Farnborough Airport reveals third hangar plans and eVTOL partnership
Farnborough Airport has revealed plans to build a new £35m ($46m) third hangar plus a partnership with Vertical Aerospace to introduce eVTOL services at the London base. The new hangar is scheduled to open in 2024, while it is understood that commercial eVTOL flights could take place later this decade.
The new four-bay hangar, covering 175,000sq ft (16.25sq m), will double the temperature-controlled storage space at the airport. Contractors are expected to begin the build in June 2022 after planning was granted by Hampshire council in January. “This investment reveals the long-term commitment of airport owners Macquarie Funds to Farnborough,” said Simon Geere, CEO of Farnborough Airport.
Farnborough also revealed a partnership with Vertical Aerospace to explore launching eVTOL services from the airport. An airport spokesperson told Corporate Jet Investor: “We have entered into an agreement with Vertical Aerospace to work jointly together to better understand the requirements of eVTOL infrastructure at an airport such as Farnborough. The opportunities for eVTOL operations are part of the work that is being undertaken.” Both parties are understood to be working towards making eVTOL services operational on site by 2030.
Geere told Corporate Jet Investor: “While it may be hard to see electrification being the solution to long haul and larger aircraft, it is a possible solution to smaller aircraft and short-haul flights, which is what we have.” Short-haul flights within the UK and Europe make up 90% of operations from the airport, with long haul accounting for the remainder.
Although acknowledging the need for significant eVTOL development, Geere looked forward to the prospect of quicker connections from the airport to the City of London. “We want to build upon our pioneering legacy, we want to be seen as innovators,” he said. “So, working with Vertical is exciting for us. It’s early days and we don’t know where it is going to take us, but it is a space we definitely need to be in.”
Geere also highlighted Farnborough’s green credentials. In 2018, Farnborough became the first airport to achieve carbon neutrality. Since airport continues to work towards greater carbon offsetting through various schemes and projects such as Corsia (Carbon Offsetting and Reductions Scheme for International Aviation). “We all have a role to play with sustainability and carbon emissions,” said Geere. “We are all aware that aviation is the highest carbon emitting form of transport, so raising awareness and framing what we need to do. The challenge is: How do we move forward for a sustainable future? Here at Farnborough, sustainability is in our DNA and always will be.”
Farnborough Airport, acquired by Macquarie in 2019, is the base for 56 aircraft. It is also home to one of NetJets’ largest operations in Europe. The airport’s clients include: managed operators accounting for 45% of business and corporate/private owners and fractional operators both accounting for 20%. Charter operators account for 15% of business.