London Biggin Hill Airport

London Biggin Hill Airport is an operational general aviation airport that was formerly a Royal Air Force station (RAF Biggin Hill), and a small section of the airport still retains that designation. The facility specializes in general aviation, handling a variety of traffic, from private aviation to large business jets.

Airport history

The Royal Flying Corps (RFC) originally opened the airfield during World War I. Koonowla House was requisitioned by the War Office in 1916 for the RFC to conduct wireless experiments, and then on February 13, 1917, the RFC moved there and established it as part of the London Air Defence Area. It was at this time that they utilized the Cudham Lodge estate, which sat adjacent to the area and contained a huge undivided field. That same year, Lord Stanhope's Aperfield Court and grounds, some two miles from the station, were requisitioned for use as a radio transmitter and fighter ground control station. The station was responsible for defending the capital against Zeppelin and Gotha bomber attacks. After the war concluded, approximately 700 RAF technical staff took part in a mutiny, which was then ended by sympathetic officers. In 1920, Apperfield Court was torn down and the aerodrome was extended onto its grounds. Between the wars, a number of experimental units used the airfield to work on instrument design, ground-based anti-aircraft defenses, and night flying. The base was closed between the years of 1929 and 1932, during which time reconstruction work took place, which included the construction of new hangars. During World War II, the airfield served as one of the commanding bases for The Battle of Britain. The airfield fell under attack 12 times between August 1940 and January 1941. When the war was over, Biggin Hill was used brieflly by the RAF's Transport Command, and was then turned into a base for both regular and reserve fighter squadrons. Then in 1958, the airfield stopped serving as an operation RAF station and became the RAF's Officer and Aircrew Selection Centre. As a result of the closure of the original London Airport at Croydon in 1956, many civlian flights moved over to Biggin Hill and it then became a joint civiliian and military airport. Three years later, Croydon closed its doors completely, solidifying Biggin Hill as a predominantly civilian airport with occasional military flights. In May 1992, the Department of Transport issued a direction to the Council that was to require the Council to set up a new company for the purpose of operating the airport as an independent commercial undertaking. Two years later, the airport was leased for 125 years to Biggin Hill Airport Limited, now a subsidiary of Regional Airports Limited. In 2001, the London Borough of Bromley succeeded in an action in the Court of Appeal. prohibiting the airport operators from allowing tickets to be sold for flights in and out of Biggin Hill, thus preventing its use for scheduled or holiday charter flights, but allowing business aviation and corporate shuttles. Runway 29/11 was permanently withdrawn from use in May of 2017.

Airport location

EGKB is located in the London Borough of Bromley, just 14 miles south-southeast of Central London. It sits just east of Bromley to Westerham road and about 1 mile north of the town of Biggin Hill. 

Airport facts

● Biggin Hill is best known for the role it played during the Battle of Britain in World War II, serving as one of the principal fighter bases protecting London and South East England from attack by German Luftwaffe bombers. 

● The airport has a CAA Ordinary License that permits flights for the public transport of passengers or for flying instruction as authorized by the licensee (Regional Airports Limited). 

● The airport has one runway that measure 1,820 meters long, making it usable by aircraft up to the size of a Boeing 737/Airbus A320, and it also has an instrument landing system.

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