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The site was first used as an aerodrome in the late 1930s. From the mid-sixties, the airfield was best known as the home of CSE Aviation and the Oxford Air Training School (now Oxford Aviation Academy), - one of the world's most successful professional pilot training establishments having trained well over 20,000 airline pilots for more than 80 airlines over the last 40 years.

Oxford Airport is owned and operated by Oxford Aviation Services Limited (OASL). Since July 2007, OASL has been owned by Oxford Airport Acquisitions Limited, a subsidiary of Oxford Airport Holdings Ltd which ultimately is owned by Aldersgate Investments. Aldersgate Investments Limited is part of the Reuben Brothers Holdings and is the principle investment vehicle for both private equity and real estate transactions. The parent company has a varied portfolio of interests in property and several other diverse businesses.

Oxford has historically been the UK's most active general aviation (GA) airport having had nearly 230,000 movements (a takeoff or landing) a year, indeed second only to London’s Heathrow. In the late 1960s, the runway was in fact the busiest in the world. Today the airport has a fraction of that activity but still thrives as one of the UK's most popular GA destinations. Although annual movements have dropped around 75% from an average of nearly 160,000 a year in the late 1990s, we can still see more than 600 movements a day on occasions.

It is perhaps worth highlighting that Oxford has in the recent past seen over 900 movements in just a 2 hour period for one Silverstone Grand Prix weekend, over 1,100 movements in one day and over 4,500 movements in a week.  Even by international standards, that is an exceptional level of activity.

The current split of traffic has changed considerably in recent years as professional pilot training has declined (once 95% of our traffic), but in the last year, it broke down as follows:

Training Flights : 56%
Business (& Commercial): 19%
Recreational General Aviation: 14%
Helicopter (Private & Commercial): 12%

The airport occupies 375 acres of freehold land with over 335,000 sq.ft. of buildings of which 170,000 sq.ft. is hangarage. There are over 700 people employed on the airfield in all areas of aerospace and engineering support.  With an additional resident population of student pilots on the airfield, we host over 1000 workers and visitors a day.

Established for seventy years, the airport continues to evolve to adapt to changes in the aviation world at large and to comply with ever-changing and sometimes burdensome legislation.  The airport remains primarily the home to one of the world’s best-recognised and respected professional pilot training schools, namely Oxford Aviation Academy. However, we also host operations involved in scientific and environmental research, geophysical surveys, military training, air ambulance and organ transplant services.  Companies at the leading edge of aerospace design, technology, aviation management, training and support continue to grow their businesses such that new, high quality accommodation is now being provided at Oxford Airport to facilitate such growth.  The airport has attracted subsidiaries of world-class corporations such as Raytheon (Hawker Beechcraft), Hunting (Babcock) and Airbus Helicopters and routinely provides a logistical hub for business leaders, VVIPs and dignitaries along with local businesses and many players in the field of motor racing and manufacture.

As Oxfordshire’s only civil airport, indeed highlighted by Cherwell District Council as ‘the forgotten jewel in North Oxfordshire’s transport crown’, having a thriving collection of businesses at the airport is unequivocally beneficial to the immediate community and that of Oxfordshire as a whole. Such employment in skills and knowledge-based industries is deemed by both the local and county authorities to be essential for continued prosperity and growth in the region.

We welcome all queries on the nature of the airport’s business and flying activity and would be happy to brief groups that might wish to learn more. 

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