Jobs gloom at airport
PUBLISHED: 17:37 21 October 2009 | UPDATED: 10:54 12 August 2010
AIRPORT bosses said they are deeply disappointed by the loss of 100 potential jobs after a major airport project was suspended. Plans for a new £7 million 175,000sq ft hangar at Biggin Hill airport have been shelved because of a slow in activity in th
AIRPORT bosses said they are "deeply disappointed" by the loss of 100 potential jobs after a major airport project was suspended.
Plans for a new £7 million 175,000sq ft hangar at Biggin Hill airport have been shelved because of a slow in activity in the private jet industry.
Private jet chartering company Air Partner was given the go ahead for the state-of-the-art building in February last year, but work on the hangar had not actually begun.
The airport currently employs around 400 people and the new hangar would have brought with it many more jobs and apprenticeships.
Biggin Hill airport director Peter Lonergan said: "News of the suspension of the expansion project is deeply disappointing for the airport. Air Partner is a well-established and important business at Biggin Hill.
"The hangar project would have led to more than 100 new jobs for local people as well as some vital apprenticeship appointments for youngsters.
"In a rapidly changing world, we need to be increasingly flexible to win new business. The rate at which new jobs can be created for the local community will entirely depend upon our ability to attract more companies to establish facilities here at the airport."
Environmental campaigners have been against the project from the outset. Bromley Friends of the Earth spokesperson Ray Watson said: "It's sad news that this has happened but very few extra jobs were at stake.
"We sincerely hope that this is not a reason to turn the hangar into a terminal which has been the subject of rumours for some time."
Biggin Hill was only made aware of the plans to shelve the project when Air Partner published its financial results for the year ending July 31 on October 14.
An airport spokesman said the news had come as a shock but insisted the relationship between the two companies had not been damaged and that Air Partner remained a "very good customer".
Air Partner's sales were down 23 per cent from £251 million to £194 million, blamed on high overheads and a "sharp deterioration of trading conditions".
Postponing the hangar has forced the company to write off £540,000 which it spent in developing the project.
The results report read: "In 2007 we announced plans to construct new hangar facilities to create new revenue streams as part of our long-term expansion plans for our private jet operating company. At the half- year end, we announced the suspension of the capital spend on the proposed hangar project, and this September, given the continuation of weak trading conditions, the group secured a release from the ground lease and obligation to build."
Chief executive David Saville said: "While short term uncertainty exists today, we remain confident that the driving forces of globalisation, economic growth and deterioration in the commercial airline services will support a sector recovery in the medium term.