Commercial / Airline Scheduled Services
The airport does not have a commercial terminal facility, but does have a dedicated business and private aviation centre which can host limited scheduled flights. We continue to explore niche opportunities for commercial services that can easily be undertaken within the facilities available.
The new business aviation centre can cater for the occasional operation for aircraft with 50-80 seats (ATR and de Havilland Dash-8 aircraft being ideally suited) and is particularly suitable for more frequent business-oriented shuttles with typical 19-30 seater turboprops (Beech 1900, Dornier 228/328, Metroliner, Let-410 and others).
Scheduled services have been offered in the recent past including an Oxford-Cambridge shuttle (ceased operations March 2006) and routes to Jersey existed in the early 1990s and earlier during the 1950s and 1960s. Further commercial flight operations were never pursued due to the former control, ownership and focus of the key pilot training school, Oxford Aviation Academy.
Oxford Airport’s primary users are pilot training schools (40% of traffic), recreational general aviation, business, private and utility helicopters and business aviation, consisting of air taxis, chartered and private jets and turboprops (10-15% of traffic).
In 2007, Oxford Airport replaced its 33 year old main runway with a stronger and wider surface and installed an instrument landing system (ILS) permitting all weather, safer approaches. The new 1553m (5095ft) by 30m runway is fully grooved for enhanced friction characteristics in the wet and is essentially the same configuration as that found at London City Airport (LCY) as a Code 2C runway, permitting access for a variety of regional airline types including the popular Dash-8, ATR and BAe 146 (Avro) aircraft. Such types have already used Oxford in the past, either positioning privately, for training or for maintenance-related visits.
Our primary focus today is on developing services and facilities for the business aviation market (referred to occasionally as 'Corporate' or 'Executive' Aviation) which operates aircraft on a sole-use chartered or private basis. This has been driven by a significant decline in pilot training activity upon which the airport has been dependent for most of its 70 year history.
Nevertheless, we recognise the potential demand for limited commercial (scheduled) services on certain niche routes. Increased Air Taxi usage in recent times shows a growing market amongst business professionals for efficient door to door air services maximising productivity and indeed saving costs on wasted travel time and unnecessary overnight stopovers. Oxford also sees opportunities to develop engineering services for all types of aircraft that can access our new 5,095ft runway including regional aircraft, both jets and turboprops. Recently completed larger hangars now allow the airport to accommodate such aircraft for the first time at Oxford.
Several smaller turboprop and jet aircraft are quite capable in principle of utilising Oxford's mile long runway with what is the same landing distance as London's City airport. However, these aircraft types in the main are used more commonly for business travellers rather than for recreational or holiday travellers, with higher costs per seat mile. However, the advantage Oxford offers for the smaller regional or niche operator is that they can establish new routes without the threat of predatory moves by mainstream low-cost carriers with larger aircraft such as the Boeing 737. Such aircraft could never access Oxford on a commercial basis. From niche destinations such as east-west UK routes linking perhaps the South West to Cambridge, Nottingham or Newquay, to primary routes such as Edinburgh, Newcastle, Amsterdam, Glasgow, Belfast, Paris and Dublin, a clearly defined demand has been identified over the years from regular enquiries and in-depth demand and route analysis. Accordingly, considerations have been given to how this demand might be satisfied in the longer term, more than likely with the smaller regional turboprop types (30-50 seat aircraft).
Oxford Airport is superbly located geographically, demographically and in terms of accessibility the only civil airport between Heathrow and Birmingham. The proximity of the M40, A34, A40 and A44 provides excellent access from potentially one of the most lucrative catchment areas in the country. As the only regional airport within a 55 mile radius, in the heart of the southern central UK area, the city of Oxford is relatively isolated for access to regular services when benchmarked against European norms.
With Oxfordshire resident's somewhat tedious access to commercial air services elsewhere, significant inward tourism and large catchment area population, we recognise there is some viability for the establishment of limited services.
Oxfordshire facts and figures:
Such basic criteria would indicate at first glance a potentially greater demand than many established and emerging 'regional' airports in the UK and other parts of Europe, albeit that major hub and regional airports including Heathrow, Birmingham, Luton, Southampton and Bristol are a little over an hour’s drive away.
Where groups of individuals have need to go to the same destination at the same time, several local companies have taken advantage of the extensive air taxi and charter services available at Oxford. From six seat piston twins to 15 seat business jets, Oxford-based aircraft can fly to well over 1000 airfields in Europe and beyond, often much closer to one's intended destination unlike many scheduled services. These sole-use charter services are available on an ad-hoc basis to go wherever one wishes at any time, seven days a week and often at very short notice. Aircraft with greater capacities or capabilities are available for charter that could be positioned at Oxford, typically carrying between 20 to 50 passengers. A number of local businesses use regular shuttles from Oxford on a weekly, day-return or overnight basis to several destinations, including the Netherlands and France.
We welcome any enquiries and expressions of interest in the use or provision of scheduled services, company shuttles or ad-hoc charters.
Regional aircraft with access to Oxford Airport