Flying Private for Business -- Should You Use a Commercial Airport or Regional Airport?
Sep 17, 2021
At any given major international airport, in addition to the commercial jets, you can see a variety of private jets taking off and landing. While private jets can and do fly in and out of the major national and international airports, are those large-scale air fields the best options for private flights, particularly for business aviation?
Most people who fly on private jets for business travel feel that there are many more advantages to flying into smaller regional airports than their larger commercial cousins. Apparently, when it comes to what kind of airport to use for business aviation – size does matter.
You would think that it is easier and simpler to land a small and nimble business jet at a large commercial airport. But the truth is just the opposite; often the “little guys” are feeling squeezed out at the big airports. With the ever-increasing demand for airline travel and the more significant commercial value this represents for big airports, business aviation at large airports feels the squeeze in terms of runway availability, aircraft parking, and more.
Smaller, dedicated regional airports offer more flexibility and are much easier for executive jets to get in and out of. Here are a few more of the disadvantages private business flyers face
when flying in and out of large commercial airports instead of smaller regional airports.
All jets, private and commercial, are often put into “holding patterns” before they can land. Still, because of the sheer volume of flights coming into large commercial airports, those holds could be quite long, adding a significant amount of time to your trips.
Approach and Landing
Sharing runways on approach and landing with large commercial jets can be a bit of a challenge for all but the most seasoned executive jet pilots. When coming into a commercial airport, air traffic control will probably ask private jet pilots to keep their speed up on approach so they do not stack up commercial jets, which tend to approach faster than smaller jets. Also, landing on a large runway shared by commercial airliners means that private pilots must exit the runway quickly, as a Boeing Superjet may be just 30 seconds behind them. These problems are eliminated when flying into a smaller regional airport that is too small to accommodate commercial airliners.
Taxiing about at some of the world’s largest airports can be dizzying for some private aircraft. Not so, at smaller regional airports.
Many large commercial airports are not set up as efficiently to handle private jets as smaller regional airports are. If the jet needs to park overnight, it may have to be held in a cargo facility or longer-term parking, which could be miles from the FBO.
Getting through security and customs is much easier for private flights coming into and out of regional airports than at commercial airports.
Getting in and out of the airport
As any business traveler will tell you, the trip is not over when you arrive at your destination airport. There is the trip from there to your hotel or to your meeting or convention. When flying into a commercial airport, getting from the airport to your ultimate destination can add hours to your trip. The roads out of a regional airport are far less congested than those leaving a large commercial airport. Also, it is likely you have touched down that much closer to your ultimate destination, sometimes only a mile or two away.
The main goal of flying private is to minimize the many hassles of flying commercial. That also means avoiding a commercial airport whenever you can. Overall, your private aviation experience is better and more efficient when you have the option of flying in or out of one of the world’s many regional airports.
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If you would like more information about this post or any of our programs, please contact our team at +1-888-80-FLY-XO.
XO Global LLC is not a direct air carrier and does not operate any aircraft. All flights will be operated by properly licensed US or foreign air carriers. Membership is subject to the terms of the applicable Access Membership Agreement.