Cotswold Airport review of 2020 and the look forward to a successful 2021

Last week Cotswold Airport released their end of year news update reviewing the past year, plus a look at what to expect and look forward to in 2021. This past year has been a good year for the airport despite the difficulties caused by Covid-19. The entire airport team wanted to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year for 2021.

General Aviation (GA) and RotorTech Aero Expo.

After a COVID elongated negotiation, Cotswold Airport will now host the GA and RotorTech Aero Expo event in June 2021; websites have now been updated from the original Wycombe AirPark site. Cotswold Airport’s long runway, ample parking and unique and eclectic mix of aircraft types should ensure this will be a great success and we look forward to working with the Expo team and growing the event.

Boeing 747 “Negus” Preservation.

As many aviation geeks will know, we negotiated the purchase with British Airways (BA) to transfer ownership of G-CIVB, the Negus schemed Boeing 747-436 upon its retirement from BA to Kemble Air Services Ltd, the Company who operates Cotswold Airport. The aircraft landed here on the 8th of October and since then has had a small initial team take stock of her engineering state, remove the economy seats (for sale to help fund her upkeep), plan her move preparation and purchase a ground Power Unit and specific set of Airstairs. She can still run on her APU and the aim is keep all her systems functioning, less engines, as part of her attraction on display. As you can imagine, lots of work continues to ensure the aircraft safe for public ground use, including removal of the activation devices for the door rams and emergency exit slides, as well as potential hazards, such as the on-board oxygen systems. We hope that early next year, we can start to harness some of the 150+ people who have volunteered to be part of the Negus team.

Once in place, this aircraft will form centre stage for a growing collection of privately owned classic jet aircraft on site, including the Bristol Britannia, The Buccaneer Aviation Group, the British Phantom Aviation Group, not to mention the Boeing 727 lovingly kept in order by Mark Gregory of ASI and the Hunter, Gnat and two Canberra PR9s owned by the Airport.

Airfield Development Advisory Fund (ADAF).

The successful award of the ADAF is also good news; we aim to explore both increasing our Business jet offer (with the introduction of our new IAPs) and investigate how a GA airfield can strive towards carbon neutrality and harness renewables, as specified in the Government’s 2050 Aviation plan.

And finally, the Airport Board has agreed to invest in a rehabilitated/resurfaced main runway early next year and the project management organisation has been selected. With a new smooth long 1973m runway and instrument approaches, the Airport will become the predominant regional airport for Wiltshire and Gloucestershire.

From a GA perspective, a host of great GA events (Expo, Great Vintage Fly in and the Battle of Britain At Home Day) are planned for 2021. These events, supported the growing classic jet collection, led by our 747, as well as the 6 based flying schools and engineering and innovation organisations, translates into the Airport reinforcing its ubiquitous buzz as a great place to fly into or visit, particular once our restaurant reopens, post COVID.