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142,000 REASONS FOR BROMLEY TAXPAYERS TO BACK BIGGIN HILL

Natalie Flitter (left) a young member of the Executive Handling team and Vanessa Hopkins, a firefighter with the airport's Rescue & Firefighting Service, hold the big cheque for the LBB supported by staff colleagues.

Natalie Flitter (left) a young member of the Executive Handling team and Vanessa Hopkins, a firefighter with the airport’s Rescue & Firefighting Service, hold the big cheque for the LBB supported by staff colleagues.

Year end trading results to 31st March 2014 released for Biggin Hill Airport show that ratepayers will receive an additional payment of £142,901 over and above the rent and business rates paid by airport based companies of over £1m per annum.

The airport operates under a unique arrangement whereby the Council, as the freeholder, are entitled to a share of all the income generated. This means that local taxpayers have a direct stake in the success of the airport. This figure is set to increase if plans to secure Biggin Hill’s future as a small, business and general aviation airport are approved.

Managing Director Will Curtis said: “If the airport does well, more money goes back to the public purse. At the moment we make relatively small returns, but if our plan to attract more aircraft service companies is approved by the council, we can generate more business, which means more money going into vital local services under threat of the axe. That’s why I am asking Bromley residents to back Biggin Hill Airport– everyone will benefit.”

The Airport proposes a modest change to its opening hours, subject to strict limits. By making a change, it aims to attract more aircraft service companies whose customers value flexibility.

“Our customers don’t always want to fly earlier or later – but they need to know they can if necessary”, says Will Curtis, “It’s vital to our plan that we are able to offer more flexibility than we do today. Without it we cannot deliver the 2,300 new jobs we have identified, the increased revenues for the Council or the estimated annual £230 million of GVA that will be earned and spent in the local economy supporting local shops, restaurants, builders, service companies and traders. Our proposals really are good for everyone because a rising tide lifts every boat”.

Last year 15,000 local residents were asked about the changes and 12,473 backed longer opening hours – with the most responses received from those living under the flight path. The plan would involve no more flights than 2010 levels, no new runways, no scheduled holiday airlines and cutting noise by half.

Bromley Council is running its own consultation on the issue, which closes on 13th March.