Farnborough Airport News


Some news stories about Farnborough airport:

Key critic of Farnborough airport silenced by an ASBI, while the airport submits expansion plans

For four years, Colin Shearn, a 62-year-old retired corporate executive, led the Farnborough Noise Group, a watchdog for locals worried about the operations of Farnborough airport, the UK’s busiest private jet airfield. Then, one day in August, police came knocking at his door. They claimed he had conducted an “aggressive and relentless campaign against Farnborough airport” and he was accused of “bombarding” the airport and relevant authorities “with endless questions about air traffic”, while “adopting a belligerent and aggressive style, distorting or misrepresenting a point of view to suit his agenda”. He was issued with an “antisocial behaviour injunction (asbi)” – the successor to the asbo. He was ordered to stop “causing any harassment, alarm or distress, nuisance or annoyance to any person” in Surrey or Hampshire, or face jail or a fine, or both.  Just after he was silenced, Farnborough announced that it planned to double weekend flights. Its latest planning application, now submitted to Rushmoor borough council, gives the airport a ceiling of 70,000 flights a year, including 19,000 at weekends, and allows for heavier aircraft to be used.

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Rising use of private jets (most in UK using Luton and Farnborough) sends CO2 emissions soaring

An analysis by campaign group, Transport & Environment, has found that CO2 from private jets in Europe increased by about a third between 2005 and 2019.  Flights that entered or left the UK accounted for nearly a fifth of these emissions, giving the UK the largest share of any European country.  Private jet use continued in 2020.  By August 2020, when the number of commercial flights was about 60% down in the UK, the level of private jet use was almost as high as in 2019.  Of the top ten highest carbon private flight routes that take off or land in Europe (the 27 EU members plus Britain, Switzerland, Norway and Iceland) six involved either Luton or Farnborough airports.  The Luton to Teterboro New York route had the  highest private jet emissions, with 565 flights a year, despite a commercial alternative routes between Heathrow and John F Kennedy airport. The private jet sector has grown rapidly, and provides convenience for the very rich, and the ability to reduce personal Covid infection risk at airports, and in crowded planes.  The CO2 emissions from a private jet, with very few passengers, is hugely more per person (5 to 14 times) than on a commercial flight – even first class. The inequity of private jet use, and the huge climate impact, mean the sector should be under the spotlight, especially for the UK in the year it hosts the COP26 talks, in November in Glasgow.

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Farnborough Airport gets go ahead on airspace expansion despite inevitable ‘increase in noise’

Farnborough Airport has been given the green light to go ahead with a planned airspace expansion despite suggestions from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) that there could be an increase in noise. The aviation authority also suggested there could be an increase in noise for those who already experience noise pollution, but there would be no new people significantly affected by noise. TAG Farnborough Airport’s application has been “largely” approved by the CAA, which provides guidance and regulation on all aspects of civil aviation in the UK. The CAA said that given the increase in business aviation at the site, there was a material safety case for introducing controlled airspace around the airport. However, TAG will have to concede some of the controlled space it applied for to collaborate on reasonable access arrangements for gliders in 3 airspace blocks in the vicinity of RAF Odiham and Lasham Airfield. Though the flight paths do not go directly over Guildford, Aldershot and Farnham, there is a lot of overflight of the southern limit of Farnham, causing noise intrusion. While in theory there are “no new people who will be significantly affected by noise as a result of this proposal” in reality many will experience an increase in noise, even if technically there is no theoretical increase.

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New consultation on TAG Farnborough proposals for airspace change called a blight on the countryside

In 2014 Farnborough did a consultation on changing its airspace. There were more than 13,000 comments, the vast majority overwhelmingly negative. Now “some aspects of the proposal” to the CAA have changed over many areas including parts of the South Downs National Park. More proposals from TAG Farnborough (which is a business only airport) to introduce a new area of “controlled” airspace are again open for consultation. The plans were described by East Hampshire District Council (EHDC) as “a blight on East Hampshire’s countryside, residents and businesses”. During the ongoing consultations, some of the fiercest resistance has come from Lasham Gliding Society – the UK’s largest gliding club – whose existence hangs in the balance if their airspace was reduced. TAG Farnborough currently uses class G airspace (uncontrolled airspace), which is shared with other airports and general aviation users. The proposed change would essentially mean it would have its own airspace in which to operate, and other users would be excluded. The consultation document is almost impossible for non-experts, or district or parish councils, to understand without help. The consultation is the minimum length – just 8 weeks – ending on 5th October. TAG’s proposals have been described by opponents as the equivalent of a big limousine company “buying two lanes of the M25 exclusively for the use of the rich and famous”.

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Already 236 people are claiming compensation from Farnborough airport, for decreased house value

In 2010 Farnborough airport expanded their West One Apron from from 19,800 square metres to 32,600 square metres, providing facilities for a greater number of aircraft. Residents in the area say the value of their house has been decreased due to noise and other physical factors. The Lands Tribunal recently ruled that residents whose property values had decreased due to the expansion of Farnborough airport could pursue a compensation claim against the airport’s operators. Hugh James is the law firm representing the claimants, which is currently 236 people (at the 9th November). Neil Stockdale, head of environmental law at Hugh James commented: “TAG Farnborough Airport has developed a huge operation widely regarded as Europe’s leading business aviation centre and my clients feel the impact on them hasn’t been taken into account and that’s what they’re pursuing these claims….It doesn’t take much for each claim to be worth £ X, you multiply that by the number of properties affected and you would expect many hundreds of thousands if not millions of ££s in compensation.” Residents have until 28 May 2017 to claim, but cases will need to be prepared for lodging with the Tribunal. That takes time so people should get their claims in sooner rather than later.

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Lands Tribunal rules that residents near Farnborough can claim if their homes have been devalued by more flights

The Lands Tribunal has ruled that residents impacted by operations at Farnborough Airport, whose homes have been devalued by flights, can claim against the airport operators TAG. Law firm Hugh James is already dealing with 200 claimants and estimates that compensation could run into the millions. The ruling concerns claims for compensation under Part 1 of the Land Compensation Act 1973, which provides a right to compensation where property value has been depreciated by increases in noise and other physical factors caused by the use of certain works including airports. The deputy president of the Lands Tribunal ruled that claims can proceed for any depreciation in property values caused by the addition of the airport’s West One Apron, completed in May 2010. This Apron was considered to be a substantial alteration built with the purpose of providing facilities for a greater number of aircraft. A partner at Hugh James said: “It’s yet to be determined whether any depreciation has been caused to property values and if so by how much, but it will now be the subject of ongoing proceedings.” Any claims for compensation arising out of the decision will need to be brought prior to the expiry of the statutory limitation period in May 2017. Other claims for work done at the airport in 2002 cannot be made, as these are now out of time.

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Feedback from Farnborough Airport consultation released – 98% said change unjustified

TAG Farnborough Airport has released a feedback report following its 3 month consultation (ended 12th May) on controversial plans to chance its airspace. Farnborough wants the changes to be approved by the CAA, so it can have a “more predictable flow of traffic around the airport” which it claims could mean fewer flights at low altitude and aircraft flying fewer miles. TAG has now published a feedback document on the responses. This shows there were 13,000 comments, including around 2,500 from stakeholders. They are overwhelmingly negative, with 99% of responses from general aviation negative; 98% of responses to the justification of the changes negative; and 99% negative on the alleged environmental benefits. There was a high level of concern about the proposals, and the results they would have on non-Farnborough air traffic, having to re-route. There were also concerns about the environmental impact and safety. Many also fear the plans will facilitate an increase in number of flights. A 2nd feedback report is due to be published in early 2015, before an application is submitted to the CAA, after TAG has considered whether the objections and suggested alternatives can be incorporated into a refined airspace design.

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Thousands of responses against Farnborough’s airspace change proposals – especially from gliding clubs

12 MPs, South Downs National Park Authority, Goodwood Airfield and more than 3,000 people have responded to Farnborough airport’s proposal to control a vast amount of airspace across the South Downs. The airspace consultation period is coming to an end, and there has been a high level of opposition. The proposal plans to lower and narrow the airspace spanning West Sussex, South Downs National Park and Hampshire, would allow private aircraft to make uninterrupted journeys across the designated area. Gliding clubs are very unhappy about the plans as the areas of sky available for them would change. They say the changes could ‘kill’ the activities of the club. They also claimed that this move will force other aircraft to fly lower increasing aircraft noise for residents living in the South Downs. Also that the proposals could significantly increase the risks of mid-air collisions by forcing general aviation aircraft to fly in much smaller ‘corridors’ of free airspace. “These proposals are just like a limousine company buying up two lanes of the M25 exclusively for the benefit of the wealthy and famous.”

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Farnborough airport consultation on hugely expanding its airspace, for questionable reasons

April 13, 2014

Farnborough airport is consulting on its plans to hugely increase the amount of airspace it controls. This will have considerable impacts on general aviation fliers and helicopters in the area, as they would not be able to fly in the new Farnborough airspace, as at present, but would have to make large detours and fly lower, causing more noise to those living nearby. The aim of the airspace grab by Farnborough is thought to be to speed up the arrival of departure of the private jets and business jets which are the users of Farnborough, so the very few passengers per plane (about 2.7 on average, on planes designed to take hugely more) are spared any small delay. The airport has had declining numbers of flights in recent years, and is nowhere near to its target number. It is therefore surprising that the airport feels the need for such a large increase in its controlled airspace.There are real fears that this is in preparation for Farnborough attempting to expand into commercial aviation. ‘Sky grabbing’ for future use for a much bigger operation? TAG could make a nice profit if it sells an airport with attached airspace!

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Farnborough Airport: Airport safety zones come under fire

A forum group for Farnborough Airport – the Farnborough Airport Consultative Committee (FACC) – has expressed concerns over how new public safety zones (PSZs) at the airport were decided.  New PSZs were proposed by the CAA and are expected to come into force soon. The changes mean the PSZs will decrease in size and include 50 fewer homes. but the FACC has suggested there was a lack of information given about how the new PSZs were calculated. For reasons of commercial confidentiality the changes in modelling assumptions cannot be made public – and are therefore unavailable for expert scrutiny. Critics, including Geoff Marks who has worked on the issue for many years, say the PSZs, are ‘oversimplified’ and suggesting they should be wider. Other criticism included arguments that ‘narrow triangles’ are the wrong shape for PSZs, as an aircraft in distress might not follow this line if coming down to crash.https://www.airportwatch.org.uk/?p=3511 

Private jet business travel. Who uses it and why?

May 13, 2012   In a long article on who is using private business travel, and why, ABTN gives a lot of information on how the industry works. Private flying has fallen significantly since 2008 and the financial crisis. The banking sector used to use more business jets when they launched new IPOs (initial public offerings) when executives wanted to make many presentations in different places, the same day. They also say companies want the private space on the plane to continue their discussions, as well as the very fast transfer from car to plane, and plane to car, with the minimum of hassle. Rock bands etc, now make a higher proportion of their money from tours, so they like using private jets for painless travel. And the remote locations where some natural resources and minerals are found are more quickly accessed by private flights to small airports, rather than large planes to main airports. And more ….  Click here to view full story…


Upset over Pickles’ airport business dinner with the industry before granting consent

Date Added: 3rd November 2011

Local government secretary Eric Pickles has come under fire for attending a private dinner with Farnborough airport chief executive Brandon O’Reilly just days before plans to almost double its capacity were finally approved. The dinner, at the 5-star Savoy hotel in February, was hosted by the lobbying firm Bell Pottinger. Guidance from Mr Pickles’s own department states that planning ministers are ‘strongly advised’ to decline requests for such meetings.  Click here to view full story…


Bad news for Farnborough residents as airport wins appeal for more flights

13th February 2011     The airport has won its fight to nearly double the number of flights each year. The airport will now be allowed to cater for 50,000 flights every year, almost twice the 28,000 current limit. It can also now host 8,900 flights on weekend and Bank Holidays – up from 5,000. The inspector said while there would be some harm in respect of increased noise, the degree of harm would be moderate. Climate effects were not propertly taken into account, and undue weight was given to the, now obsolete, 2003 Aviation White Paper.      Click here to view full story…



Rushmoor Borough Council U-turn on Farnborough airport flights cap

1st October 2010         Rushmoor had wanted to remove a clause limiting how many
flights could take off annually from Farnborough. Due to effective campaigning
by local residents, Rushmoor had to change its mind, and take account of the noise
nuisance suffered. The government decision on whether to allow TAG Farnborough’s
appeal to increase flights from 28,000 to 50,000 is expected some time in 2011.
Meanwhile Rushmoor does not know which flight figure to include in its plans.
(Get Hampshire)       click here to view full story …


Farnborough Airport Inquiry: carbon emissions by business aviation worse

25th June 2010

CPRE Hampshire and local residents have given evidence. This was the 1st test
case of its kind since the Heathrow High Court judgement in March. CPRE’s case
is that the contribution of ‘business aviation’ passengers to climate change is
far greater than has been generally recognised. The average plane-load for a typical
Farnborough business jet is just 2.5 passengers, so each one is responsible for
more CO2 than by any other means of transport.   (CPRE Hants)       Click here to view full story…



Farnborough Airport inquiry hears new round of noise arguments

18th June 2010

Arguments about how annoying the noise of 50,000 flights over homes each year
might be have continued at the Farnborough Airport inquiry this week, as an end
to the proceedings looms. Airport owner TAG – fighting to be given permission
for 50,000 flights a year instead of 28,000 – has been arguing with Rushmoor Borough
Council about how effective a system for measuring noise is. The arbitrary 57
dB contour is irrelevant to those suffering noise on the ground.       Click here to view full story…


Farnborough Airport opponents check in for 28 days of public inquiry

1st June 2010

The public inquiry into Farnborough’s expansion plans started on 26th May. The
airport wants to expand to 50,000 flights per year, from the current 28,000 limit.
The airport is banking on policy in the Air Transport White Paper of 2003, which
is out of date after the Heathrow and Stansted runway cancellations. The Heathrow
judgement said the Climate Change Act must be taken account of, and it was not
in the original Farnborough permission.       Click here to view full story…


 Farnborough Airport fights blocked expansion plans

8th December 2009

TAG Farnborough has lodged an appeal against the decision to block its plans
to almost double the number of planes using the airport. Council tax payers in
Aldershot and Farnborough could be left with a hefty legal bill after TAG’s boss
said he could not rule out pursuing the company’s costs – likely to run into hundreds
of thousands of pounds.   Rushmoor BCl’s planning committee  last month decided
to reject their own expert advice that TAG’s request to increase  flights to 50,000
a year should be allowed.       Click here to view full story…

Farnborough Airport application for expansion rejected

11th November 2009

The TAG application to increase business flights at Farnborough from 28,000 to
50,000 per annum was refused by Rushmoor Borough Council.         Click here to view full story…


 Possible Go-ahead to Farnborough to double number of flights

27th October 2009

Rushmoor Borough Council is apparently minded to approve a doubling of flights
at Farnborough Airport. Local residents and objectors got a letter from Rushmoor
to tell them the Council was minded to double the number of movements at Farnborough
Airport. The upper limit on movements will go up from 28,000 movements to 50,000
movements. The planning meeting takes place on Weds 11 November and campaigners
are encouraged to attend. (Indymedia)         Click here to view full story…


27th October 2009.     Residents have been informed, by letter from Rushmoor Borough
Council, that the council is minded to allow the application, to increase flights
from 28,000 to 50,000 per year.   The application will be decided on Weds 11th
November, by Rushmoor planning committee.   Click here to view full story …..


 Farnborough – Counting the Carbon Cost of Airport’s Big Plans

25th July 2009

The consultation period for the Farnborough airport expansion application closes
on 27th July. CPRE Hampshire has clarified that while the average annual carbon
footprint for a UK resident is about 12 tonnes CO2, one return flight to Geneva
from Farnborough produces about 6.7 tonnes oer passenger. 25,000 such flights
per year at present produce about as much CO2 as 35,000 people. The proposed expansion is about the same as 17,500 extra people.       Click here to view full story…


 Farnborough Airport planning application to increase flights from 28,000 to 50,000 per year

19th June 2009

The operator of Farnborough Airport – TAG – has submitted an application to increase
the number of flights from 28,000 a year to 50,000. TAG carried out a public consultation
on the proposed increases in January 2009. The current application is almost identical
to what it proposed before the consultation. The proposals would also mean an
increase in the number of weekend flights from 5,000 and 9,000, and comes after
TAG won a battle to go from 2,500 to 5,000 weekend flights last year.       Click here to view full story…



Stories on Farnborough Airport from Get Hampshire

Council U-turn on airport flights cap

Flights decision expected later this year

Inquiry hears new round of noise arguments

‘Measure of airport noise is ineffective’

Airport opponents check in for public inquiry

Airport inquiry delayed at last minute

TAG inquiry to cost at least £174k

Air traffic at Farnborough down 10%

Date set for Farnborough Airport expansion inquiry

Airport compensation claims tribunal on the horizon

Farnborough Airport fights blocked expansion plans

TAG Farnborough Airport loses bid for expansion

Council planners support airport expansion

Airport blunder over emissions prediction

MP’s help for people blighted by TAG flights

Hart latest to oppose Farnborough expansion

More than 2,000 people respond to airport plans


Related links – articles from “Get Hampshire”:

Recession grounds corporate jets

15th May 2009

The boom in luxury air travel comes to an end as chastened executives sell the
company plane and rediscover economy class. Corporate jet travel has slumped by
more than 20% in the past 6 months, according to data published by the CAA, marking
an end to a boom that made the UK the world’s fastest growing market for luxury
air travel – which was growing at 14% a year. The worsening financial crisis has
put many executives back in economy class. (Guardian)         Click here to view full story…

 Business travel facing fundamental changes

13th May 2009

Richard Lovell, chairman of Expotel, said business travel was in for fundamental
changes in the next five years. While acknowledging that travel was a pendulum
industry which swung backwards and forwards, he doubted it if would ever swing
back to what it was before the current recession. Factors were forcing business
travel to change. Internal meetings that involve travel are now seen as bad, and
some companies had now cut these by 40%. (ABTN)     Click here to view full story…


Farnborough Airport – TAG plan ‘ignores objectors’

21st April 2009       The owner of Farnborough has confirmed that it wants to almost
double the number of aircraft using the airport. TAG Farnborough Airport has just
published its completed Master Plan, with plans for the next 20 years. It is now
preparing to submit a planning application to increase the limit on take-offs
and landings at the airport from 28,000 to 50,000 a year. Campaigners have accused
TAG of ignoring the views of local people. (Get Hampshire)       Click here to view full story…


Private jets carry 2.7 passengers on average – Farnborough

16th March 2009

Private jet passengers at Farnborough Airport cause more damage to the environment
than users of any form of transport except space travel, according to green campaigners.
Each aircraft using the airport has, on average, just two or three passengers
on board. TAG’s chief executive said that on a fairly typical day last week there
were just 2.7 passengers per flight. Private jets generate as much as x8 the CO2
per passenger as taking the train.    (Get   Hampshire)    Click here to view full story…


Farnborough Airport

25/11/2008   The operator of Farnborough Airport, TAG Aviation, has won its
planning battle to double the number of weekend flights at the airport.   The airport
can now accept up to 5,000 take-offs and landings a year  – twice the previous
allowed total of 2,500.

For the rest of this year, a pro-rata calculation will allow the airport to accept
a total of 4,200 aircraft movements at weekends.   The government has agreed with
TAG that the economic benefits of allowing an expansion of weekend activities
outweighs any environmental impact in the surrounding area.     The government’s
finding overrules the decision by the planning authority, Rushmoor Borough Council,
who originally blocked the application in June 2006, before contesting the appeal
against it by TAG.     (Get Hampshire)


Other articles from 2008 from Get Hampshire:


Farnborough Airport Weekend flights increase approved

07.04.08   (UK Airport News)         Farnborough Airport has been given the go-ahead to double the number flights from the airfield at
weekends. TAG Aviation can now increase the number of weekend and bank holiday
take-offs and landings from 2,500 to 5,000 a year. However, the government has
ruled that total take-offs must not exceed the current annual limit of 28,000.

The ruling by the Secretaries of State for Communities and Local Government and
Transport follows a four-day public inquiry held last year. Rushmoor District
Council, which rejected the plans after residents opposed them, said it was disappointed.



Farnborough Airport allowed to double weekend flights

16.3.2008    Click here to view full story …..


Farnborough Airport wants to expand as private jet business booms

04.02.08   (UK Airport News)       TAG Aviation, Swiss-based private aviation company
controlled by Saudi tycoons the Ojjeh brothers, wants to expand its operation
at Farnborough Airport on the back of the continuing boom in private jet travel.

TAG took over the corporate aviation side of Farnborough – famous as the site
of Britain’s first powered flight in 1908, as well as the home of the famous air
show – in 1997. It has since built a slinky terminal and 3 hangars grouped under
a distinctive wave-shaped roof, and the airport is now the base for 46 corporate
aircraft, ranging from small twin-propeller planes to top-of-the-range jets able
to fly direct from the airport to the west coast of America. A hotel will open
next summer and late last year TAG bought the freehold for the 581-acre site from
the Ministry of Defence for an undisclosed sum.

The airport is now working at almost full capacity. This year the number of flights
has grown by around 20% to 26,500. Under its current planning permission, the
airport cannot handle more than 28,000 flights a year. TAG would like to increase
this, and the limit on flights at weekends and over bank holidays – currently
limited to 2,500 a year – to 5,000.

Earlier this year a request from TAG to increase the airport’s capacity was turned
down by the local council. The company appealed, and a public inquiry followed.
The decision now rests with Ruth Kelly, secretary of state for transport, and
Hazel Blears, secretary for communities and local government. An announcement
is expected soon.

TAG is promising more investment if it gets its way over weekend flights. A spokesman
said: ‘Our board has given approval for the construction of another set of hangars,
but that is conditional on receiving approval for the increase in weekend flights.’

Easing of the weekend restrictions is not the limit of TAG’s plans for growth.
It is in the process of drawing up a ‘masterplan’ for the airport’s development
that is likely to propose an increase in the total number of flights permitted
annually. The plan will be published for public consultation in the shortly.


Jan 2007           Will extra weekend flights be allowed?


Flight increase sought at Farnborough Airport

24.01.07   (UK Airport News)       Farnborough Airport bosses have appealed against a decision not to allow an increase in flights
at the Hampshire airfield. TAG Aviation wants to double the number of weekend
take-offs and landings at the airport.

TAG wants to increase the number of permitted take-offs and landings at the airport
at weekends and on bank holidays from 2,500 a year to 5,000 a year. The company
had said it hoped to increase employment in the area and would restrict ground

A four-day public inquiry has begun, after plans were rejected last year by Rushmoor
District Council when thousands of residents objected. The Planning Inspectorate
is this week reviewing the decision, and has invited public responses to the scheme.

News about the airport can be found on the UK Airport News website

All articles in reverse date order