London must change helicopter policy to keep city open for business


Heli Shuttle and Shard

London – 13th May 2019: London Biggin Hill Airport is warning that the emerging London Policy Plan for Aviation could harm London’s growth by preventing the building of new heliports in the capital.

The Policy T8, which is part of the draft New London Plan, also seeks to reduce the future number of helicopter movements, as the Mayor of London sets out his vision for the city over the next 25 years.

Robert Walters, business development director, London Biggin Hill Airport says: “Helicopter use across London must not be restricted as we look to keep the capital open for business. The latest generation of helicopters is already 50% quieter than the current fleet, with design innovations allowing for variable rotor speeds, meaning helicopters can now travel quietly in populated cities.

“It is our belief that the current draft London Policy Plan for Aviation is not aligned with national policy towards helicopters and vertical lift aircraft. Urban connectivity is key for London to position itself as a leading smart and global city, and at London Biggin Hill Airport we want to support the role of these aircraft in promoting access to the capital.”

London Biggin Hill Airport has now given evidence in relation to Policy T8 as part of the Evidence in Public (EiP) sessions for the Mayor of London’s draft New London Plan. The airport is also working with the Greater London Assembly and other stakeholders to construct a full evidence base showing the benefits of helicopters and vertical lift aircraft.

Walters adds: “As London seeks to keep up with the global cities of New York, Singapore and Munich it must also embrace new technologies such as eVTOL’s (electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft). These are expected to be commercially available in the next five years, bringing increased connectivity and a much smaller noise footprint – up to 15db quieter than conventional crafts. Helicopters and vertical lift aircraft are an essential piece of the puzzle that cannot be ignored, as we set out the vision for the future of aviation in London.”