Olympics could cost helicopters big business


UK helicopter operators are concerned that the London Olympics could lose them customers which may never return.

UK helicopter operators are concerned that the London Olympics will cause them to lose business, which could be extremely difficult to retrieve.

Michael Hampton, managing director at Capital Air Services, says helicopters have been “excluded” from the Olympics and warns: “It is not going to be good for us.”

Hampton, who regularly flies-in clients to London from as far as Norfolk, Plymouth and Lake District is now worried that the company’s customers may never return after the month-long restrictions over the city have been lifted.

Restrictions applying from July 14 to August 15 state that aircraft will not be allowed within the ‘prohibited zone’ – which stretches from White Waltham to beyond London City Airport – unless they are inbound to or outbound from Heathrow, London City or RAF Northolt and are under air traffic control.

Aircraft must also meet a set of requirements should they wish to enter the wider ‘restricted zone,’ whilst a reservation system will also mean that aircraft wanting to land in one of the 58 coordinated airports across the South-East of England between 21 July and 15 August will have to apply for a slot in advance.

These measures have been fuelling concerns of a professional exodus from London, with James Dillon-Godfray, managing director at London Oxford Airport, saying: “A lot of [aircraft] owners have told us to stay well away from London.”

Speaking at a pre-EBACE briefing 100 days before the Games are due to commence, Michael Hampton says: “We are telling people now that they are going to have to get used to it, and maybe they will have to go on holiday rather than finding another way of getting about. We just hope that the customers understand that.”

Olympic airspace olympic

Heathrow and London City airports both fall into the prohibited zone, whilst Gatwick, Luton and Stansted are all in the restricted zone.