable notice of changes etc.

Again going down this route, could be a long drawn out process.
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By 2Donkeys
#1796087
James Chan wrote:There is also another piece of legislation: Airport Charges Regulation 2011 that's states "an airport operator must not discriminate between users when setting airport charges".



I think you need to quote the entire section:

14.—(1) Airport charges set by a regulated airport operator must not discriminate between airport users.

(2) Paragraph (1) does not prevent a regulated airport operator from varying airport charges for reasons relating to the public and general interest, including for reasons relating to the environment, where the criteria used for varying the charges are relevant, objective and transparent.

(3) Subject to paragraph (1), a regulated airport operator may set airport charges that differentiate between airport users provided that the reason for the differentiation is relevant, objective and transparent.

(4) For the purposes of paragraph (3), a reason may (but need not) relate to the quality, scope or costs of services associated with the airport charge.


They can charge different prices to different types of traffic so long as the criteria are relevant, objective and transparent.

I would hazard a guess that the airport will claim that a small aircraft uses just as much of a controller's time, and occupies the runway for just as long as a large jet with hundreds of passengers. It therefore should pay for its disproportionate drain on airport resources and is getting away lightly compared to the price charged for an A320 landing.

I still think Bristol's charges are ludicrous, but they have been for years and they are not alone. Light GA is not a desirable asset for most major commercial airports. That particular regulation isn't going to do much to help that I fear.

This is normally the point where somebody mentions that they can land at JFK in a C152 and pay less than $200. True, but the entire system is different there. Airports are Federally funded, and the people have a right to use those Federally funded assets.

Some might consider that a similar system would be great here too, but its a huge change to make, just to please us GA pilots.
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By Mike Charlie
#1796088
I’ve never known any different flying in the UK.
Stateside flying with my brother many moons ago he dropped me at Seattle in his Cherokee 180 for my return flight to London

He was charged ten dollars, windshield was cleaned without asking, oil checked and fuel offered all without drama or fuss all within the ten dollar cost. A courtesy bus picked me up and delivered me to the terminal my last view of my brother was him lining up with around five heavies waiting in turn behind

I too have experienced France and its can do attitude integrating GA with Commercials

Bergerac charged me all of eight euros for landing, three hours parking and made the whole experience a complete pleasure

Teeside and Norwich are the only UK airports where the was made to feel welcome and not fleeced...

Give me 450 to 500m of grass any day, with my trusty Brompton on board I can satisfy most of my flying requirements
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By Dave W
#1796090
@Cardinal Sin, of that £180.60 do you know how much was "Handling"?

Often when I've looked at larger airfields (Cardiff and Gloucester very much honourable exceptions; Exeter too, IIRC) the landing has been OK but it is the addition of mandatory handling (for which you get almost nothing as a GA flight) that makes the visit not viable.
By Boxkite
#1796091
Cardinal Sin wrote:........... Yet in neither month, July 2019 or July 2020 did Bristol record any Private or Business movements. This may be because all of their private traffic is recorded as “Aero Club” since the club collects the fees for the airport. But it may also be because of its extraordinary pricing.

Something wrong there. There's definitely at least a group TB10 there that has flown several times lately, and I'm pretty sure there are Bizjets based there (including Dyson's?).
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By James Chan
#1796093
, just to please us GA pilots.


Yet it would also boost the GA industry as a whole as well - so it'll be more than pilots who would be pleased.

On the other hand, most majors have GA reliever airports that are not too far away (e.g. Andrewsfield for Stansted, Redhill for Gatwick, Denham for Heathrow) for those who want to do passenger pick-ups and drop-offs.

Often Bristol (and sometimes Edinburgh and Luton) gets mentioned here because there isn't something similar just round the corner.
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By Dave W
#1796094
James Chan wrote:On the other hand, most majors have GA reliever airports that are not too far away (e.g. Andrewsfield for Stansted, Redhill for Gatwick, Denham for Heathrow) for those who want to do passenger pick-ups and drop-offs.

How easy are the ground transfers or should it be assumed it would need to be a taxi each way?
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By Gertie
#1796110
Cardinal Sin wrote:I realise airports need to pay for themselves, but when the landing fee costs more than the flight that follows it, there’s some perspective been lost.

For years now the airport car park has cost you more than the loco flight.
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By Oldfart
#1796111
Dave W.
Peanuts!
Last month I was quoted £1300 at Luton, (Even with a generous 10% discount on Handing to £380!)
This was for a C182. Land, park 15 mins to pick up one person. The only handing required was pax transfer from Terminal to GA parking For that £380.
It’s scandalous that these companies have a monopoly and we have no recourse to challenge the system.
PS At the time I wanted, Scheduled posted movements were less than half normal, so no ATC excuses.
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By Cardinal Sin
#1796124
Interesting conversation, and I do take @2Donkeys's point that the airport could argue a P28S takes up as much runway time (or maybe more) than an A320.

My problem here is less the absolute charge and more than charge relative to other places that charge half the amount for the same service.

And while handling is mandatory, it is in fact carried out by Bristol and Wessex who, I understand, do not get to keep any of it. So what, exactly is being "handled."?

The result of all this is I shall not go there, instead getting my passenger to drive to Gloucester. Given that all of the people who would have had to interact with me will be at the airport anyway, I don't think I was adding significantly to their marginal cost. I would have paid up to £100 for the privilege of an ILS, a paved runway checked frequently for FOD etc. etc. But £180 is so beyond my experience and comfort level that they will make no profit out of me.

Has anyone got a phone number for the owner of New Farm Airfield?
By rdfb
#1796126
2Donkeys wrote:This is normally the point where somebody mentions that they can land at JFK in a C152 and pay less than $200. True, but the entire system is different there. Airports are Federally funded, and the people have a right to use those Federally funded assets.

Some might consider that a similar system would be great here too, but its a huge change to make, just to please us GA pilots.


I think we can focus on a lesser justification than demanding taxpayer money.

Here in the UK I can't just acquire some land and open up a competing airport wherever I want. The existing regional airports have effectively been granted monopolies over their regions through planning law. As these monopolies are granted by the people, the monopolies should be required to provide the people reasonably non-discriminatory access as a condition of their ability to operate. Different justification, same result.
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By Cardinal Sin
#1796127
Boxkite wrote:
Cardinal Sin wrote:........... Yet in neither month, July 2019 or July 2020 did Bristol record any Private or Business movements. This may be because all of their private traffic is recorded as “Aero Club” since the club collects the fees for the airport. But it may also be because of its extraordinary pricing.

Something wrong there. There's definitely at least a group TB10 there that has flown several times lately, and I'm pretty sure there are Bizjets based there (including Dyson's?).

That's the number they report to the CAA. https://www.caa.co.uk/Data-and-analysis ... a-2020-07/