Oxford Airport, just off the main A34 major dual carriageway, and 45 minutes from the outskirts of London, has confirmed dates for the establishment of an Instrument Landing System (ILS) and new runway. The ground works will commence in January and are expected to be concluded by the end of May 2007. Planning permission for the enhancements was granted in June 2006. The multimillion pound investment is claimed to be the single largest infrastructure project on the airfield since the Second World War. Initially a grass airfield, the introduction of hard runways in the sixties and seventies, and their upgrading, has made Oxford suitable for business jet operations over the years.
The widening of the main 5,095 ft (1,553m) runway to 30m will allow for much larger aircraft to operate including ATR, AVRO and Bombardier types and most purpose-built business jets However Oxford will also be restructuring operational capabilities to enhance fire cover (RFFS), increase opening hours and will consider raising its customs and immigration status to ”Customs Designated”. The ILS will also permit much safer approaches whilst being of great benefit to Oxford”s significant ab initio (basic) professional pilot training operations, the largest in the country.
Oxford Airport and CSE Aviation managing director Steve Jones noted: ”The airport hasn”t seen this level of investment since the 1940s. We”re in a great location and have unique advantages in terms of flexibility and ease of access, and with very few constraints on capacity or hours of operation, we”re making the most of what this airport can offer to the business and regional aviation community.” Oxford has the flexibility to allow access between 0600 and midnight, seven days a week, whilst being used to handling several hundred movements a day, having once been the busiest single runway operation in the UK.