The Best Private Jet Airports in London
If you’re flying to London via private jet, England’s capital is packed with must-see attractions, the UK’s finest restaurants, and a surprising number of pleasant parks.
London is also an extremely busy city. It’s one of the largest financial centers in the world. Couple the thriving businesses that operate in Central London with its day-to-day tourism, and you can see how there’s a constant buzz of activity.
The same can be said of London’s busy airports. There are several airports listed as ‘London airports’ – though their distance from the city center varies greatly.
London Luton is a flexible airport for private jet charter. At just over 7,000 ft, the runway is large and long enough to accommodate most planes, but it also has a tidy airfield. This means it’s easy to navigate, which should make your journey a little smoother.
There are two dedicated FBOs at London Luton – Harrods Aviation and Signature Flight Support. With London Luton being one of the most popular airports for private jet charter, they are well-versed in accommodating customers who want to enjoy the comforts of an FBO. Think warm greetings, super-fast check-in, and swift security measures, and you’ll get the idea.
Over 136,000 successful flights took place at London Luton in 2018, and a £160 million investment is sure to see that number rise in the coming years. They’re an environmentally-friendly bunch, too – 64% of waste at the airport is recycled. We’re finding that many of our private jet clients are increasingly conscientious of their carbon footprint, so this may well appeal.
London Biggin Hill may not be quite as well-known as the other major airports listed here, but it’s just as popular with private jet charter customers. Two business aviation fixed base operators (FBOs) and a 1,808m long runway set the tone, but its rich history also makes it a special choice for aviation fans.
The airport has been open and operating for more than a century. It played a significant role in World War II, and its continued relevance means it’s now one of Europe’s busiest business aviation airports.
In 2011, London Biggin Hill was chosen as a ‘Strategic Outer London Development Center’. Or, in other words, the airport is packed with potential.
There are plenty of options to make your way from the airport to the city center. You can drive there in 50 minutes, grab a 15-minute train, or fly by helicopter in six minutes. Canary Wharf is just 12 miles away – a frequent stopping point for our business aviation clients.
Whether traveling by private car or train, London Stansted is just shy of an hour from the center of the capital. It had the advantage of being built after both Heathrow and Gatwick, which meant it could factor in feedback from its predecessors in order to offer an improved flying experience.
If you’re used to flying in luxury, Stansted’s 24-hour VIP gateway is bound to impress. After all, it’s the only one which is open round-the-clock in London. Regardless of what time or day of the year you’re flying in, Stansted has a place for you.
You can fly in from all sorts of destinations and on various models, too. The 10,000 ft runway is capable of hosting direct international flights. Plus, it’s the only airport in London that can handle VIP jets larger than the Boeing 767. Stansted is operated by the Manchester Airports Group (MAG) who have spent £150 million improving facilities since their 2013 acquisition. They’re also in the process of investing a total of £600 million. The airport already accommodates around 27 million passengers per year, and we can expect this number to increase in the near future.
London Gatwick got off to a royal start in 1958 when it was officially opened by Her Majesty The Queen. Since then, steady growth has seen the airport reach its current state where it accommodates more than 46 million passengers each year.
Gatwick is split into two terminals – North and South. And it’s open 24 hours a day. Yet many of our customers prefer to use either London Luton or London Biggin Hill. Instead, Gatwick is traditionally favored for connecting flights. Or for those who would normally use Biggin Hill – which is around a 30-minute drive from Gatwick – but need to fly outside of its operating hours.
The main reason for avoiding Gatwick is that it only has a single runway. This can lead to congestion and, in turn, severe delays. You may have read that Gatwick has two runways, but this is a little misleading as the second can only be used when the main runway is out of use.
The airport has picked up tonnes of accolades. Recent awards include the Biodiversity Benchmark Award from The Wildlife Trust, Inclusive Service Provider of the Year from the Disability Smart Award, and a gold medal from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents.
For commercial airline passengers, London Heathrow is one of the best airport choices. High-speed Overground trains operate throughout the day, with the Heathrow Express getting you all the way from the terminal to Paddington in just 15 minutes.
But this is not necessarily the case for private jet charter. At international airports, the landing fees will be higher when using London Heathrow. Plus, you can experience delays with your take-off due to the sheer number of operating aircraft. It can lead to congestion, which in turn can have unforeseen consequences on your departure time as you taxi on the runway.
London Heathrow Airport is packed with five terminals, giving you plenty of areas to land and take-off from. T5 is arguably the most impressive terminal and cost approximately £4.3 billion. Cutting-edge technology is embedded into the fabric of T5, from driverless four-person travel pods to automatic number plate registration for pre-booked car parking spaces.
There’s also a lesser-known sixth terminal. Unassumingly named ‘Terminal Six’, it’s only opened for super VIPs and special occasions. For example, members of the Royal Family often use the terminal when entertaining heads of state.