As Europe’s financial center, and a contender for the world’s, London is a frequent destination for private jet charters. With 10 airports serving the extended metropolitan area, London has the busiest passenger airport system in the world.
London Heathrow Airport (LHR, EGLL) is ranked as the busiest airport in Europe and the 7th busiest airport in the world. As such, for charter flights to London, Heathrow is best avoided. Gatwick Airport (LGW, EGKK), London’s other major airport, although less hectic than Heathrow, is still not optimal for private charter travelers who wish to bypass crowds both in the air and on the ground. Thankfully, there is no shortage of airports that jet charters to London can use.
London’s most popular airport for private charters is London Luton Airport (LTN, EGGW), located about an hour northwest of central London. Open 24/7, Luton Airport is an ideal choice for travelers who fly outside of standard operating hours. London’s only airport dedicated exclusively to private aircraft, the posh TAG Farnborough Airport (FAB, EGLF), is just over an hour southwest of central London. The oldest air field in the UK, beginning in 2006 Farnborough Airport opened several award winning modern structures including a luxury hotel to serve its international clientele.
One of only three airports technically within the boundaries of London is London Biggin Hill Airport (BHQ, EGKB). Less than an hour southeast of central London, Biggin Hill is designated as the sister airport to New York’s Teterboro Airport (KTEB).
Their partnership is aimed at supporting the financial and commercial centers of the two global powerhouses. London City Airport (LCY, EGLC) holds the title as the airport closest to London’s city center. Just seven miles east of central London, on a clear day you can enjoy views of London’s celebrated skyline and famous sites along the Thames as you approach London City Airport. That being said, the approach is steep and pilots must receive specific training to land there.
Rounding out the lengthy list of London airports are London Stansted Airport (STN, EGSS), RAF Northolt (NHT, EGWU), London Oxford Airport (OXF, EGKT) and London Southend Airport (SEN, EGMC). The Stansted Express train station is located in Stansted Airport’s terminal directly below the main concourse. With trains running every 15 minutes to/from central London, it is extremely easy to travel between the city and airport. As an active military airport, RAF Northolt has increased security measures, fewer slots for civilian traffic and does not allow onboard pets. On the plus side, after London City Airport, RAF Northolt it is the closest airport to central London and a 15 minute transfer from Heathrow.
Designating London Oxford Airport a London airport might be a bit of a stretch. The benefits of its distance from London, however, are unconstrained slot availability, reduced airspace congestion and regional as opposed to London fees. The fastest growing of all the London area airports is Southend Airport which has seen a runway extension, a new terminal building and an on-site hotel built since 2012. Like Oxford Airport, Southend benefits from its distance from London in decreased congestion both in the air and on the ground as well as decreased regional fees.